The poise and form that Moise Kean has demonstrated at Paris Saint Germain under Thomas Tuchel this season is the exact form that Everton fans were hoping would arrive at Merseyside in the summer transfer window coming into last season. At that time, Kean needed to escape Italian football’s racist under—and sometimes over—tones, and the Toffees appeared a perfect destination. But after just one season, two managers and a season of tumult on and off the pitch, it was believed that a season away at another club might be the ticket before the rest of the youngster’s career is to continue.
With his success and confidence apparent in France, might bringing him back to Merseyside this winter be the easiest move of all to make? While The Athletic confirmed in November that the Toffees intend to have him play the whole season in Paris, circumstances continue to develop and the proposition itself could be useful if our current form holds. I myself believe that the Parisian holiday could offer us a player in proper form, just in time to offer greater diversity in attack, and more goals ultimately, during these assorted English campaigns.
Moise Kean: A different type of striker this season, and the Toffees require as much
In a season that began with such bright expression and results, goals from those not named Dominici Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison have become increasingly difficult to find on a consistent basis. Even with offensive tinkering and innovations of shape and idea, things have not been easy recently on Merseyside after an absolutely brilliant start. One is forced to question whether it would have not been wise in hindsight to look for one more offensive piece during the summer. A Hirving Lozano, Thomas Lemar or even Arkadiusz Milik could have made the difference across the last month or so I’m sure; in any event, retrieving Kean, even at some cost, will be an answer that proves far less expensive than any of those options would’ve been at the time.
And while it will likely mean the official end for Cenk Tosun, that is more than reasonable as an exchange of sorts. It will be important for Carlo Ancelotti and Everton to take note of how their Italian striker has been used so far on a team that has both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe already. With that said, it could very well be that Kean plays alongside Calvert-Lewin up top, using a 4-4-2 as was seen at times last season. With the proper midfield play, an attacking front that would feature Richarlison, Kean, Calvert-Lewin and James Rodriguez could be both frightening and provocative in attack. One would suspect of course, that with such an attack, that the players behind them would have to step up their own defensive games as well; but as Don Carlo said just the other day, “we did not bring in James Rodriguez to play defence”, and that mentality will likely remain true for any offensive innovation made this winter.
With the young Italian’s recent numbers, a similar level of play in England would be welcome for the Blues. Eight goals and one assist across all competitions, for a team with such brilliant skill up and down the pitch is certainly nothing to laugh about. While some will ridicule or try to diminish the level of competition in what has been derisively referred to as a ‘farmers league’, the stats are certainly real, and certainly tell a story of a player who is both confident and still growing as an athlete and football player.
Could he replicate those numbers back in England? Where the play is more physical and aggressive than in France? I believe he can, given the proper implementation and willingness on his own part. It’s certainly interesting that his expected goals total for Paris in the league this season, in almost similar minutes as at Everton last season, is about the same for both campaigns. What is indeed different is that his 4.15xG has yielded six goals in France, but his 4.14xG only garnered two goals in the Premier League. Now that difference can be attributed to a number of factors, luck and different skill levels of competition among them.
It’s not like Kean is suddenly shooting from vastly better spots, if anything his shots per 90 has actually dropped. Playing on a star-studded side likely does mean he has much less attention on him from defending sides, and there does seem to be more shooting from closer to the six-yard box and centrally than right of centre around the penalty spot as he did at Everton.
Questions have to be asked also about the player’s motivations living in Paris. Should he wish to leave England, there will be little reason to think of ever bringing him back; I believe Kean has unfinished business in the Premier League though, and leaving it that way would be a disservice to his potential as a player. And while that is ultimately and completely up to the Italian and possibly his agent Mino Raiola, it remains to be seen how great his ambition is to fulfill his potential on Merseyside.
Should Kean remain at PSG, what are our options this Winter?
Should Moise Kean not find his way back to England this winter, the maneuvering will be a bit more complicated for the club. While the team reported record losses, thanks to the pandemic, it comes with the news that their owner Farhad Moshiri plans to dump even more than that loss back into the club out of his own pocket. The British-Iranian businessman wants the best for Everton it appears, but clubs especially in this climate are simply not made of money; what can be done?
The aforementioned three players from the summer window speculation might still be in play, but the decision will be for the Board to decide where this squad needs fortification. Isco, Sami Khedira, and Samuel Umtiti have all entered the merry-go-round of discussion and speculation as well, but Everton will likely only be able to snag one or two players in total this winter, at the very best. Bringing Kean back would alleviate some of the need to further acquire direct offensive weapons with no financial outlay, leaving room to tinker with the midfield and backline exclusively. But without that innovation, a player like Isco for example, might be chosen simply for his familiarity with Don Carlo and versatility of position and skill.
The Toffees will continue to improve, even with bumps in the road. This is obvious of course, but some help from somewhere will be necessary this winter, and it appears that is understood by both the coaches, as well as the administration. This is positive of course, but might the cheaper avenue of bringing Moise Kean back offer the club an additional boost alongside whatever transfer innovations occur otherwise? I believe so, and if it can be done properly, followed by a period of proper integration back into the side, I believe that the player could look like a new signing for the club at a cut-rate price.