With just days remaining until January’s transfer deadline day, Everton should be looking to add a central midfielder before the window closes. The rumour mill has produced many potential options, but who should Everton go for?
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The absence of the injured Andre Gomes and Jean-Philipe Gbamin has led to Everton struggling in the centre of midfield, with a reliance placed upon the likes of Fabian Delph, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Tom Davies. Although impressive on occasion, these players struggle at times, particularly playing within Ancelotti’s preferred two-man central midfield system.
Playing with just two midfielders (against many teams with three in that position), the two in question have to be mobile, as well as just very able generally. Ideally, Everton should acquire a dynamic player with high amounts of progressive passes and dribbles.
The club have been linked with many players who could improve this area, such as Inter’s Matias Vecino, as well as Juventus’s Adrien Rabiot.
With Andre Gomes being out with a long term injury, Tom Davies seemingly not yet at the level required, and Gylfi Sigurdsson being too slow, the additions of either Rabiot or Vecino would make sense.
A regular starter for Inter and Uruguay, Vecino is a great passer and can progress play well. With Eriksen joining Inter, it frees up Vecino for a move. Although not the quickest, he travels with the ball well, and this (along with his passing ability) would be an improvement on the current available Everton midfielders.
Statistically, his passing is similar to that of Andre Gomes, with both players being better than Tom Davies in this area. Over the last year Vecino has averaged 36.69 passes per game, as well as 0.78 key passes. Davies averaged 27.4 passes and 0.2 key passes per game. Despite this, Adrien Rabiot averages more passes and key passes than all three (Gomes, Davies, Vecino).
The 24 year-old French midfielder has also been linked with a move to Everton from Juventus. Although he’s relatively young, Rabiot made 150 appearances for PSG, winning 18 major honours, including 5 league titles. It was Ancelotti who gave Rabiot his debut, and so this is presumably where the rumours have come from.
Despite his world-class potential, Rabiot has had problems off the pitch. A series of examples of ill discipline led to fallings out, and the player eventually leaving PSG last summer. Since joining Juventus, he’s made just 8 league starts, and received 3 yellow cards and a red card.
He may be a complete midfielder with undeniable talent, but his attitude (and fitness due to lack of games) is very concerning.
Gomes, Davies, Vecino, and Rabiot comparisons over the last year (averages per game):
WhoScored.com Rating (this season):
- Matias Vecino: 6.78
- Adrien Rabiot: 6.66
- Tom Davies: 6.49
- Andre Gomes: 6.40
- Adrien Rabiot: 40.00
- Andre Gomes: 38.95
- Matias Vecino: 36.69
- Tom Davies: 27.40
- Adrien Rabiot: 0.88
- Matias Vecino: 0.78
- Andre Gomes: 0.45
- Tom Davies: 0.20
- Andre Gomes: 6.40
- Tom Davies: 4.52
- Matias Vecino: 4.28
- Adrien Rabiot: 3.88
- Andre Gomes: 2.05
- Adrien Rabiot: 1.75
- Tom Davies: 1.12
- Matias Vecino: 0.75
Where would they play?
Is Vecino the answer?
Although both Vecino and Rabiot would improve Everton’s midfield in its current state, Rabiot is the more talented player. Having said this, his lack of fitness, off-pitch problems, and potential to grow, all indicate towards him being a long-term project.
Everton need a quick-fix to improve the midfield from now until the return of Gomes and Gbamin. Although Vecino is 28, he’s been playing regularly this season and so will be ready to go straight away. Furthermore, his qualities (particularly passing) will help to make up for the absence of the talented Gomes.
Because of his age, and the risk of spending fairly big on such a player (especially in January), a loan deal with an option to buy Vecino in the summer would probably be best for Everton.