Among the remaining needs Everton plans to address are a backup left back and a backup (left-sided) centre back. In addition, help is needed in backing up Morgan Schneiderlin, because we simply do not have anyone who can do it very well. Gareth Barry brings something else to that position that is not quite the same.
There is at least one player in the English Premier League who could fit all these needs in one buy, and he’s got a Dutch connection to our manager. He plays for Manchester United and his name is Daley Blind.
Blind may not be better than Leighton Baines at being a left back, but he’s better than anyone else besides Baines at LB, the same can be said for our fourth CB slot (actually, he’s arguably a better and more mobile CB than Jagielka, so third CB slot for now) and our backup playmaking DM spot. He’s valued at £20m on Transfermarkt and I think we should pay it.
Blind completes 73% of his attempted tackles, which is a really strong number for any of the positions in question. He provides 0.6 open play key passes per 90 which is respectable (he’s actually very good at indirect free kicks as well, in case we need a corner taker while he’s out there). He averages 3.2 accurate long balls per 90, and though his accuracy percentage is a bit skewed against him because of how many of them are crosses (not what he’s best at), he delivers long balls pretty well. We all remember this beauty:
Blind is dispossessed 0.6 times per 90. He’s dribbled past less than once per 90. He completes over 86% of his 51 passes per 90 (91% of his short passes). He’s an incredibly smart football player, he’s an incredibly skilled football player. If he were blessed with more size and dynamism we wouldn’t be having this conversation because he would be in the class of someone like David Alaba.
Normally, £20m for a backup would sound like a lot, but what would you pay, total, for three quality reserves at three different positions on the pitch? If that number is more than £20m, and for me it certainly is, then Blind becomes a bargain, a bargain Everton should have a look at.