As has been reported by multiple news agencies over the last few days, Everton are interested in Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga. However, new updates as of today seem to indicate that the Toffees are going to face a stiff challenge in trying to obtain the player with a number of other clubs also keenly watching proceedings.
The Blues had initially tried to obtain the 21-year-old on loan during the January transfer window, but Red Devils manager Erik Ten Hag shot that down. Now it appears the Dutchman has had a change of heart and is willing to let the Swedish international leave the club.
Reports seem to indicate that United are looking for something around £15 million for the player, but are willing to take the amount in instalments much like they did with Everton’s purchase of James Garner last summer. With the Blues financial situation tenuous at best, that might be the best way for them to add to the forward ranks of Sean Dyche’s squad.
Unfortunately for the Blues though, there might be other clubs also interested in Elanga with bigger transfer coffers who could swoop in for the player, starting with Nottingham Forest. The former European Cup winners beat the Toffees to Morgan Gibbs-White and have often been mentioned in the same breath with a number of transfer targets over the last couple of transfer windows.
The Athletic goes on to say that there is another unnamed Premier League side also interested in the talented winger, as well as a number of German sides. Should United choose to go with the highest bidder or even cash upfront then this will become yet another target snatched away off Everton’s shortlist. However, the two clubs do have a good working relationship over the years and that could yet make a difference in this case.
Elanga struggled to get consistent playing time for the Red Devils last season, featuring in 16 Premier League games but only racking up 426 minutes in that time with one assist. The right-footed player has primarily played on the left in previous years much like Dwight McNeil, but in 55 games for the United first team where he scored four goals and picked up four assists, he has mostly played as right winger, but also used as left winger and even been thrown on as a centre forward often.
A favourite of United’s former manager Ralf Rangnick, he has fallen out of favour with Ten Hag despite his obvious talent and workrate. Elanga’s defensive ability is under-rated with his pace and pressing some of the hallmarks of his game. With 12 international caps and 3 goals already to his name, he has continued to grow and if signed by Everton would give the Blues an outlet that could get behind the opposing backline.
While his dribbling and finishing still need some work, but he has youth on his side and his acceleration with the ball allows him to get away from challenges, though equally he ends up going down cul-de-sacs or into more pressure as well. It wouldn’t quite work for the Blues to use him as a sole striker however as his first touch when receiving the ball especially with his back to goal is not the best. Where he does excel though is in using his body to move his marker away from the space he wants to run into, and then a quick change of direction to get away from his man.