Everton went through another entire transfer window without addressing an area of pressing need at left back, but did add a left-footed defender in Eliaquim Mangala. The Manchester City defender joins the Blues on loan until the end of the season, and becomes the sixth center half in the squad.
Both Michael Keane and Ashley Williams have played as the left-sided defender in two-centreback pairings, but being right-footed both have looked awkward at times in the position. Phil Jagielka and Mason Holgate almost exclusively play on the right, but Ramiro Funes Mori is also a leftie and usually is on the left when he plays.
Manager Sam Allardyce is happy with the addition, and expressed his satisfaction to evertontv at getting the deal done -
“Eliaquim adds power and strength to our defensive unit. Also, he’s naturally left-footed - we don’t have a natural left-footer in the team at the moment. Michael Keane is not bad with his left foot and Yannick Bolasie is okay, but they are not naturally left-footed.
“Mangala is naturally left-footed so it gives us a little bit of balance down that left-hand side defensively. And when he is playing the ball forward [from that position], he can play it much easier than a right-footed player can.”
City signing France international Aymeric Laporte during the January transfer window made Mangala expendable, with John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany all ahead of him in the depth chart.
“He’s got Premier League experience and he was big money when City first signed him three years ago.
“It hasn’t quite worked for him there and as they bought another big centre-half for nearly £60million, I have to thank City for allowing him to join us on loan.”
The loan deal represents Everton’s best chance of giving the player a tryout with limited risk. Should he pan out, then it’ll make it easier for the Blues to cut ageing veterans Jagielka and Williams at the end of the season.