Under David Moyes Everton have always maintained a small first-team squad and spent their money on players they can put straight in to the first team. They very rarely sign young players unless they are for tiny transfer fees. They have predominantly purchased from the domestic market with an occasional higher price venture in to the overseas market. One thing has remained a prominent theme though, and that is that they will buy players they don’t need if the price is right. Sometimes it looks as though some of them have been signed because of the price rather than because of need or being Moyes’ preferred target. It’s only Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, possibly Kevin Mirallas, that the club went out and specifically targeted. They have been excellent opportunists, jumping on good value propositions. Whether led by Moyes or someone else, it would seem apparent that this will be the policy they will follow again in the summer.
Winston Reid – West Ham
Scout Report Reid has adapted seamlessly to the Premier League in his debut season. A tall, speedy and strong central defender, he has been West Ham’s best player this campaign. He has a World Cup under his belt, has improved rapidly over the last couple of seasons and at only 24 has plenty more potential to be unlocked. Not the most polished on the ball but he takes his defending seriously and does the job he is selected to do.
Where does he fit? Everton badly need to freshen up at centre back. Phil Jagielka is not playing up his previous levels, Sylvain Distin is 35 and Jonny Heitinga’s performances have gone off a cliff. What they need in particular is an infusion of athleticism. Reid is quicker than any of those three and is willing to put his body on the line. He would also add a bit of youth to the aging back line.
How much? Critically for Everton, his contract is due to expire in the summer so he would be available as a free agent. He would be a typical Everton signing.
Mathieu Flamini – AC Milan
Scout Report Remember him? Flamini has been in and out of the Milan team this season but still possesses all the qualities that made him such a prised free agent when Milan snaffled him from Arsenal. He is a gritty, hard working ‘water carrier’ of a midfielder who grinds away making things difficult for the opposition. He has a somewhat restricted range of passing but he does the dirty work that needs doing.
Where does he fit? Everton are currently fielding 35-year-old Phil Neville in the disruptor role and only otherwise have Darron Gibson who they’ve tried there but he doesn’t have the ideal skill set for the role. Flamini is an upgrade on both of the incumbents and at 29 has the type of experience that Everton prefer.
How much? Flamini will available for free in the summer when his contract expires. He presents the type of opportunistic move that Everton thrive on.
Dieumerci M’Bokani – Anderlecht
Scout Report M’Bokani has made a career of scoring goals in Belgium but might now be looking to test his skills overseas. He is an awkward opponent, tall, strong and languid. He is also a potent finisher, a skill that he has improved over the years. At 27 he is a polished player ready for a greater challenge than the Belgian league where he scores a goal a game.
Where does he fit? Nikica Jelavic has struggled with second season syndrome and although Victor Anichebe does what he does he isn’t a 15-20 goal man. Everton could really use another option upfront. If they’d had a regular goal scorer aside from Fellaini this year they might well have found themselves in the Champions League shake up.
How much? Buying from Belgium has become fashionable lately but it is still an affordable place to look. M’Bokani could be had for about £7m which is toward the top end of Everton’s budget but isn’t a lot for a striker.
Tom Ince – Blackpool
Scout Report Ince has emerged as one of the most desirable players outside the Premier League over the last 18 months. He is most dangerous when operating on the right hand side of a front three but he also has the capability to play wide in a 4-2-3-1. His lead suit is cutting in from the right and firing off shots with his powerful left foot. He clearly models his game on Arjen Robben and has a similar swagger and confidence in his own ability. Like his father, he doesn’t take a step back. He is fast and fluid, if a little raw, but he is only 21 with the basic materials to be a threat in the Premier League.
Where does he fit? Everton need pace in attack. Only Mirallas is what could be described as quick and they could do with another pacey outlet to shake things up when Plan A doesn’t work. Deploying Ince opposite Steven Pienaar would allow Mirallas to operate more centrally where he could use his pace to challenge the Premier League’s mostly pace-inhibited centre backs.
How much? Ince has run down his contract so that he will be free in the summer. It is thought that Liverpool are interested but Everton could offer him the first-team football that he surely needs.
Julio Cesar – QPR
Scout Report It’s only a few years ago that Cesar was considered the best in the world. Although he isn’t at that level anymore he is still one of the best keepers in the league. A wonderful shot stopper, he has kept teams out on his own on more than one occasion for QPR this season. Even at 33 he still has a good few years left in him.
Where does he fit? This season Tim Howard has been a liability. He hasn’t really been dropping clangers but he hasn’t been good either. Picture all the goals Everton have conceded where you see Howard diving late or not making a save that he might well have done. Cesar would be a huge upgrade behind a defence that allows shots on goal. Plug and play.
How much? If QPR go down then it’s near impossible to imagine Cesar not wanting to move on. Quite apart from his big wage which QPR should be looking to shell. With that in mind a bid of £2m would be on the mark.
You can read more by Max at the thefootballspace.com