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Everton interest in free agent a worrying sign?

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Is there more than meets the eye to Schneiderlin’s injury

Everton v Southampton - Premier League
Morgan Schneiderlin leaves the pitch injured
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

We heard yesterday via Teamtalk that Everton are reported to be looking at Portuguese free agent Miguel Veloso, with a view to adding the midfielder to the squad before the month-end deadline.

The Blues face competition from Wolverhampton Wanderers, who under Marco Silva’s countryman Nuno Espirito Santo has been stockpiling Portuguese internationals by the bushel over the last couple of season.

Taking a deeper look at Veloso’s abilities and numbers does make us wonder if there is more to Morgan Schneiderlin’s injury than meets the eye. The player came up limping about midway through the first half on Saturday’s win against Southampton and had to leave the games.

Since that time there’s not been too many details out about the specific details of his ailment, with the player saying he’ll see in the next couple of days, while the manager echoed those sentiments in his post-match comments.

Scheniderlin’s understudy in the squad Beni Baningime picked up an injury in Austria during the preseason and he remains out indefinitely as well. While Silva was able to use his tactical flexibility to utilize Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies as his midfield over the weekend, he’ll no doubt be looking for a veteran to man that pivotal position if Scheniderlin is forced to miss any time. Andre Gomes is also not fit yet, and will likely play in the box-to-box midfielder role that Gueye currently occupies.

Genoa CFC v SSC Napoli - Serie A
Miguel Veloso of Genoa CFC in action
Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Enter Veloso. The 32-year-old has 56 international caps for Portugal, the last of which came in 2015 during the qualifiers for Euro 2016 which the Portuguese would go on to win. He has been with Genoa for the last two seasons playing in the Serie A as a defensive midfielder in a 3-5-2 formation. Since his contract expired at the end of last season, Veloso has yet to pick a club to ply his trade at.

Looking at the statistical comparisons between Schneiderlin and Veloso, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, helps us to learn a bit more about the Portuguese player -

Defensive: Games Played, Minutes, Tackles & Interceptions, Clearances, Dribbled Past and Blocks, all per game.

Schneiderlin (‘17-’18): 30 games, 2129’, 3.9, 2.0, 1.0, 0.2

Schneiderlin (‘16-’17): 14 games, 1059’, 3.9, 2.0, 1.2, 0.3

Veloso (‘17-’18): 22 games, 1743’, 2.4, 1.4, 1.4, 0.1

Veloso (‘16-’17): 23 games, 1783’, 3.3, 1.0, 1.4, 0.1

Schneiderlin appears to be better in all facets of defending, and Veloso’s numbers are poorer despite the Serie A and Premier League coming very close in goals per game for last season (2.6763 vs 2.6789).

Attacking: Goals, Assists, Shots per games, Dribbles per game, Turnovers per game

Schneiderlin (‘17-’18): 0G, 0A, 0.4, 1.0, 1.2

Schneiderlin (‘16-’17): 0G, 0A, 0.2, 0.2, 1.3

Veloso (‘17-’18): 1G, 0A, 1.3, 0.4, 1.1

Veloso (‘16-’17): 0G, 4A, 1.3, 0.3, 1.2

Again very similar ball possession stats, with Veloso taking more shots per game.

Passing: Key passes, Long Balls, Average Passes, Passing Accuracy (all per game)

Schneiderlin (‘17-’18): 0.2, 2.1, 37.7, 83.9%

Schneiderlin (‘16-’17): 0.4, 4.9, 60.8, 89.9%

Veloso (‘17-’18): 0.9, 4.0, 46, 82.5%

Veloso (‘16-’17): 1.4, 3.8, 49.4, 84.3%

Veloso once again showed more attacking endeavour in the passing game as well. The Portuguese player sometimes struggled to finish out games, but could do well in spot duty if the Blues sign and insert him into the midfield equation.