Everton fans received some bad news yesterday with reports coming out that Argentine defender Ramiro Funes Mori is set to miss anywhere from 6-9 months after undergoing surgery in Barcelona to clean up a knee ailment. The player was already out after having been out from the end of March on when injured during international duty. He underwent surgery the next day to correct the meniscus tear in his knee.
Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori out for 6 to 9 months following further surgery on knee injury sustained with Argentina in March— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) July 19, 2017
The additional surgery will come as a blow to the defender just as he was starting his recuperation from the first operation and was back to physical therapy.
Que placer volver a correr!!! ♂️— Ramiro Funes Mori (@funesmoriofi25) May 19, 2017
What a pleasure to run again!!! ♂️ pic.twitter.com/ump27IaFQV
With Tyias Browning and Matthew Pennington out on loan for the season, Everton find themselves in a situation now with only four central defenders in the squad - Michael Keane and Ashley Williams are the presumed starters with club captain Phil Jagielka and the inexperienced Mason Holgate.
Last season Ronald Koeman often went with a three-man backline, and going into a season with just a pool of four centerhalves is a major risk, especially with Everton contending on four fronts. The targeted defender would presumably also need to be versatile enough to be pushed out to the left to provide cover for Leighton Baines.
It is very likely that the Blues will dip into the transfer market for another center back, and here is a list of players that have already been linked with a move to Goodison Park, or would otherwise fit into the required role.
The Uruguayan youngster has been the subject of rumours linking him with Everton since early spring. At just 21, Lemos has chipped in 5 goals in 26 appearances this season for Las Palmas, making him a similar aerial threat to Funes Mori.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman would probably be a dream signing at this point, despite his previous history with Ronald Koeman at Southampton. After crosstown rivals Liverpool had to grovel an apology for tapping up the defender, it’ll be interesting to see if the Blues can steal away van Dijk with a big money deal.
His aerial prowess would complement Keane’s strength in the air very well, and most certainly make Everton a force to be reckoned with in either box.
French giants Paris St. Germain have insisted that the 21-year-old is not for sale despite plenty of interest from not just Everton. However, could the Blues go back with a bigger bid for the youngster now that the need is pressing, or possibly a loan deal of some sort?
The Manchester United defender has reportedly been out of favour with the temperamental Jose Mourinho, and could add valuable depth and experience to the Blues backline.
This is a bit of a wildcard at the center half position, but Koeman has been using Besic in the backline for both the preseason games so far, as did David Unsworth in a number of Under-23 games last season as well.
Besic might be risky to use in the Premier League in defence, but at the same time considering the depth at his defensive midfield position, this could be the perfect way for the Bosnian international to reinvent himself following a long injury layoff towards the end of last season.
Jairo Riedewald, Bruno Martins Indi, Callum Chambers, etc
All three defenders have been linked with the Blues at various points this summer, and there has been plenty of chatter that all three have signed on with other clubs as well, but nothing concrete has come out of that chatter either.
Do you think Koeman will go into the upcoming season with the defensive corps as is, or will the Blues add one of the above-mentioned players to the squad, or indeed, another defender not on this list?