Everton Football Club will sign a creative midfielder this summer. That much is clear, and it does not seem contingent on whether or not Ross Barkley leaves or stays. Gylfi Sigurdsson of Swansea City is apparently Ronald Koeman’s top priority, with Davy Klaassen of Ajax not far behind.
Ideally, though, Everton would have a backup plan in place in the event that Swansea or Ajax don’t want to sell, and a new report suggests that plan B comes in the form of West Ham United’s star man Manuel Lanzini.
Koeman already has a long-standing interest in Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson for whom he’d like to conclude a £25million deal - ironically ahead of West Ham.
But he is a big admirer of Lanzini despite West Ham’s insistence that the former River Plate star is not for sale.
Lanzini was signed on a permanent deal for just £9.4million in March 2016 after impressing on an initial loan deal. He has since become a key player following Payet’s demand to be sold back to his former club.
Lanzini, 24, has 8 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League this season. The Argentinian is excellent on set pieces, and has become one of the first names on Slaven Bilic’s team sheet.
The low assist totals for Lanzini are concerning, but West Ham have only 45 goals on the season, and the Hammers do not employ a single player who could be termed anything close to a consistent striker.
Currently rated at £8.50 million, Lanzini would represent a cheaper option than either Sigurdsson or Klaassen. Viewed through the lens of West Ham’s awful season, his creative output isn’t all that bad, either.
After abruptly losing Dmitri Payet to Marseille in January, West Ham will likely be extremely loathe to sell their only remaining creator of any repute, but if Everton do come calling, Lanzini may be tempted by playing for a side with more ambition.
Raiding West Ham is probably not Ronald Koeman’s first choice, but it’s encouraging to see backup plans put into place as the transfer window gets closer.