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If Gana is sold, Delph is not the answer for Everton

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Signing Delph is fine, but not as a replacement for Gueye

Everton FC v Burnley FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In looking over a potential move for Fabian Delph, RBM’s own Adam Braun as always did a good job of highlighting what the player brings to the table and how he fits in the overall picture at Everton. He made a comment in his article, which you can (and should) read here, about how Delph should not in any way be viewed as a replacement for Gueye. I agree with him entirely, and I just wanted to dedicate a few words to more fully developing that idea in case there is any confusion.

Signing Fabian Delph would be a fine move. Selling Idrissa Gueye (for the right price) to Paris St. Germain would also not be a problem. However, if one move is supposed to compensate or react to another, I have a serious problem. So when I see both moves swirling at the same time, what worries me is not a situation where Delph replaces the minutes used by Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin, it is a situation where our midfield destroyer is gone and he is replaced by a player with no recent experience playing significant minutes in the center of a midfield.

Fabian Delph spent a lot of his time at Manchester City last season playing left back. With Lucas Digne and the newly extended Leighton Baines at that slot, he is clearly not going to be used in that position. When comparing statistics between Gana and Delph, it must be remembered that in his minutes as a fullback for City the England international was given far more attacking responsibility than he would ever have playing a CM/DM role at Everton. It is not as simple as looking at Delph’s attacking metrics and saying “oh, they’re better than Gana’s, he’ll bring something new to the midfield”. Any modern fullback worth anything should have better offensive numbers than a midfielder of Gana’s defensive orientation.

According to smarterscout.com, Fabian Delph spent 43 minutes in a defensive midfield role last season (and only 21 minutes as a CM). Whoscored.com, who only tracks a players position when he starts, has zero minutes at either position listed for the player last term. Smarterscout has 932 minutes listed for him at LB between the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Switzerland v England - UEFA Nations League Third Place Playoff Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Simply put, we have no idea what kind of midfielder Delph is right now outside of his performance for the Three Lions in International play, and even there the sample size is too small to build an accurate statistical profile of the player. With his 300-odd minutes as a midfielder over the last three seasons, we have no meaningful number of minutes in midfield areas for him unless we go all the way back to the 2015-2015 season with Aston Villa.

I am not opposed to signing Delph. What I do not want to see is a situation where we sign Delph, then give in to a bid from Paris St. Germain for the services of Gana, and decide that because we have Delph we do not need another midfielder. That would be an absolute disaster. He simply does not have the skillset or ability to justify that line of thought. Hopefully the Gana move doesn’t happen and adding Delph would just mean depth, but if not we need to quickly invest any money from a Gueye sale immediately into another starting quality midfielder.