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Everton: Greg O’Keeffe discusses January transfer prospects

Everton: Greg O’Keeffe discusses January transfer prospects -Everton News

Offloading James Rodriguez could be ‘integral to Everton’s ability to invest in future windows’, The Athletic‘s Greg O’Keeffe has said.

The lowdown

The 30-year-old left to join Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan for an undisclosed fee last month, just one year on from his arrival on Merseyside.

He was earning weekly wages of ‘£200,000-plus’ at Goodison Park (equating to around £10.4m per year) but had been effectively frozen out of the first team picture by new manager Rafael Benitez.

Everton were ‘very much constrained’ by Financial Fair Play rules during the summer. They only paid a transfer fee for one player (Demarai Gray) and even that was a mere £1.8m; four other players arrived on free transfers (via Transfermarkt).

The latest

O’Keeffe was asked in a supporter mailbag for The Athletic how likely it is that Everton would have ‘any scope to move in the transfer market come January’.

He acknowledged that “this is probably one of the main questions on every Evertonian’s mind” ahead of the mid-season window and feels that reinforcements are required at right-back and in the middle of the park, also noting that Rafael Benitez “clearly wanted more options out wide”.

O’Keeffe added that it is “unlikely” that “all those issues will be resolved in January” and that there is still “significant pruning required”, but he stated that Rodriguez’s exit gives Everton the benefit of “wriggle room” if they are to strengthen their squad in the winter transfer window.

The verdict

If Everton can do some business come January, what should their priority be? Probably getting another right-back, as that’s the most obvious hole in the squad.

When Seamus Coleman is unavailable, Everton are left having to shift a centre-back out there because Jonjoe Kenny isn’t a trustworthy deputy. Ben Godfrey, who is excellent in the heart of the defence, simply looks uncomfortable in the role, as illustrated by his tough evening at the office in the defeat at Villa Park last month.

If indeed Rodriguez’s departure does free up funds to add players in January, right-back should be the priority position for Benitez.

In other news, many Everton fans gushed over this Rafa Benitez development

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Article title: Everton: Greg O’Keeffe discusses January transfer prospects

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