With the 2019-20 season complete, three teams will be leaving the Premier League having been relegated - AFC Bournemouth, Watford FC & Norwich City.
Everton were sorely missing quality in a number of spots across the pitch and there is the chance that some gems exist on these sides that could certainly improve the Blues.
The writing crew here at Royal Blue Mersey put their heads together to pick out who they fancied the most from those sides, and came up with this list of players - leading was Hornets winger Ismaila Sarr, with his teammate Abdoulaye Doucoure and Canaries fullback Max Aarons closely behind.
Read on for some quick thoughts on the following players -
Max Aarons - Relegated teams or not, Aarons would he top of my list for our new right back. Young, athletic and techinical. Ticks every box.
Ben Godrey - Young and provides options in both the centre of midfield and central defence.
I wouldn’t take anyone from Watford, but if I had to: Ibrahim Sarr for an option on the wing, Doucoure so we can finally end his bi-annual links to use or Deulofeu for pure nostalgia.
Aaron Ramsdale - Competition for Pickford and a potential replacement if he leaves.
Nathan Ake - Class centre-back. Him and Holgate as fire choice. Keane and Mina as back up. Branthwaite on a good Championship loan.
Max Aarons - We need cover in the right-back area with Sidibe likely to leave, Kenny’s future uncertain and Coleman on the decline. Aarons is one of a handful of standout players in what was a pretty average Norwich team. He can also fill in at left-back if needed too, which is another problem position for us.
Todd Cantwell - Another young player who stood out despite Norwich’s struggles, Cantwell is a midfielder who can pass a football in a forward direction, which makes him an improvement on what we have right now.
Ismaila Sarr helped Watford to beat Liverpool, so that automatically puts him in Evertonian good books. His ability to play on either flank and even fill in through the middle at times, would boost our forward options.
Abdoulaye Doucoure - we have been linked with him for the past two years, why not make it a hat-trick? The shaky relations between the clubs may mean any deal is a non-starter. But he possesses all the attributes we currently lack in midfield. If other targets fall by the wayside, Doucoure should definitely be under consideration.
I’m a big fan of David Brooks, who Everton were linked with when he was still a youngster a Sheffield United. Injury has wrecked this season for him of course, but he is back fit now and fits the profile of the type of forward player we are looking for.
Phillip Billing would perhaps be a controversial call, but he brings physical presence and good technique to the midfield. I’m sure there are other targets ahead of him but he is worth considering given the paucity of options we currently have.
Nathan Ake would be the first name that came to mind. Would be an excellent addition to the CB rotation. Let him and Mina rotate each other and move Keane to the fourth CB.
If you’re ever going to pick up Doucoure, now is the time. We desperately need CMs and he’s a pretty good one. David Brooks is another one and he’s young enough that I think Carlo could develop him into a pretty special player.
Jamal Lewis - While much of this summer’s transfer hype is focused on rightback Max Aarons, I believe his left-sided compatriot Jamal Lewis would be worth a look, seeing as Baines is sadly hanging up his boots. It looks like Bayern is moving in on Aarons, and seeing as Jonjoe Kenny is most likely returning, Sidibe is off, and Coleman still has some legs left in him, I don’t think it would make sense to overpay for Aarons.
Emiliano Buendía - Buendia is a creative player with some flair that is much needed in Everton’s midfield setup next season. It’s unclear whether Gylfi will stay, but a young creative midfielder is something Everton should be looking for.
Todd Cantwell - would strengthen Everton’s large gap of talent on the right side of the field and we could snag him for a relatively low price
David Brooks - another young, crafty right-sided midfielder, similar to Cantwell, who I believe would help out the side greatly. I would be ecstatic to pick up either him or Cantwell.
Jefferson Lerma - I think Lerma is a solid midfielder and the right age. However, I can see a few teams looking for his services and wouldn’t want the club to overpay if Gbamin ends up coming back 100% next season.
Philip Billing - I quite liked Billing when he was with Huddersfield. I think he would provide good depth and would be a good alternative if Lerma’s price is too much. I really wanted to add Aké to this list, but I feel like if Ancelotti wants to roll with Keane/Holgate next season with Mina rotating in, it wouldn’t be worth it, as there will be a lot of teams after him this summer.
Abdoulaye Doucouré - Everton were linked with Doucouré in the past, and he screams Idrissa Gueye. I think he would be a good fit to help with the Blues’ midfield woes.
Ismaïla Sarr - Sarr would be a great addition. Young, speedy, and crafty, he would offer a lot to the Blues’ attacking efforts.
Nathaniel Chalobah - To no surprise, another midfielder. Young and solid in the middle of the park.
Max Aarons - one of few bright sparks in Norwich’s miserable season at right-back. Will probably cost a hefty fee but already an upgrade on Seamus Coleman and at 20, his best days are still ahead of him.
Cantwell - 6 goals as a Norwich winger is an impressive return for me. Plays with an edge and his heart on his sleeve. There are better wingers out there but I have a soft spot for him. Great hair, too.
Sarr - more direct than Cantwell from what I’ve seen; exciting winger who Watford fans seem to really rate and love.
Doucoure - if Marco Silva had got him in the building last summer, I wonder how different at least the start of the season would have been. Really impressive box-to-box midfielder who would walk into our midfield (albeit that isn’t saying much...)
Nathan Ake - a proven defender who is young and quick and would fit right in alongside Michael Keane or even Jarrad Branthwaite in the future,
Max Aarons - Seamus Coleman’s replacement. Very talented and looks like he can form into a really good player given the right situation.
Todd Cantwell - Has the creative ability that we lack in midfield, as well as the production. 6 goals in nothing to turn your head at in that team and...well...just look at our midfield.
Jamal Lewis - In the few times that I have seen Lewis play, he struck me as a solid player. Can play in defense and in the midfield. Could be depth at LB after the loss of Baines.
Abdoulaye Doucoure - A player who we have been linked with since the Silva days. A little older than I would typically like, but he seems like he can play all parts of the midfield game pretty well. Not afraid to put in a good tackle and produces on the offensive end, as well.
Ismaila Sarr - For a team that scored 36 goals in the season, Sarr contributed directly to a quarter of them from the right side. He would fill in that right midfielder/right-wing spot very well and surely add some quality to the midfield going forward.
I’ll go in a different direction. I think the answer is none of them.
Not that any of these guys are bad players, but when we look at where Everton is and where we want them to be I can’t see anyone here that is an upgrade on what we have. Maybe they can meet the level of play we currently have in the squad, but I’d rather fill our open roster spots with players of a higher quality, or take chances on players from outside of the EPL that show promise with their youth. Maybe, maybe we could take Jamal Lewis to replace Leighton Baines, but otherwise I’m not sure that I’ve seen anything that really makes me think we need to bring in a backup or a starter of a similar level.
And if I wanted a winger that doesn’t track back I’d just trot out our current crop of wingers. Geri can play in the Championship.