Many expected more movement from Everton with it being Sam Allardyce‘s first transfer window in charge at Goodison Park. Cenk Tosun arrived from Besiktas for £27million to bolster their attacking options and Theo Walcott added some much needed pace to their ranks.
But late on transfer deadline day, Manchester City centre-back Eliaquim Mangala moved to Merseyside on loan for the rest of the season with Pepe Guardiola’s side covered in defence after signing Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao.
And not a moment too soon either. The Toffees kept five clean sheets in the 13 matches since Allardyce took over and went seven games without a defeat to kick start his reign.
But the bubble has burst over recent weeks. They’ve won just once in eight match, losing five and conceding 17 times in the process, compounded by the five they shipped at Arsenal on Saturday – Mangala’s debut. But don’t let that put you off.
With an ageing defence, Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka have a combined age of 68, now is the ideal time for Allardyce to bring in some new blood to bolster a backline which has been all at sea for much of the season.
Michael Keane, a £25million summer signing, was supposed to be the future of the Everton defence but he’s struggled to recapture his Burnley form. Mason Holgate has put in a number of encouraging performances at the heart of the defence but by trade he’s a right-back and he’s still learning and is prone to the odd error.
At the moment there’s no middle ground in the sense the players are either on their last legs or they’re inexperienced.
Mangala arrives as a middle man. He’s got Champions League experience and he’s a French international. The experience is there but at just 26 years old he’s still young for a centre-back.
In the graphic above we’ve compared Everton’s four central defenders. As you can see they’re all fairly consistent and all of their stats aren’t too dissimilar with only Keane dominating the aerials won per 90 category.
So how does Mangala compare to that?
For a fairer comparison we’ve taken a look at his stats last season at Valencia. Granted it’s not ideal because it’s a different league but he’s not played enough for City this season to draw any conclusions.
The former Porto defender comes out on top in every category except for the aerials won per 90 one, and this could be down to the style in Spain. After all, not many teams are lofting balls into the penalty area.
It’s not as simplistic as this but when looking at the stats you can see why Allardyce saw value in brining Mangala to Goodison Park.
He’s an upgrade on Williams and could strike up quite the partnership with Keane. It could be a masterstroke on the part of the ex-Crystal Palace manager who did similar with Mamadou Sakho last January.