And so we begin our summer series looking at players plying their trade in the United States who could potentially be a long term fit at Everton. As Major League Soccer grows, so too does the pool of players who possess excellent long term potential.
Our first player profile involves perhaps the most likely candidate to make a move this summer - Orlando City’s Canadian national team striker Cyle Larin.
At 6’2 and 190lbs, one of Larin’s defining qualities is his power. He can body up to nearly any defender, and matches that strength with surprising amounts of pace for such a big guy.
Larin has also proven to be a superb converter of chances in his short time at the professional level. You can visualize his performance during the 2016 season through this map from Ted Knutson:
Cyle Larin, Orlando 2016. A lot of talk whether Cyle Larin is ready for bigger things. I suspect he moves in Jan pic.twitter.com/xrL1uVXpXs— On Holiday (@mixedknuts) August 19, 2016
This season, Larin has 13 appearances for Orlando, in which he’s scored 7 goals and averaged 2.3 shots per game.
With any player of Larin’s age and experience, there are going to be some red flags, but the good news is those issues can potentially be coached and improved over time.
Larin finds himself dispossessed of the ball far too often for a player of his physique. He’s currently losing the ball just over three times a game, which can bring scoring chances and counter attacks to a sudden and brutal death.
Additionally, the Canadian forward needs to work on his aerial ability. For a player of his physique, losing 1.9 out of 2.7 duels per 90 minutes simply will not cut it at a higher level of competition.
Everton have been linked with backup striker types for months now, including names like Kasper Dolberg and Kelechi Iheanacho. Larin is neither as accomplished or as talented as those two, but the idea is similar - Ronald Koeman wants a young #9 to mold.
The Blues need someone who can approximate the minutes and contributions (such as they were...) of Arouna Kone, and it’s not hard to see Larin being able to fill that void while improving a great deal down the road.
Pretty good, actually. Larin is similar enough to Romelu Lukaku that Ronald Koeman would not have to tweak his tactics or play style significantly at all. A burly number 9, Cyle Larin can play with his back to goal and allow players like Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas to get in behind, or he can make runs in behind the defense and receive service from Ross Barkley and others.
Likelihood of a move
For this section, we turn to our colleague Michael, from The Mane Land, SB Nation’s Orlando City blog.
I would say the club is going to try to renegotiate a DP-type deal with him if it cannot get an offer in the $5 million range. I think Orlando City might accept a little less than that but that's probably the threshold they'd like to reach. I don't have anything on the record to back that up. A month ago it would have been more likely to happen but he's currently scored once in his last six, so the kettle's gone off the boil a bit in regard to rumors.
$5 million for a player of Larin’s potential represents a fair deal for both the buying and selling club. It’s a drop in the bucket for Everton on a player who could turn into something special, and a huge windfall of cash for a side in MLS.