The rumor mill churns away eternally in football. For Everton this season however, much of the chatter churned out has turned out to be more than simple gossip. James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure all began as just rumors. If their Premier League opening week 1-0 victory against Tottenham is any evidence, there is now finally grand ambition back at both Finch Farm and Goodison Park.
And so, rumors, no matter how unbelievable they sound, must be given at least an ounce of thought when they’re brought to attention. Hirving Lozano is such a player with such rumors, and the whispers have lasted long enough that they deserve some real consideration; with the use of the 4-3-3 yesterday, the Mexican forward could slot in across the front seamlessly. But can Everton afford the move, and would Lozano be a worthwhile addition for the Toffees tactically and practically?
Hirving Lozano: The “Mexican Messi” as he’s been called is likely expensive, but would he be worth it?
When one uses the term, “worth it”, it is subjective of course. For effective wing play, almost any price would likely be worth it by any reasonable determination. And yet, finances must be considered and thought of; while Everton hasn’t spent an incredible amount yet this summer window, it is uncertain exactly how much Marcel Brands and Carlo Ancelotti have to spend exactly.
That’s why a name like Thomas Lemar has been considered, were he to come cheap enough, as a reasonable alternative. And while Lemar has shown flashes of brilliance on the left wing, more so at Monaco than since he moved to Madrid, Lozano offers a few qualities that the young Frenchman may not be able to.
Firstly, he is able to play across the front of any shape, creating a greater overall attacking depth for Everton with his signature. Carlo Ancelotti knows this well of course; having had the player at Napoli with Allan, and having actually transferred specifically for him from PSV, Ancelotti would water at the mouth to be able to have him contributing to Everton’s play and overall development.
His creativity, pace, scoring, invention and passing ability make Lozano an attractive player for Everton, but perhaps the most important aspect of the player is his current, visible self esteem. Unlike Lemar who has suffered comparatively since he left Monaco for Atletico Madrid, Lozano just keeps producing no matter the team, the nation or the manager. He has survived multiple different managers at Napoli, not always unscathed, and while earlier reports suggested that the player might be sold, new boss, and former Ancelotti player Genaro Gattuso, has since allegedly changed his mind on the player's future with the club.
If this is true, it could mean that a transfer for the player is impossible. However, if it’s not, Everton might be able to spend only a bit more than what they paid for his former teammate, Allan. Ultimately, what makes more sense for Everton? Lozano or Lemar?
Lozano or Lemar? Or perhaps Richarlison? A matter of taste, finances and vision for the future
Either of the first two players can play on the left side, while Hirving Lozano is more accustomed to playing across the entire front than Thomas Lemar is. Depending on the cost of each, we could find teams that look different as a direct consequence.
Thomas Lemar means that the race for the left winger position will be stiff competition without question. Lemar would be battling teammates like Richarlison, Anthony Gordon, Bernard or Alex Iwobi for playtime, just as Lozano would, except that the great Mexican talent can also fill in more easily across the front of any shape than can Lemar, whether 4-4-2, 4-3-3, as well as be much more of a goal contributor.
For example, were position other than the left flank to require innovation, someone like Richarlison, Gordon, Bernard or Iwobi could man this vacated position while the Mexico international covers the necessary spot. With Lozano, this could be done at any necessary forward attacking position with ease. Lemar on the other hand, would be more likely to have to win his place, remain, as well as rotate, on the left wing exclusively.
By this mere fact alone, Lozano, if a negligible financial difference separates himself and Lemar, becomes the necessary player for Everton. Richarlison’s play on the left wing sparkled yesterday despite home not scoring, and can be a promising innovation moving forward. When he becomes more comfortable on the wing, as opposed to centrally, once more, he can be as effective and dangerous.
However, the additional versatility that Lozano can bring could make Everton, not only dangerous, but dangerously deep as well. The interchangeability of players like James, Richarlison, and Lozano could make Everton a tactical nightmare for more teams than just Spurs. Were finances and commitments really so daunting, then Lemar can provide many of the same things, albeit only on the left, at a slightly younger age than the 25-year-old Lozano.
I think that with the atmosphere Ancelotti is trying to build at Everton, either talent could succeed. It is a team of underdogs, veterans and young talent, coached by a legendary manager. The energy at Finch Farm is likely electric as every single player and part of management acutely feels as though they have something to prove with Everton, as well as for themselves. Were Everton able to do so, adding Lozano could prove just another innovation on the road back to glory for the Royal Blue of Merseyside.