Everton suffered a setback in their pursuit of European qualification at the weekend, going down 2-1 to Aston Villa at Goodison Park.
Anwar El Ghazi’s 80th-minute winner meant the Blues failed to kick on from a big three points at Arsenal the previous week.
Reflecting on the defeat, The Athletic’s Toffees correspondent Patrick Boyland pointed out the impact of one absentee.
In their eight games without Abdoulaye Doucoure, Everton have picked up just one victory.
More midfield bodies needed at Goodison after 2020 transfer spree?
According to Boyland, the statistic demonstrates that ‘eyes should be on the midfield again over the summer’.
The Blues recruited three midfielders ahead of the 2020/21 season for a combined fee of £42.5million – Doucoure, Allan and James Rodriguez, but all three have spent at least some time on the sidelines this campaign through injury.
Boyland shared the stat and his verdict on Twitter, and here’s how Everton fans reacted.
Everton fans lament Doucoure absence and slam replacements
“8 games without Doucoure and poor results are no coincidence. He’s been vital this season. Without him we look very much like the side from last season.”
“Our best midfielder by a mile”
“If only we’d just bought a new midfield ey”
“I said it at the time him missing was a bigger blow than any other player missing, his energy cannot be replaced, we cannot play with gomes, james, sigurdsson and davies, any of these 2 in the same team is criminal, more legs needed in the summer.”
“Sigurdsson, Davies, Gomes, all need binning simply not good enough”
“Yes, legs and the ability to go past someone with the ball.”
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience