Max Aarons has been the talk of certain Premier League outfits for multiple campaigns to this point. That he has remained at Norwich City is a testament to his own loyalty to the Canaries, yet surely the rest of this campaign will be the right back’s final moments with an integral club of his development. Whether he should go to Everton who are reportedly negotiating for his transfer, or Arsenal who are rumoured to be looking at him as a possible replacement for Hector Bellerin, there is little question that the player will make an impact.
On Merseyside however, he could very well form a dynamic, young backline of defence for Everton for years to come. His versatility is one thing, yet his statistics, both offensively and defensively, are absolutely impressive; with a goal and four assists in the Championship this season, while Norwich have cruised to the first position on the table, Aarons has shown himself capable of bringing great width and expression from the backline moving forward. Yet he is a capable defender as well, and can be depended upon to put in a full day of work across the stat sheet.
While a team like Arsenal have some nice defensive pieces for the future as well, namely Gabriel Magalhaes, I believe that Everton may hold a few advantages over Arsenal in recruiting the player; one of those advantages is named Carlo Ancelotti and the other is named Ben Godfrey.
Don Carlo Ancelotti: Marking Merseyside A Real Destination for the Future
While the progress of Everton from the sacking of Marco Silva to today is impressive and obvious from general on-field performances of the club, this success is rooted deeper than simply play. Ancelotti is in the process of transforming the perception of the club, from how his own players view the club, to supporters and rival outfits; it has not been an easy task, and is still far from over, yet between a molding of personalities, development of talent, and transfers both in and out, the Italian is finding runs of matches with a scary offense and imposing defense, at times.
And we can thank some new names, as well as some revitalized old names. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been stunning all season, and has truly been one of the best strikers in the league at still only 23-years of age. Richarlison has found his form once more and might provide Everton with a really effective attacking pair for years. James Rodriguez, who had previously appeared out of gas in Germany and Spain has turned back the clock. Abdoulaye Doucoure’s indefatigable motor has powered the Blues while Tom Davies has matured in a holding/defensive position, and that’s with Allan having missed time with various issues. Seamus Coleman and Michael Keane have both proven me wrong as well this season, and appear integral in both an intellectual and practical capacity for the Toffees defensive and offensive play. I could go on of course, yet for all the gushing, the success has yet to be as consistent as the Don of Merseyside demands.
For every positive run for Everton, a negative run has followed; progress and regression, over and over again. These are the growing pains of a young, talented and developing outfit. The boss knows this and has shown equal parts patience and disappointment across the season as a whole; he is building something, and it cannot be constructed overnight. The great veterans the team cannot necessarily stop matches like Fulham, or either Newcastle United performances, but over time, they will become fewer and farther between. This pattern of play, inconsistent and sometimes tactless, is common across all sports, for almost all teams that are in the growing, ambitious phases regarding their league tables or playoff ambitions.
And so this is where Everton is currently. By the end of the campaign, it may not be this way, and those disappointments will be seen as early road bumps on the way to real change and progress. Yet regardless of our progress or lack-their-of moving forward, spending money on Max Aarons is an easily justifiable endeavor. Before Don Carlo entered the scene, it is uncertain whether a player of Aarons talent might choose the Royal Blue Merseyside over north London or elsewhere; with him as the boss, and the clubs progress, Everton are more interesting than they’ve likely been to players for sometime. For the young defender however, it likely wouldn’t hurt to be playing next to an old friend, and the Toffees have that for him as well as a proper club and coach .
Ben Godfrey: A Friend from the Past, and that’s a Trend
Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate have combined this season to do really remarkable things, across the entire backline of the Toffees defensive shapes. Indeed, the young men have been the bosses fixer uppers in many circumstances; playing across the formation with back 3’s, 4’s, or even 5’s in some cases, is a fantastic way to earn yourself admiration from coaches and supporters alike.
While Lucas Digne has faced suspension and injury at times, his long term signature is welcome for the Toffees, and he remains an important piece wherever he lines up on the pitch. His former Barca teammate, Yerry Mina, has also, quietly in some ways, had an immense campaign; his defensive effort is directly reflected in our wins, losses, and accompanying statistics. And as mentioned previously, both Keane and Coleman have played wonderfully; yet these last two names are getting older, and with the versatility of the younger defenders we already have, Aarons would fit perfectly as well.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin is still a wildcard as well, and if he can regain his past form, his ability to play a holding role, as well as a centre back, could win him a roster spot, playing time and a farewell to a few older names. Conversely, should he continue to face setbacks and issues, he could be one that we see moved on from the club to make space practically and financially for players who can play. In any event, getting Max Aarons should be on the clubs to do list, and while other positions will also be addressed, the eventual, and likely massive sale of Moise Kean, for whatever that becomes worth, will likely boost the teams ability to make splash signings.
Aarons could slot in next to former teammate Ben Godfrey, in a backline consisting, at times, of Digne, Holgate, Godfrey and Aarons; in circumstances where Digne plays a more advanced role, Godfrey can then swing to that left side, with Mina or Keane slotting in in front of the goalie. Reuniting Godfrey and Aarons would be the third pair of teammates to serve on Everton together currently, joining Richarlison and Doucoure, previously of Watford, and the formerly mentioned Digne, Mina and Andre Gomes of Barcelona. These bonds are positive to bring on to Merseyside, and further help to create a sense of unity and family amongst the players of the club; should Isco find his way to Goodison Park and Finch Farm this summer, or Hirving Lozano of Napoli, that list will increase accordingly.
If the Aarons-Godfrey reunion can work to as similar an effect as the previously reunions have, Everton will be even more difficult to challenge in the years to come; a backline of the future is no small statement, yet the talent that the Toffees would have, would be undeniable to all across England and Europe.