While Everton fight to reach Europe by whatever means necessary with just ten matches left in the campaign, the rumor mill has continued to churn out reports suggesting all types of transfer ambitions for the Toffees. Whether it be regarding Max Aarons of Norwich, Isco of Real Madrid, or either of the two newest additions to the conversation, Lucas Vasquez and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Koulibaly is less a new addition to be fair, and more a revitalized talking point, as it was previously whispered that the central defender would potentially be interested in playing for his old Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti in the Premier League. While it does not take much imagination to think about what a player of his caliber could provide the defense, it takes more imagination than most have to figure out how he would be paid for without Champions League football; Europa or the Conference League appear more reasonable at this current juncture however.
His style of play, his size and his technique would likely make a combination of he and Ben Godfrey quite terrifying for even accomplished forwards and wingers to penetrate. Koulibaly has had a decent season under Genaro Gattuso, yet Napoli remain in the hunt for a UCL spot; should they achieve this, it will once again seem difficult to lure the player away from a lifestyle he himself has stated he enjoys quite a lot. Yet were he to come to Merseyside, who does he replace on the backline there already? Michael Keane is getting older, but has been effective both offensively and defensively as the season as churned on. While the speculation over how long Seamus Coleman will continue to play is usually relative to the Toffees search for his replacement, an Aarons or Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, it is less simple to figure out exactly who Koulibaly would replace.
Keeping Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate seems obvious, and so Michael Keane ends up as the odd man out due to age and ability, despite his know-how and tenacious spirit. Yet for me, the real intrigue rests further up the pitch, where a report suggesting that Lucas Vasquez could potentially be an option for a free transfer once the season is over; in concert with an Isco move, Don Carlo could find himself with two more trusted players from his time in Spain for barely £20 million combined.
Lucas Vasquez and Isco: More Madrid comrades for James on Merseyside?
Both Spanish champions, Vasquez at 29-years-of-age and Isco at 28-years-of age, could provide bountiful versatility for their old boss Don Carlo, and at the prices they are rumored to be available at, they are simple to imagine at Finch Farm, even as players would have to be shuffled to accommodate the moves. While I have discussed the positives of bringing Isco on Merseyside before, it is worth noting once more that his versatility could mean better depth in both the middle of the pitch, as well as on the left side of Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack.
Adding his creativity to the center of the park could open up the fire power and imagination of the other highly creative talent like James Rodriguez and Richarlison. While a couple months ago I might’ve suggested that Gylfi Sigurdsson be on his way out in return for Isco, I do not believe that any further. Carlo has impacted the Icelandic International in obvious ways and he is playing much more like the midfielder of Marco Silva’s last full campaign with the team than what we witnessed last season. For Isco to come therefore, Bernard Duarte will likely have to depart; as he has never found his best form since arriving on Merseyside, it may be for the best that he depart Everton.
Which brings us to Lucas Vasquez, who would not only slot in to compete on the right wing with the likes of James, Alex Iwobi and eventually Anthony Gordon, but is more than capable of playing right back as well. This is crucial, for depending on the financial capabilities of the Toffees this summer, acquiring a Max Aarons may even be too pricey, let alone talk of Koulibaly instead or as well; it is in the similar vein as for why I suggested Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is more than capable of playing across the backline, as well as in the midfield should a club require him to do so. While Vasquez doesn’t possess the time left in his career that a Max Aarons or a Maitland-Niles currently possesses, his experience and championship pedigree goes without saying.
His experience therefore is as valuable as his current ability in many ways. While he would replace Seamus Coleman, the club would still be in the hunt for a more permanent, long term replacement for the current club captain. Yet Vasquez is no slouch, and can surely get up the pitch as well, and might offer Everton dependable crossing service from the right side to compliment that which Lucas Digne creates on the left. Furthermore, it would be a fascinating experiment to witness the People’s Club transformed into a hub where so many great talents from the coaches former clubs can come together with the goal and ambition to succeed in the Premier League.
Should this brace of moves get done come summer time, especially were it to be concert with a massive Moise Kean move to PSG, it could leave Everton in a very optimistic position with a European competition finally looming for the first time since Ronald Koeman briefly stalked the sidelines. Getting two players of their qualities for just £20 million sets Marcel Brands and Carlo Ancelotti up to bring in other names, both young and old as well.
Other names to watch in the coming months
The young striker of Slavia Prague, Abdullah Sima, is one I’ve been keeping a close eye on as I’ve watched the Europa League. While his ability may have been overshadowed in the last round thanks to the grotesque display of racism one of his teammates allegedly made towards Glen Kamara of Rangers, at only 19-years-of-age, the Senegalese forward might very well become the type of player Moise Kean was slated to become once he joined Everton.
Depending on how Jean-Philippe Gbamin can return to action for the rest of the current year, I think has a lot to do with other possible innovations regarding defensive midfield. Allan has looked solid when he has been healthy, and Tom Davies continues to make massive improvements under the current coaching staff, and Gbamin entering the fray, with his ability to play in a position of central defense as well, could only improve that position on the pitch for the Toffees.
And while these rumors are all fun topics to discuss, only the final results of this season will give us better insight as to what is possible from a player personnel standpoint. That is just one of the many reasons why it is so crucial for Everton to play well enough to win in at least sixty percent of the remaining matches (six of ten) this campaign which should allow them to be in a European competition for next season, and with it, an expanded transfer kitty and squad to work with. These are all potential innovations, yet the first order of business remains to win enough to allow these possibilities a chance at becoming realities; COYB!