Everton have been linked with Toulouse midfielder Ibrahim Sangare for a while now, and blues are especially in need of a player like him following another long-term injury to Jean-Philippe Gbamin. But what would Sangare bring to Ancelotti’s Everton?
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Everton’s midfield has looked particularly poor following last summer’s departure of Idrissa Gueye, and this has been further outlined after injuries to Gbamin (Gueye’s replacement). Because of this, it’s likely that Everton will look to acquire at least one central-midfielder in this summer’s transfer window. Ibrahim Sangare could be the man they look to, and with good reason.
Currently playing for Toulouse in Ligue 1, Sangare is a powerful, 6ft 3 centre-midfielder, and a very capable dribbler and tackler. This was proven in the 2017/18 season for Toulouse, where he made 3.6 tackles per game (the fourth highest in the league) as well as completing 81% of his dribbles.
Since the departure of Gueye, Everton have needed a dynamic, ball-winning, central-midfielder, and Sangare provides just that through his tackling, interceptions, and mobility. With Gbamin suffering another long-term injury, it’s important that Everton acquire a player to fill this void. Schneiderlin, although defensively disciplined, isn’t mobile enough, whilst Delph is yet to prove to be good enough to start regularly, whilst also seemingly being injury prone. Because of his physical attributes and ball-winning capabilities, Sangare would provide solid protection for the Everton defence.
As well as being impressive defensively, the Ivorian can progress the ball well. In the 2017/18 season, only 2 Toulouse players created more chances than Sangare. This is impressive given that Sangare played as a holding midfielder in most appearances, and especially impressive as he played just 20 games. Such creativity comes from his passing and dribbling abilities, combined with his size and strength. Although his decision making could be improved, his passing ability is a big asset to his game. This skillset would help Everton offensively, ensuring the ball is moved forward at pace through his progressive passing and dribbling. Too often Everton midfielders such as Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson prove to be incapable of doing this.
Data from WhoScored.com indicates that Sangare is the most progressive passer out of all midfielders who play regularly in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Although his accuracy is lower, this can explained by the frequency at which he’s taking risks to move the ball forward. Furthermore, at just 22, he’s still learning and could improve on his decision-making of when to play a more risky pass.
Because of his age, he has time on his side and could become a special player. He’d also have sell-on value if he was to improve within the next few years. This, combined with the reported current value of £20m-£25m make him a financially attractive option for a club like Everton.
His mobility would allow him to play in Ancelotti’s favoured two-man central midfield, alongside someone like Andre Gomes, with Sangare being the more defensive of the two. He’d add the tackles and interceptions that Everton have missed since Gueye left, whilst also helping to start attacks and create chances through his progressive dribbles and frequent progressive passes.
Everton certainly need to sign at least one central-midfielder, and the acquisition of Sangare would make a lot of sense.