Napoli certainly has its fill of talent, and Carlo Ancelotti knows that better than most. But he has so far done his best to bring some of that talent to Goodison Park; while Allan came without too great a hitch, Hirving Lozano has not been as easy to acquire to date. But if reports from Sky Italia are to be believed, the Toffees and Don Carlo could have the opportunity to get the £23M Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik from the Neapolitan side. Additionally, other reports from the Daily Mail indicate that Moise Kean would certainly be departing were this to occur, or in order for it to occur rather.
With the current talent and ability in front of net, is such a move necessary or wise? Would it see a change in shape? Or simply a change in roles on this current squad? All are reasonable questions, and ones worth delving into but there are still more as well.
Greedy for Goals: Arkadiusz Milik and the search for depth at Everton
While Milik is just a few years older than Kean, his purchase would simply signal a real 1a or b situation for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The incumbent #9 has been absolutely incredible to begin this campaign, but he cannot be expected to do it every night. With Richarlison having a similar strong start to the season, this area is perhaps less a worry than the defensive state of the club.
However, Carlo Ancelotti and Big Dunc would likely love to have someone really dependable to be able to spell DCL and vice versa; with Milik, Richarlison could remain on the left side of the pitch which, in theory and practice, creates more consistent depth at that position.
The recent play of Alex Iwobi has for the most part been encouraging and as a result, perhaps less pressure has been visible on this weakness of depth. Kean too, could play a part in further hiding this blemish; with two goals this campaign, the better he plays, the less likely it is that the 26-year-old Pole makes it to Goodison Park at all. But if it becomes increasingly obvious that fire power, either on the wings or centrally, is still missing, then it will be difficult to blame Marcel Brands and the coaching thinktank for making the call to risk a bit of future for a bit of present advantage.
Milik certainly has the frame, the nose and the finishing that a poacher needs, as the last two seasons with 20 and 14 goals have proven. With their somewhat similar skillsets it’s unlikely though he and Calvert-Lewin will see much time in a 4-4-2 together, but that doesn’t mean that they could not become a fearsome one-two punch. The attacking options that Ancelotti has at his disposal could in theory apply constant pressure for all ninety minutes, week in and week out; the early stats from the matches so far should be proof of this ambition already. And yet, aside from losing a great young talent like Kean, the defense could lose still further in such an endeavor.
Score, or be Scored Upon: A Potential Scenario for the Toffees
Should the rumors of the conditionality of the Milik transfer be correct in respect to Kean, for financial purposes, then this is essentially a present for future scenario which becomes a bit more understandable. However, were it to be a scenario in which Everton have the funds and have just yet to delineate them, then it becomes more difficult to ignore the fact that the club do still need to address the defensive backline.
Yerry Mina has looked good, albeit inconsistent at times, but Everton miss Mason Holgate, especially after the injury to Jarrad Branthwaite; Lucas Digne’s recent CB stints should be all the proof one needs. And so whether it be Anton Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Jean-Claire Todibo, Fikayo Tomori, Unai Nunez or someone else entirely, someone to help stabilize the defense might be a better use of ones remaining capital than on a further offensive piece.
Furthermore, if paying for defensive piece could allow for the retention of Kean, then that would certainly be the better play than moving Kean for Milik, to only have no money left for a youngish defensive piece in the centre. Another option of course, could be that a player like Jean Philippe-Gbamin could perhaps be utilized along the backline when he finally returns to form after his awful spell of injuries.
One thing to be said for Milik though is that he is much more of the prototypical striker and surpasses Calvert-Lewin in just about every forward metric, but cannot match DCL’s workrate in harrying defenses upfront, something that is a key to Ancelotti’s gameplan.
All of these notions are worth considering for Everton could very well find themselves depending so heavily on their attack that they are left powerless against good counterattacking clubs; if the season comes down to a, “Score, or be scored upon” mentality, then while the Toffees have had a brilliant start to the campaign thus far, it could become difficult during the stretches where the better teams are more consistently waiting to use Everton’s own ambition against them. This must be considered before these decisions can be reached in full confidence.
I am a personal fan of any of the offensive innovations I’ve written about, from Thomas Lemar, Hirving Lozano, Ivan Perisic to even Milik. I do not believe that their signatures should disadvantage the other priorities the club has and so, with the club we have currently, should we be unable to add further offense while beefing up the backend, then we should hold off on doing so until perhaps winter. If one of these players can done, alongside a Nunez, a Todibo or so on, then of course, innovation can be slowed by nothing. But ultimately above all, the construction of the club must be a balance; for in the final analysis, Arkadiusz Milik could make a brilliant signing and impact on the present and near future, but at what costs?