Everton seem to create more problems than they solve where wingers are concerned.
Last summer they looked to put a stop to those issues when they made Yannick Bolasie the second most expensive signing in the club’s history, but a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained last December will rule him out for much of 2017.
Elsewhere in the wide-man department Kevin Mirallas recently signed a contract which will keep him at Goodison Park for the next three seasons, but the Belgian was only picked to start 23 of the 36 Premier League games he was available for last term.
Gerard Deulofeu was loaned to AC Milan in January and Aiden McGeady was loaned to Preston at the start of the 2016/17 season. Enner Valencia came in on loan from West Ham United but started just eight of the 35 games for which he was present, and remained on the bench for 11 of those.
The former Fulham man was signed by the Etihad club for £11million in 2015, with the possibility of an extra £6million being paid in add-ons.
He’s a quick, tricky dribbler who likes to cut inside from the right flank onto his stronger left foot where he’ll either look to get a shot on goal or play in a team-mate.
He can also work well from central areas should he find himself in the middle of the park, and his left footedness means he can play as a traditional left winger.
Roberts has been part of the Celtic side who’ve gone through an entire season unbeaten in domestic football. He looks primed to make the step up to the English Premier League thanks to his Scottish learning experience.
His goal contribution at Celtic has been impressive. In 33 Scottish Premiership appearances he’s scored nine and assisted 14. When broken down into time on the pitch rather than appearances, Roberts had a direct hand in a Celtic league goal every 82.6 minutes.
His Champions League experience will also stand him in good stead for the future. He struck in the home leg of the qualifying match against Lincoln Red Imps, before going on to net a much higher profile goal against his parent club Manchester City in the final group stage match.
“He scored a good goal. We know his quality,” said Pep Guardiola after the game. “He has good qualities as a winger, one on one, he works defensively. He has good potential.”
Despite these words of praise the most realistic option for the 20-year-old going into next season could be another loan move, but this time City should look to give him experience at an English Premier League club.
A transfer to Everton would be the ideal move for the player, and should he catch Koeman’s eye they could even consider testing City with a permanent deal rather than a loan.
One of Everton’s main recruitment policies under new director of football Steve Walsh is to sign the best young English talent. Players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman were brought to the club as part of this strategy, and Roberts definitely fits the bill.
While Lookman and Calvert-Lewin are in South Korea with an England Under-20 side which contains a strong Everton contingent, Roberts was kept behind by Celtic to take part in the Scottish Cup final and help them complete the season undefeated.
Whatever happens it has been a pleasure to play for this club! Thanks to the staff, players & fans for an unforgettable season. Hail Hail ?? pic.twitter.com/z0sP87bWU0
— Patrick Roberts (@patrick7roberts) May 30, 2017
“He’s a brilliant young player,” said Rodgers, who would prefer the player remained at Celtic next season.
“There is still a lot of education and training required for him. Having worked with big talents like the Sterlings and Coutinhos, he certainly has all of the qualities.
“It just really depends on how many might be in front of him and how many Manchester City might be looking to bring in. But he is a joy to work with and a great kid.”
Roberts has won all there is to win in Scotland and has been part of one of the most memorable seasons in Celtic history, so now might be the time to test himself further if he’s not yet in City’s first team plans.
With Guardiola’s side already signing a left footed player who can operate in wide areas in the shape of Bernardo Silva, and the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane also available in the wide areas, Roberts’ playing time could be limited.
Everton, with their unique place in the Premier League as a team on the cusp of the big six, could be the ideal challenge as both club and player look to take the next step towards becoming a real force in the league.