Transfers

Identifying the wide forward Everton should opt to sign this summer

 • by Sam McGuire
Share:facebooktwitteremail
news now

Everton may not have been as busy as last summer but this transfer window has the potential to be the club’s best since the inception of the Premier League

André Gomes has arrived on a permanent deal for what many deem to be a bargain fee. Lucas Digne has remained on Merseyside and the club have managed to keep hold of supposed Barcelona transfer target Richarlison.

However, the Toffees aren’t just looking to consolidate. They’re looking to improve. Moise Kean is a reported transfer target and it would be a huge coup if Marco Silva was able to bring him to Goodison Park. 

They’re also looking to bring in another wide player with a host of names recently linked. 

Memphis Depay is a long-term target. Yacine Brahimi is also a possibility. Ajax’s David Neres, Barcelona’s Malcom and Lille’s in-demand forward Nicolas Pépé are also on the Merseyside club’s radar.

These rumoured targets vary from potential bargains to potential club-record signings. But which of those linked would be the best fit for the Toffees? 

We’ve used the Football Whispers lab to help come up with a definitive answer.

First off, we’re taking a look at the two more popular choices. Pépé was in the form of his life during the 2018/19 season as Lille stunned the rest of Ligue 1 to finish as the best of the rest behind Paris Saint-Germain. 

The Ivorian finished the season with 22 goals, at a rate of 0.59 per 90, and now tops the wishlist of a number of Europe’s elite. Neighbours Liverpool have been linked but The Telegraph has revealed the Toffees are keen on the £60million rated forward.

His return for Lille is even more impressive when it’s considered he’s a wide forward. Cutting in from the right, Pépé was near impossible to stop. He completed 2.84 dribbles per 90 and averaged over five touches in the box despite playing for a side who primarily looked to counter.

In all three of the metrics, Pépé betters Depay. However, both are versatile and are able to play anywhere across the front line. Whereas the Lille man is more of a scorer, Depay is a creative force as well as a goal threat. Both have pros and both have cons. One thing is for sure, though, both improve the Everton team. But both come at a cost.

If Everton are to land Kean then finances for another attacker might be limited and £60million might be too much this time around. However, if money is no object, these two are who the Toffees should be throwing everything at. They’re game-changers.

Neres, meanwhile, scores, creates, is reliable yet unpredictable, and also has great versatility. 

He’s struck 19 goals in Holland and all of them have come inside the area. He averages an incredible amount of touches in the box (7.79) and, to put it bluntly, just makes things happen.

The only real question mark hanging over his head is whether he’d be able to replicate his Eredivisie form in the Premier League.

Yes, Neres impressed for Ajax in the Champions League but those are, when broken down, isolated games. He’d be signed for his consistency and reliability.

It wouldn’t be that much of a gamble for a Premier League side to spend £40million. Everton have an easy in with him too, with his agent being part of the group who represents Richarlison. 

Neres is more of a project than Depay or Pépé but he’s perhaps got the higher ceiling if he develops as expected. The Copa America winner is a potential world-class wide forward.

Malcom is something on an unknown. Tipped for great things after bursting onto the scene with Bordeaux, he plumped for Barcelona instead of Roma and effectively sat out the 2018/19 season.

His career has stalled and he needs a move to get it back on track. Goodison Park could be the perfect environment for him.

Even though his playing time at the Camp Nou was limited, he still posted decent numbers as shown in the graphic above. He bettered his expected assist return of 0.25 per 90, he was playing close to 1.5 open-play key passes and he was completing 1.63 dribbles.

He’s more a scorer of great goals as opposed to a great goalscorer. But he is a creative menace and someone who could add an edge to the Everton attack. In fact, the dynamic between Malcom and Richarlison could be perfect with the latter getting into the area and the former pulling the strings.

Brahimi is the least exciting name on the list but is a free agent, and that makes him an intriguing option. He could do a job for the Toffees for a couple of seasons and while short-term signings aren’t often the way to go, it could benefit them in this instance. 

Over the past three seasons, Brahimi has been a reliable goal threat in the Primeira Liga. He’s averaged 0.35 goals per 90 from an expected goals return of 0.22. Yes, he’s overperformed but given he’s done so over a prolonged period it really isn’t anything to be worried about.

It simply shows he consistently exceeds his goal return which means a club can almost rely on this being the case. He chips in with assists, too, averaging 0.17 per 90, exactly on par with his expected assists average, but he isn’t what you’d call a creative hub – the opposite of Malcom. 

However, the league he’s been performing in should be taken into account. At 29, it’s a big ask for him to seamlessly transition and adapt to the rigours of the Premier League. His signing would be a risky one but if he delivered it would look inspired.

Plenty of options for the Toffees but the best bet could well be Malcom. Everton have an existing relationship with Barcelona and could use this as leverage to land themselves yet another bargain deal.

related
content