With the recent absence of Richarlison, Everton have had no success in scoring enough to alleviate pressure on their backend, and have suffered as a direct result. The Toffees could use some more defensive organization and the middle of the pitch must act with as much ambition as they did earlier on in the campaign. But Dominic Calvert-Lewin needs help, help that neither wing of support has offered much in the games since the Brazilian’s red card challenge against Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool.
So could an innovation on the attacking side of the pitch help the rest of the club? Names like Isco, Arkadiusz Milik and even Wilfried Zaha have been bandied about, and yet in our current and future circumstances, not all would naturally fit with every shape or style we’d like to play; which would?
Milik on Merseyside? Maybe
When this rumor first emerged in the summer, it was of interest to me because of the players skill, familiarity with manager and system, as well as the club’s own ambition. Unfortunately, he plays a position so similar to that of DCL that unless the club played two up top, the would simply be able to spell one another like Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus do at Manchester City; while this could very well be the fate of the club should Moise Kean return from Paris next summer, it might not be the best play in the long term sense.
At 26-years-old, he would be the youngest of the innovations. The Polish striker, who has previously played for Don Carlo at Napoli, has the ability as a number nine to finish around the net with consistency; under Genaro Gattuso this season however, he has not featured and seems completely out of favor in Italy currently. And so while the Toffees might be able to get the player for cheap accordingly, as an exit route for the player and Napoli so to speak, the real question is truly, how would the player fit alongside the other players that Everton have or might have next season?
He would offer goal scoring if on form, it is true, but hardly a presence in the build-up which is where we are struggling most. Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure are talented players to be sure but they may require a stronger offensive presence in their midst still. Milik as a true number nine, would not be that and so for that reason, as well as the aforementioned stacking of central strikers, I wouldn’t prefer this player to either of the other two options in this discussion; Isco is another matter altogether however.
Isco Kid: Potentially a Friend to every Toffee
As I covered in a recent piece, Isco could fit with Everton in a bevy of different ways. He could offer help on the left wing for times when Richarlison is up top or resting, but he could also play inside more, as perhaps an attacking midfielder behind a front three, and in front of two defensive midfielders like Allan and Doucoure.
While he hasn’t shown wonderful form with Zidane at Madrid, neither did James Rodriguez. It doesn’t seem that the famous French midfielder and manager inspires confidence with all players. The 28-year-old Spaniard, the oldest of the three in this discussion, has all of the trophies one would expect to see from a winner of his magnitude, but the production has slowed in recent campaigns, with nothing to show from his six matches this season in La Liga statistical speaking; might he be another gem that simply needs to be shone by Don Carlo in the proper, fatherly way?
Yes, he very well could be, yet he will be a different type of winger than Richarlison, and will also be able to play in less advanced positions in the midfield as well. His passing and ball control are impeccable and so, would likely create wide tension based on the threat that he could create with whoever is posted centrally. On Merseyside, Isco might find both multiple positions to help the club in, as well as a manager that knows his talents, strengths and weaknesses. In Isco, Ancelotti would have a proven winner, and one who understands every big moment as simply another opportunity to demonstrate his skill. He has always been a winner and this would be important to bring to the north of England for sure.
I therefore, rate this move fairly highly, ahead of Milik to for sure, but likely not ahead of Zaha of Crystal Palace, although it is certainly complicated.
Zaha: Finally out of South London and to the north?
Zaha has wanted to leave Crystal Palace for years to this point, and while he just recently turned 28-years-old days ago, he has use for Everton at multiple positions of need, with plenty left in the proverbial gas tank as well. Through eight matches in the Premiership, the player has five strikes and two assists; he, of all three players, is the most expensive and it might not be too difficult to see why. If he could be purchased therefore, I think the innovations could be simply game changing. It would hopefully give us offensive dexterity, along with better possession and scoring rates to protect our still raw and fragile defensive underbelly.
The Ivorian has played out wide on the left, some place we could use dramatic help at currently of course, but also on the other side, as well as centrally. He has even played behind a number nine before, which could be fascinating were he played there at Goodison Park. It is an impressive resume and one that deserves the proper appreciation; under Don Carlo, I believe that he could be positioned across the pitch to create the greatest opportunities for everyone at Goodson Park. And even when Richarlison is not out of the lineup, Zaha can spell either DCL or Richarlison, either centrally or our wide, or sit behind either as a conductor of sorts in a number ten position, in which role he could serve the ambitious front three of Everton across say, a 4-2-1-3 shape.
At any of the positions comfortable to Zaha, he could make a major impact on our club and our season. But looking at the team in a longer term sort of way, he could still fit into the club even were Kean to return in some capacity and so has to be considered if Marcel Brands can find the right price compromise. For me with these qualifications understood, I believe that Wilfried Zaha is the best candidate for an offensive move during the winter transfer window.
The Winter Window is Coming
Director of Football Marcel Brands has often said that he is not interested in making big money moves in January because of inflated prices and a paucity of real talent available at the time. However, if Everton are still in a position to make some noise at the top half of the table come the new year, then it would not be a surprise for the Blues to splash on a player that could add quality across the front line.
With Mason Holgate just returning to action, and Jean Philippe-Gbamin still hedging closer towards a return, defensive reinforcement and organization should be available sooner than later, but offensive depth will be necessary this campaign regardless. And with an addition of any of these players, the team would be improved in the process, but for me, it remains a choice between Zaha and Isco; it would be difficult to go wrong with either and yet, I feel as though Zaha might offer more across the board.