Every manager has ‘his’ players, the ones he likes and tries to bring whenever he changes clubs. Roberto Martinez came in and brought James McCarthy, Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz. Ronald Koeman had Cuco Martina. Marco Silva was a father figure to Richarlison. Carlo Ancelotti brought in James Rodriguez and Allan.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter is currently looking a likely favourite for the vacant position at Everton, and could offer a lot to the club that is floundering in midtable for the last few seasons, weighted down by aging unmotivated and overpaid veterans. Anyone who watched the Seagulls playing the last two seasons would not have failed to have been impressed by how organized a side they looked. Potter’s side refused to be cowed when playing top opposition and indeed can claim to have only lost those games when going toe-to-toe tactically despite having much inferior players to rely on.
Looking at the Brighton squad, there are certainly some very good players who - should Potter end up taking over at Goodison Park - could certainly fit right into the Everton side and offer an immediate upgrade to the dross we have occupying bench spots right now.
The Malian midfielder checks off all the boxes that highlight a Marcel Brands signing - indefatigable, talented and under 25. What’s more, he has already proven that he is everything that Everton have needed Jean-Philippe Gbamin to be, and even more.
Bissouma excelled in a central midfield role last season. His 3 successful tackles per 90 min would only be behind Allan’s 3.5, though Allan’s came from 6.9 attempted per 90 while Bissouma’s were only from 4 attempts per 90. The 24-year-old’s 1.8 interceptions per 90 would be behind only Tom Davies’ 2.1 per 90.
It’s not all defensive with Bissouma, and his 1.5 successful dribbles per 90 is only behind Andre Gomes’ 1.8 among Everton midfielders. Bissouma also loves to have a potshot at goal, as evidenced by the 1.2 shots per 90, ahead of Gomes’ 0.8, Doucoure’s 0.7 and Allan’s 0.3 per 90.
Whether the new manager chooses to play a 4-3-3 (with two 6s and an 8, or one 6 and two 8s), or a 4-4-2 (with two 6s) or even a 4-2-3-1, Bissouma could slot in anywhere in that midfield along with Allan and Doucoure and forming a three-headed midfield monster that not too many opposing sides would try to play through.
With two years left on his current deal and being in high demand currently, Bissouma could easily cost about £30-35 million. Here’s an excellent tactical analysis written by the fine folks at Total Football Analysis about his strengths and weaknesses.
A product of the vast Chelsea youth system, the 20-year-old is a versatile right-sided fullback who has been just as effective as a right wingback when Potter has chosen to go with a 3-4-3 formation. Everton’s lack of depth at right back has been a problem for a few seasons now, with Jonjoe Kenny quite clearly not the heir to club captain Seamus Coleman and the Blues not choosing to exercise the buyout option on Djibril Sidibe when he was with the club on loan.
Lamptey’s ceiling is still unknown - he is very young and currently out injured long term after requiring surgery on a hamstring issue in March this year. There is certainly lots of raw potential there, but the Blues require someone who is ready to start right now, not a player who could be Premier League starting calibre in a couple of years.
Diminutive in size, he still plays with a physical edge unlike Bernard who has proven to be easy to shove off the ball. Lamptey also has an excellent motor, operating from box-to-box for the full 90 minutes, something that few Everton players can manager currently.
The youngster is daring with the ball, attempting 2.9 dribbles per 90 min though he is still learning how to do that effectively with only 1.3 successful, less than half. Total Football Analysis have another excellent scouting report on Lamptey, and are not afraid to make a comparison with Adam Traore, whose pace and direct running are definitely a skillset Everton could use.
Neal Maupay/Leandro Trossard
The two players are being mentioned together despite being somewhat different styled players because Everton could be in the market next season for a cheap backup forward. Moise Kean will likely be sold to the highest bidder this summer, while Joshua King is not going to be returning to Everton with the expiry of his contract. Should Brands decide that Ellis Simms is still too young and raw to be the backup for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, then the Blues will be looking for a striker with Premier League experience that can play across the front line.
While neither of the two are inspiring players, they both share some traits that we see commonly in Potter’s players - gritty, motivated footballers with a strong work ethic that are willing to get into scrappy areas of the pitch to win 50-50s and get the ball on goal. This Maupay goal against Everton early in the 2020-21 season shows all the elements of that.
Maupay is a 24-year-old France Under-21 international who plays as striker while Trossard is a 26-year-old occasional Belgium international who primarily slots in at the left wing position but has played on the right as well as in the attacking midfielder role.
Both players can count themselves as unlucky this past season, with Maupay only managing 8 goals on 13.77 xG while Trossard is at 5 goals from 5.41 xG. Maupay’s 0.64 xG+xA/90 is exactly equal to Calvert-Lewin’s number for last season, just for perspective. Trossard’s 0.37 would put him in fifth at Everton.
Again, neither is about to shake the earth if they join Everton, but both offer a slightly differently skillset than what the Blues have - Maupay is strong and fights for the ball while Trossard is more of a James Rodriguez type of player.