Soccer Football - Championship - Norwich City v Reading - Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain - May 1, 2021 Norwich City's Max Aarons celebrates after winning the Championship Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

By Ben Crawford

Welcome to the first edition of window watching.

This summer seems to be as important as ever given the Blues’ poor end to the season and without the lure of European Football it looks set to be a testing summer of negotiation for the club. Squad Improvement this summer is a necessity for Everton and as each and every club’s priority is clearing any deadwood, it is essential that Everton strike the right balance in terms of incomings and outgoings.   

Below is a short list of five potential solutions to the problems facing Everton’s recruitment team. Gretar Steinsson and Marcel Brands have a tough enough job scouring the world transfer markets so here is an attempt to narrow down the list for them.

This edition we focus on right-back. Arguably the most important and likely area the club will look to target this summer.

The Obvious Candidate

Name: Max Aarons

Club: Norwich City

Reported Fee: £20-35 Million

The one name that doesn’t seem to be going away is that of Norwich City full-back Max Aarons.

At one point this year it looked a very likely prospect that Everton would be making a move for the promising defender.

On paper this seems like the kind of Brands acquisition we would all be in favour of. His performances have also been consistent in a Norwich City side who have taken the Championship by storm this season.

On one hand, the Canaries’ promotion is not believed to be an impact on the player’s desire to move, but on the other it mean any modest fee Everton may have been hoping to pay will be considerably more difficult to negotiate.

Another potential stumbling block is that Aarons seems to have a plethora of potential suitors. European giant’s Bayern Munich are a team heavily linked with an interest in the player alongside English sides Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United. In all likelihood the player will have a long list of options at his disposal and it looks set to be an interesting summer for him and his club. 

Window Watching Verdict…

Our sources are telling us Everton may be priced out of a move and Aarons is no longer the clubs first choice target. I think it’s fair to assume for the last year or so Max Aarons will have been Everton’s top target to fill the void at right-back.

I fear that a lack of European football at Goodison Park coupled with the interest of more established sides means our chances of getting this one over the line this summer are fading. 

He’s Brazilian 

Name: Emerson Royal

Club: Real Betis/Barcelona

Reported Fee: £20-25 Million

A popular name on the lips of most Everton Hipsters is that of Emerson Royal. A young and athletic right-back, he has excelled in Spain’s top division this season whilst playing for Real Betis. A full Brazilian international albeit with one solitary cap he certainly looks an exciting prospect if you can work out who to pay the transfer fee to!

A seemingly messy agreement has been crafted between both Real Betis and parent club (or seemingly so) Barcelona over the player’s ownership and economic rights. Of course, this would be a line of negotiation for people more informed than myself for starters, but on the face of things as well as what I have seen of Emerson on the pitch, he seems a prime candidate for the model of player Brands certainly seems conformable with.

A young player with resale value and plenty of potential means that I can see why Everton fans would be excited about the prospect of him signing. 

Window Watching Verdict…

The young full-back looks exactly like what I would expect Everton and Marcel Brands to target in this summer’s window. A reasonable fee could be negotiated, but it is almost certain that Everton would seek the necessary assurances over any deal when part ownership and discrepancies over economic rights are present. 

The Brighton Prodigy

Name: Tariq Lamptey

Club: Brighton

Reported Fee: £20-50 Million

A key component of Graham Potter’s heavily praised Brighton side, Tariq Lamptey was arguably one of the Premier League’s standout players during the first few months of the season.

In the months following this the ex-Chelsea youngster has found his progress this season hampered by a succession of hamstring injuries. Essentially out of action since before Christmas, the 20-year old’s recent injury record concerns me.

His attacking quality is almost beyond doubt. His pace, dribbling and energy would certainly be a welcome addition to the Blues’ side and would offer a marked improvement on that area of the Everton squad.

Despite this, another concern of mine is what kind of fee would Brighton demand? They have no obligation to sell the player, and being just 20 and only into the early days of his Seagulls career, it’s unlikely he would push for a move too much, especially to a team outside the top four.

His physicality is also a concern. He is only really successful when starting in a back five as an attacking wing-back and at just 5”5 it is rumoured Carlo Ancelotti already has a preference for a taller player who can have an impact in both boxes.

If Ancelotti is to stick long-term to the 5-3-2 formation currently used then Lamptey could be the most suitable piece to the puzzle on the right-hand side, but it remains to be seen if a deal for him would be doable for Everton even in those circumstances. 

Window Watching Verdict…

Sources close to the club say he is a target closely being monitored by Brands in particular. Whether Ancelotti agrees to sanction a move for Lamptey remains to seen, but I personally would be very surprised if Everton could negotiate a fee with Brighton that they would consider worthwhile. 

The Red-Devils’ Forgotten Man

Name: Diogo Dalot

Club: Manchester United

Reported Fee: £13 Million

Diogo Dalot offers the potential for a cut-price solution to Everton’s right-back problems.

Perhaps an unpopular choice with many supporters due to his Manchester United connections, but he is a player who is unique in the sense he seems to fit the requirements of both Brands and Ancelotti. A young player with resale value who at 6”0 tall gives Carlo more of the presence in both boxes he craves, it seems the 22-year-old ticks all the boxes. 

It’s true that his departure would not disappoint many at Old Trafford. What is also true is that it seems his current loan at AC Milan will not end with the club pursuing any permanent deal, and these are factors that must be weighed up by the Everton transfer committee.

Personally, I can see the sense in the links. He is a player who fits what Ancelotti seems to desire and would command a comparatively modest fee to some of Everton’s other targets. I do remember seeing him during his early days at Manchester United and being quite impressed with his attacking prowess especially as he was often used a right-sided midfielder.

Having excelled at right-back and left-back too it could be that kind of versatility which makes the proposition of a move appealing to Everton. 

Window Watching Verdict…

Sources close to the club report he is one of the names on Everton’s list. Just how high on the list his name appears remains to be seen, but he seems a sensible option and at a reduced price could turn out to be a masterstroke if they can get the best out of him.

A name I personally consider most likely on this list due to his price and availability. United would be very keen to sell and the player himself would likely jump at the chance to stay in the Premier League. Watch this space!

The Bundesliga Star

Name: Ridle Baku

Club: Wolfsburg

Reported Fee: £25-35 Million

Wolfsburg’s 23-year-old right-back Ridle Baku is another popular name among Everton supporters.

A return of 6 goals and 8 assists suggests a very positive first season at the Volkswagen Arena for the German international and a host of top European clubs look set to do battle over his signature this summer.

Everton will be in a name that is right in the mix. Quite possibly the most exciting name on this list it is certain that his signing would whet the appetite of even the most negative “Everton Da’s”.

As a fully-fledged Germany international it is likely his services would not come cheap. Wolfsburg themselves have just qualified for next season’s Champions League so it remains questionable that Everton would be able to convince Baku to even consider L4 a possible destination at all given the options at his disposal.

Personally, I think he’s the most exciting name on the list but also the most difficult negotiation it has to be said. 

Window Watching Verdict…

I fear that this one could be a non-starter as exciting as the proposition would be.

He makes it onto the list because having a manager like Ancelotti gives any team a fighting chance of competing, just look at the transfer of James Rodriguez for example. So never say never, but file this under not very likely. 

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