One of the more recent stories that is gaining some traction is the potential loan move of Anthony Elanga to Everton. With Anthony Gordon and Salomon Rondon out of the picture, Ellis Simms returning from his loan move at Sunderland and Neal Maupay’s indifferent form, the need for more reinforcements up front is still priority number one at Goodison Park.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is yet to indicate where he wants the 20-year-old wide forward to play the rest of the season, but that decision is expected on deadline day with the Toffees one of a number of suitors English and European lining up for him.
Elanga was only 12 years old when his family moved from Sweden to Manchester. His father Joseph was a left-back who represented Cameroon during the 1998 World Cup finals in France. The family move led to him being added to the Manchester United academy shortly after his arrival. He progressed through the youth teams and had been coached by Ole Gunnar Solskjær. It was Solskjær who gave him his first senior team debut as a teenager. Solskjær commented on his protege:
“He’s got an X factor, some attributes, it’s not like a gift, but he’s got the acceleration, pace, speed, that’s a given for wingers and he’s got qualities I like.
He’s a goalscoring winger, he’s confident, he likes to beat men, right foot, left foot, he’s got a great attitude. His appetite and hunger to improve... when he’s been training with us, he’s not been fazed by it, he’s confident.”
Unfortunately for Elanga, as United’s results started to go sour under Solskjær there were fewer opportunities for the young forward. He made only 3 Premier League appearances and scored one goal. When Ralf Rangnick arrived, the playing opportunities for Elanga changed dramatically. He was in the squad 24 times, started 14 games, was used as a substitute 7 times and was an unused sub only 3 times. He scored 3 goals and had 2 assists.
When Rangnick was replaced by Erik Ten Haag the opportunities were reduced again. He has been in the squad 16 times, started 5 games, was used as a sub in 7 matches and was an unused sub on 4 occasions. Interestingly, when Elanga has been on the pitch for at least 45 minutes, United have won every game.
So why a move? For the player it is about being valued and getting time on the pitch. He is now 20 years old and needs to get time on the pitch at the highest level. Right now he is behind Jaden Sancho, Marcus Rashford and even the 18 year old Alejandro Garnacho.
The heat maps below show the change in Elanga’s play under Rangnick last year and Ten Haag this year.
Last year, Elanga was used both on the left, right and through the middle with the majority of his work on the right side. Also, notice that on both maps his work in the defensive end of the pitch is prominent.
According to FBRef.com, Elanga ranks highly in several defensive areas.
With Sean Dyche taking over at Everton there is no doubt that these ‘defensive’ attributes would be sought after by the new gaffer. If he is being brought in to ‘replace’ Gordon then this might make some sense. However, if he is being brought in to be an option up top then the financial implications of the move might make sense.
Transfer Market currently have Elanga valued at £25m and he has a contract that runs out in June 2026. This would be a short term loan addition with Everton hopefully holding the cards to make the move permanent.
Potential of Transfer
Chances of it happening: 60%
Do I want it to happen: 75%
Do we need it to happen: 100%
The dire situation that Everton find themselves in at the half way point of the season is not good reading. The continuing recovery from injury for Dominic Calvert-Lewin has put even more importance on a move for a striker. Manchester United have just signed Wout Weghorst which puts Elanga even further down the pecking order. There is no doubt that Erik Ten Haag has less confidence in Elanga and the lack of playing time this year is problematic for his development.
This could be a solid addition to the squad. However, Everton continue to struggle with the Financial Fair Play guidelines. If the money that we have is spent on someone like Conor Gallagher there would be limited funds available for a permanent striker. Dominic Calvert Lewin is struggling to stay fit and Neal Maupay has not shown that he can lead the line on his own. There needs to be greater depth in the forward line and the addition of a proven goal scorer at this level is needed. Does Anthony Elanga fit that bill? I don’t think so at this point in his career. As a loan with a possible option to buy, yes.