February 21, 2024


View: Dyche could add to Everton problems with signing of £42m player after transfer news

Sean Dyche could add to Everton problems with transfer of £42million flop Kalvin Phillips

After a difficult start to the season, Everton have headed into the international break on a high having won three of their last four matches in all competitions.

The Toffees have finally started to find the back of the net consistently now that Dominic Calvert-Lewin has returned to full fitness and some supporters and journalists are already looking towards the January transfer window to see how Sean Dyche can strengthen his side.

One name repeatedly linked with making the switch to Goodison Park is Kalvin Phillips as the former Leeds United man looks set to depart Manchester City in the new year having struggled to make a mark at the Etihad. The Toffees are reportedly interested in making a move should 777 Partners complete their takeover [iNews, 10 October].

But Dyche has already been vocal about how hard it has been to select his midfield in recent weeks, telling EvertonTV on Wednesday (11 October): “We’ve got a real battle in there for places.

“There’s the three (Onana, Gana and Abdoulaye Doucoure) who have played so much for us, but with Jimmy playing so well, there’s a real competitive element in there.”

While the Toffees’ boss insists that he’s enjoying the competition for places at Goodison this season, adding Phillips to his ranks may not be the best move for anyone involved in the potential switch, as opportunities will be far from guaranteed.

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The England international is an excellent midfielder, during his last full season at Elland Road he was one of the Whites’ better players defensively, placing in the 96th percentile of midfielders for blocks and the 90th for tackles per 90 minutes of action [Fbref].

But that was almost two years ago and currently, Phillips can’t get on the pitch following his £42million switch [Sky Sports 4 July 2022].

Gueye is impressing as much as the City midfielder did at Elland Road, falling slightly below Phillips in terms of blocks made per game, but completing more tackles a match as the former PSG man falls in the top four per cent of his positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues [Fbref].

Garner, Onana and Doucoure are all better going forward than the Manchester City man as well so there is little to suggest that he would walk into the Toffees’ midfield, especially given his lack of football over the last 18 months.

So often under the ownership of Farhad Moshir, Everton have signed big-name stars from top six clubs for large fees when they are not at their peak and while saying that about Phillips would be harsh, the Toffees would be gambling on him rediscovering his past form.

At his best, the 27-year-old would start at Goodison and if the Blues can strike a loan deal where they are only covering his wages, it could be worth gambling on the midfielder, but 777 should avoid spending too much money on Phillips as centre-midfield is arguably the best-stocked position in Dyche’s squad.

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