Six points out of an available thirty-six tells its own story - Everton desperately need help, on the pitch and possibly off it as well.
As far as the January transfer window goes, the Toffees have already signed a pair of young fullbacks in an attempt to shore up those two positions for the long term future. Vitaliy Mykolenko on the left looks to be a replacement for Lucas Digne whose fallout with manager Rafa Benitez has pretty much sealed his Merseyside fate. On the right, Nathan Patterson shows lots of promise and is a long overdue backup for aging captain Seamus Coleman.
Before the window opened, Benitez seemed to indicate that the Blues would be bringing in 2-3 players, so assuming that the club are only able to bring in one more player this month, the RBM crew got together to answer a pretty straightforward question - if Everton will only bring in one more new signing during this January transfer window, what position should it be?
Chime in in the comments below with your thoughts as well.
I would personally like to see us bring in a proper holding midfielder. Someone who can dictate the game, pick up the ball off the defenders and play progressive passes into our forward players. A cheaper version of Declan Rice would be perfect!
For me, it would be a young and versatile attacking option – someone who can play on either wing, up top or even in a number 10 role. Ideally also left-footed as our options are limited in that department as we saw the other day. Something akin to Richarlison… or Joshua King. A cheeky loan move for Anthony Martial might be shrewd if funds are tight.
This largely depend on which formation Benitez intends to play, but I’ll go with a 433 for purposes of answering this question. If so, I would bring in a holding CM, or classic no.6, which would anchor the centre of the park and allow others - Abdoulaye Doucoure in particular - to break forward in support of the attack.
So, if Everton were restricted to just one more signing for me it would have to be centre midfield. If everyone (including Rafa Benitez hopefully) is now thoroughly fed up with seeing our two-man centre midfield over-run then we need to bring someone in to make that 2 a 3 man midfield and match near enough the good points of Doucoure. In other words we need someone with the athleticism, power and ball-winning capability that Doucoure has to complement the sitting style of Allan. A 4-3-3 system.
Candidates will be in short supply but it is clear that Benitez does not trust Jean-Philippe Gbamin at all, Fabian Delph is injury prone and not the same profile, Tom Davies works hard but could not be called athletic as such and Andre Gomes is defensively lacking. Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria, a slightly more defensive minded player is in the last 6 months of his contract and would be affordable but may need strong persuasion to ignore interest from clubs that are bigger than Everton at the moment.
Brian L -
It has to be someone that can generate and carry the attack. I’m less concerned about a specific position and more about adding depth in the attack. If DCL or Richarlison, or both of them, are out we need more attacking prowess and we just don’t have it. Ideally this is also someone that can play off of both players when everyone is healthy too. If we had more of an attacking outlet over the last few months our run of form would not have been as bad.
For me, Everton still need a midfielder, and preferably one whom can create, like a Matheus Nunes or the rumored Philippe Coutinho. Denis Zakaria, on the other hand, would be useful in other ways and would provide the Toffees solid defensive support in front of their back line. The club still requires creativity in the build up, as well as greater defensive capabilities, and so either type of midfield player should be purchased during this winter window if at all possible.
It would be a toss-up between a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder - and I’d probably go with the latter. Everton have struggled creatively this season, with a heavy reliance on delivery from wide areas from the likes of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. If they could get someone who could play between the lines it could help go some way to filling the gap left by James Rodriguez and add some much-needed variety to Everton’s attack.
It would also bring some balance to the midfield alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, who often struggle as a twosome. A third body in there would really help.
I was recently perusing The Echo when I saw an interesting note about a certain player in the Catalonian capital... Wouldn’t it be something if Everton somehow convinced Philippe Coutinho to return to Liverpool, just in another color? Longshot be it may, it would give the Toffees some much-needed creativity in the middle of the pitch. Realistically, though, I’d love to see another CDM brought in to cover for Allan.
As much as I want to say striker, it seems like Rafa is pretty set on Rondon (get well soon, Dom!). I would have to say a midfielder is the most realistic option for a third (but hopefully not final) January transfer. I wouldn’t be completely against bringing in Coutinho, and the fact that he’s rumoured hopefully means that Everton are prioritizing the midfield this window, which would be a welcome addition as our current midfield depth is looking pretty bleak.
Like many others have noted time and again for the last couple of seasons, Everton simply get overrun when they line up in a two-man midfield. So my wish for January is a midfielder, of any kind really, as long as he can tackle and hold up the ball, has an eye for the pass and is relatively press-resistant. I know, it’s not too much to ask is it?