How many players based in Portugal have we seen linked with Everton over the last couple of years? And how many have actually transferred to the Blues? A dozen, and none, respectively.
Portuguese daily A Bola reported yesterday that the Toffees are among three Premier League sides along with Swansea City and West Ham United chasing Porto striker Moussa Marega. Note, Marega is not even their lead striker, with that mantle going to Vincent Aboubakar. And if that name sounds familiar it’s because he has been linked with a move to the Blues previously as well.
His agent Aziz Ben Aissa claimed that conversations have taken place as well (from A Bola, via eir Sport) -
“It’s true there’s been contact about him from various English clubs, among them Everton, but no decision was taken.
”And it will only be furthered with the knowledge and consent of FC Porto. Anything else you say more than this will be speculation.”
However, as secondary striker Marega has done well for himself, plundering twenty goals in 24 games in the defensively-abject Portuguese league, well ahead of Aboubakar who has fifteen in the same number of league games. Where Aboubakar is ahead of Marega though is in the Champions League where he has picked up five goals while the Malian international is still waiting for his first. When Porto don’t line up with two forwards, Marega shifts out right.
Marega, while not tactically the most astute, uses his tremendous power and physical presence in the box to create space and get goals. Interestingly, Everton sent scouts over to Anfield when the Reds played Porto in their Champions League round of 16 home leg, but Marega did not play with a hamstring injury. The 26-year-old was born in France but has 12 caps for Mali with one goal, and missed the game yesterday against Japan with the same ailment.
He played one and a half seasons for Maritimo in Portugal scoring fifteen times and catching the attention of Porto who swooped in for the forward in January 2016. Marega then spent the 2016-17 season out on loan at Vitoria Guimares where he banged in a further fourteen goals before returning to Porto this season.
At Everton, he would at best be an upgrade over Oumar Niasse, though the Senegalese forward has made a name for himself with his workrate which would be hard for Marega to match. Cenk Tosun is easily the lead striker with youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin playing the jack-of-all-trades role.
Marega is already 26 and it’s hard to see his ceiling much higher than what it already is, so these links really don’t make much sense. Everton will be better off looking to bolster other positions across the pitch than trying to get him.