Everton brass recently took a much-talked about recruiting trip to Italy and one of the potential fruits of said trip is Lazio attacker Balde Keita. Talksport are reporting that there appears to be plenty of interest in the forward, for a paltry £22m pricetag at that.
Keita fits the profile of the type of winger that Ronald Koeman has used before, with a lot of touches and shot attempts in the box (think Sadio Mane at Southampton). Also strong on the dribble and still a developing young player, the 22-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.
Keita Balde, Lazio 16-17. I think his 14-15 season was perhaps more productive, but he's been a clear talent for years. pic.twitter.com/kakNdiI9qc— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) May 3, 2017
The big questions here are two fold. First, what kind of role is a forward who has never played more than 2000 league minutes in a single season in Serie A actually ready for? It does not seem like he should be expected to be a thirty game starter in the Premier League, so what can be expected of him on an Everton side that needs wide help?
The second question may, unfortunately, nullify the first. Keita has been linked with traditional Italian powers AC Milan and Inter Milan and it may be that the Senegal international prefers to remain in Serie A. Everton’s best selling point is probably their ability to provide a higher salary than the notoriously low paying continental leagues.
There’s no question, however, that Keita has improved quite a bit since we wrote about him in November. He is showing the sort of rapid progression we would expect from a budding star of his age.
So what kind of fit is this for Everton? Tactically, it would be seamless, and questions of workload could be relaxed once Yannick Bolasie is healthy. He has a high ceiling and could be a strong piece of the future for anywhere he goes. It is definitely worth pursuing from an Everton standpoint, though fans might be advised to not get their hopes up until we see things cool between him and the clubs of San Siro.