The latest in the incredibly long line of centerhalves that Everton has been linked with is Espanyol’s David Lopez. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Barcelona club are seeking to reduce their wage bill from the current €61m a season to €49m a season. This has led to increased interest in some of their key wage earners.
The clubs associated with the player’s transfer are Valencia, Real Betis, and Everton, though the player’s quite high €40m valuation is an issue for all three. Nevertheless, Lopez is a good player and a worthy starter in any top league.
Lopez has shown the ability to play either CB or in defensive midfield, though most of his time is on the back line. He completed 72% of his tackles last year and produced about 3.5 defensive actions per 90 minutes. He was a constant presence for Espanyol last season as he totaled 3330 league minutes for the 11th placed Periquitos.
At 28 years old, Lopez is solidly in the prime of his career, so what you see is what you’re going to get. This is not a buy that would happen with the expectation of the player’s individual improvement. He is a solid starter and that he will remain for the rest of his prime.
Lopez had moved from Espanyol to Napoli on a five-year-deal but returned after two years, having featured in 79 games for the Italian side in that span.
I don’t love it. If Espanyol really needs to drop their wage bill then it is possible that we could get him below his release clause, but Espanyol will want as much money as possible for such a key player. I don’t fancy spending 20-25m on a mid table starter that isn’t going to get any better.
Lopez could certainly step in and start for Everton today, but if this Goodison project continues to progress, he will find himself unable to keep up at a club that wants to be among the top six before too long. I think there are younger options with better upside that could be had for cheaper than this particular player.