Noel Whelan believes that reported Everton transfer target Marvelous Nakamba could help Rafael Benitez add more ‘energy and life’ to his midfield.
The former Leeds striker discussed the potential transfer with Football Insider.
The Telegraph reported last week that Aston Villa’s Nakamba was a target for the Toffees. In order to sign him, Everton would apparently have to at the very least match the £11m fee Villa shelled out for the Zimabwean in 2019.
Nakamba played all 90 minutes for Dean Smith’s side on Saturday as they opened the campaign with a 3-2 defeat away to newly-promoted Watford. He won seven of his 16 ground duels, making two tackles and completing three dribbles (via SofaScore).
The signs are that Benitez wants to add another midfielder to his ranks in the remaining weeks of the window. A separate report last week suggested that preliminary talks had been held with Newcastle United over Sean Longstaff.
Benitez lined up with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the middle of the park for his first competitive fixture against Southampton on Saturday, while Fabian Delph and Tom Davies were among the substitutes.
Allan and Doucoure only arrived on Merseyside last summer but Whelan suspects that Benitez wants to put his own ‘stamp’ on the side.
So far in this transfer window, Everton have signed two wingers in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend, along with a backup goalkeeper in Asmir Begovic.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Everton bought a couple of midfield players last season, very good ones at that, who bring energy.
“Maybe Rafa Benitez has seen something in the side that he feels they need to be successful and progress.”
He added: “We know every time a new manager comes in he always wants to bring in his own players. That’s his stamp on the team. This could be one player he’s looked at before and feels could bring some energy and life to that midfield.”
Everton’s midfield looks to just fine as it is, for Allan and Doucoure complement each other quite well. The former is the principal destructive presence, while the latter brings the box-to-box dynamism.
Nakamba would be a somewhat uninspiring addition. He was afforded only nine Premier League starts last season, with Smith preferring Douglas Luiz and John McGinn in the Villa engine room, while his 6.52 seasonal WhoScored rating was far lower than both Allan (6.77) and Doucoure (6.78).
Ultimately, that suggests the Zimbabwe international wouldn’t discernibly strengthen Everton’s existing midfield options, so perhaps Benitez should seek to put his own “stamp” on the team in other ways.
In other news, another Everton midfield target has emerged.
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