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Everton to battle Newcastle for Championship left back

Joe Bryan of Bristol City has been turning heads this season

Bristol City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Joe Bryan of Bristol City
Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

UPDATE:

Bryan has scored for Bristol City against Manchester United! He puts the Robins in the lead with this thundering strike.


Everton have an issue at left back, and it’s reared its ugly head in a bad way this season. Leighton Baines is past his best, and we know this. Even when he’s fit he has lost yards of pace and struggles to keep up with pacy wingers in the back, while he rarely offers much going forward anymore either.

Cuco Martina, brought in by Ronald Koeman as a backup right back, has been filling in for Baines and has done a decent enough job, especially against weaker teams. But it is very clear that the future of the position is very uncertain, with only Luke Garbutt and Brendan Galloway in the pipeline. Antonee Robinson is still some ways away while Callum Connolly has found new life as a midfielder while out on loan.

Joe Bryan characteristics
WhoScored.com

Enter Bristol City’s Joe Bryan. The 24-year-old has caught the eye after a series of excellent performances this season for the 3rd-placed Championship side. Now Pete O’Rourke at Football Insider is claiming that Everton and Newcastle scouts have been keeping close tabs on the player with a view to making a signing in the January transfer window.

A product of the Bristol City youth academy, he already has over 200 appearances for the senior side, and has scored thrice in 23 games this season. One of those goals was this thunderbolt that was named the best goal of the Carabao Cup Fourth Round as the Robins dumped Premier League side Crystal Palace out of the competition 4-1.

In fact, Bryan will now have an even bigger stage to show his skills on, as today Bristol host Manchester United at Ashton Gate looking to shock the Red Devils and get a semi-final berth.

Newcastle are also looking at Bryan with a view to solidifying their leftback spot where Javier Manquillo has been injured this season. This could drive the price of the player up, whose contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Another outstanding performance today will certainly increase the limelight on the player and make it that much harder for the Blues to get the player come January. Bristol meanwhile will likely want to keep the player with an eye to the future if they can win promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season.