The Mirror, via La Razon, is reporting that Everton are interested in Samu Chukwueze. The article states that Real Madrid and Manchester United are the favorites to sign the Nigerian winger but that Everton are among the other English clubs interested.
As someone who writes about Spanish football, and specifically Villarreal, nearly every single day, I have no idea why the Mirror picked this up. I don’t remember the last time I used La Razon for anything. However, the player is extremely popular in Nigeria, and so putting his name on just about anything generates clicks.
Samu’s release clause is set at £84.5million, and he is nowhere close to being a regular starter at Villarreal. Now, don’t get me wrong, Villarreal is a very good side, and for my money better than Everton (because they’re deeper), but they are not so good that they have a player actually worth €80m sitting on their bench. Gerard Moreno, who scored 18 La Liga goals last season and has five so far this year, starts ahead of Samu on the right to make room for Paco Alcacer, and Samu battles with Real Madrid loanee Take Kubo for playing time.
On his day, Chukwueze is a dominant winger. He’s lighting fast, and he’s not just a good dribbler but he’s a decisive one. He hits a good cutback ball. But he’s wildly inconsistent, and he gives away possession a lot, even for a winger. For every 100 times he touches the ball, he loses it 10.66 times. He’s remarkably good at accumulating ‘shot creating actions’, which is a statistic, that includes created chances, the pass before a created chance, fouls drawn, and dribbles that lead to a shot, and last season with Santi Cazorla taking free kicks for Villarreal, one of Samu’s best contributions was drawing fouls around the edge of the box so the maestro could take over, but to get that you have to accept terrible defense.
From what we have seen of Everton so far in the transfer market, Marcel Brands hasn’t been afraid to spend the cash, but paying a huge release clause such as this for a player who is not even a regular starter seems overboard and not like him. To add to that, Carlo Ancelotti has shown so far that he is more interested in beefing up the squad with trusted players he has already worked with.
Speaking to the media yesterday, manager Unai Emery addressed the rumors surrounding the youngster [All Nigeria Soccer] -
“We are happy with Samuel Chukwueze, he’s growing up here with us and his performances are getting better little by little but above all we want to achieve with him our objectives with his skills, his capacity.
“He is young and he has a very good future and then trying to add his performances for our team, for the national team, maybe in the future he can go to another league to grow up more but I think he’s very happy here with us, and every match with him is very important to try to get best performance with him.”
Among the writers at Villarreal USA we’ve basically concluded that he absolutely cannot play above Mario Gaspar in a 4-4-2, because he never tracks back, and in a 4-3-3 we only want to see him above Mario after the hour mark. He just does not care about playing defense.
I’ve told our writers that if someone came through with a 25m offer for Samu, I’d want to take it. The club will certainly try to get something more in the neighborhood of his clause, but he’s just not worth that as a player at this point. In terms of him moving to Everton, if you can get him for about 20m to be a spark plug off the bench, great. If you want him to come in and be your right winger of the future, well, good luck with that.
Editor’s Note: Zach, whose work you are familiar with for his work here on Royal Blue Mersey, is also the site manager at Villarreal USA - go over and say hello!