Everton must not pursue their reported move for Leicester City defender Jannik Vestergaard.
This article is part of The Transfer Tavern’s The Gossip series, where we analyse players and managers based on praise and criticism from past and present.
Football Insider report that Everton director of football Kevin Thelwell is very much an admirer of Vestergaard.
He apparently tried to sign the Dane during his time at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and launched a fresh scouting mission during the recent international break.
Thelwell and his recruitment team believe he could be an asset to the club because of his ‘aerial dominance’ and experience in the Premier League, but there’s reason to question that assessment.
Former player underwhelmed
Last summer, amid links to Tottenham Hotspur, former PL midfielder Rob Lee admitted that he was unconvinced by Vestergaard and urged the Lilywhites to think twice about a move (via Football Fan Cast).
He questioned the consistency of the centre-back’s performances: “I’ve seen him play well, seen him play badly, so I wouldn’t go breaking the bank for him,” he said.
“I’d go and break the bank for Danny Ings, but for Vestergaard, no, not really. He’s not Virgil van Dijk, is he?”
Should Everton sign Vestergaard?
Strong criticism from journalists
In the end, it was Leicester City that snapped him up, but some journalists believe the move has proven to be a mistake.
Lowy also believes that the 6 foot 6 Vestergaard isn’t as dominant as he ought to be – he labelled him ‘about as imposing in the air as a macaroni penguin’. The numbers support this too, as the Denmark international ranks eighth for winning aerial duels in the Foxes squad, despite being by far their tallest player (Whoscored).
What’s more, Vestergaard may not be the best fit for Frank Lampard’s system at Goodison Park.
The manager has looked to be aggressive, playing the kind of high line Rodgers employs at Leicester, but BBC Sport writer Raj Chohan has observed that the Foxes look ‘so much’ more vulnerable when they ask Vestergaard to push up the pitch.
And The Athletic’s Rob Tanner has noted that the 29-year-old may simply be better suited to playing deeper.
Based on these verdicts, it looks like moving for Vestergaard could be a costly mistake for the Toffees, who already have a number of flops at centre-back with Jamie Carragher branding them a ‘Championship back four‘.
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