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Everton up against Liverpool in battle for World Cup defender

Croatian centerhalf in demand on Merseyside

Argentina v Croatia: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

BACKGROUND

Everton have been linked with Croatia and Besiktas defender Domagoj Vida before the World Cup even started. There have been multiple reports in the Turkish media that the Blues have put in a €15m bid for the centrehalf, the latest coming from Turkish newspaper Aksam (via SportWitness).

Vida was loosely linked with Everton during the January transfer window when he made the switch to Besiktas, but nothing came of it. Meanwhile, it appears the Black Eagles know they have a somewhat valuable asset on their hands that they got on a free transfer and would like to cash in on him.

The report goes on to add that the Turkish side has tapped former Spartak Moscow defender Serdar Tasci as the replacement for Vida. There has also been talk that Liverpool are interested in the 29-year-old who has formed a solid partnership with the Reds’ Dejan Lovren for Croatia at the World Cup.

PLAYER PROFILE

In some of his comments after his appointment, new Director of Football Marcel Brands stated clearly that he would not make any hasty signings based on World Cup performances alone.

Vida’s history shows that he is a stable defender who is at his peak, and can hardly be considered any better than Phil Jagielka. Everton right now need a couple of center halves, one ready to start at the Premier League level and another to develop for the future. Vida falls in neither category.

He has certainly done well with Croatia at the World Cup, and has 62 international caps with his side in the quarter finals and having conceded just twice in four games, including a penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson, a game that Vida was rested in.

Here is a comment from a scouting profile we did just before the winter transfer window -

“He’s 28 years old and frankly he has found his level. His level is clearly not the English Premier League (nor Serie A, for that matter) but the Croatian news source 24Sata is reporting interest shown by Everton and AC Milan.

“... as a 28 year old with no experience in a top four league, it’s inconceivable that this is a switch he’s going to be able to make fluidly...”

EVERTON ANGLE

Everton have been linked with a number of other defenders who show a lot more potential and are younger than Vida, including Ben Gibson and Jannik Vestergaard.

As the Blues have learned with Ashley Williams, adding players near the 30-year-mark is a short-sighted move fraught with risks as performance levels drop off drastically.

If Liverpool are indeed in for him they should go ahead and have him, he is simply not worth getting into a ego battle for.