Football Insider pundit Noel Whelan has been giving his thoughts on Everton’s reported January transfer plans.
The Lowdown: ‘Next van Dijk’ eyed
According to Football Insider, who were informed by an Everton source, Rafa Benitez wants the Toffees to sign the ‘next van Dijk’ in the New Year.
No specific names are mentioned in the report, but the Spaniard seemingly wants a top-class centre-back to lead his backline.
Should a centre-back be Everton's priority?
No, look elsewhere
The Latest: Whelan reacts
Whelan was asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on Benitez’s plans. This is what the 46-year-old had to say in reply, believing that the right centre-back option “can win you matches”:
“Everton are sorted in some areas.
“There’s have a real good defensive midfield player there in Allan. They also have the striker position sorted with Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rondon coming in.
“They got the wingers in Gray and Townsend as well so those areas are sorted. Yes, they did buy some new defenders under Ancelotti.
“But when you look at it, you think that one centre half could be the missing jigsaw piece.
“Look at Liverpool with Van Dijk, Man United with Maguire, City with Dias.
“A player like that can really make the difference. That leadership and quality as a centre half can win you matches.
“That is definitely the right area to improve if you are Everton.”
The Verdict: The right move?
Everton kept 12 clean sheets during the 2020/21 campaign but have just one from their opening five league games this season, so bringing in a marquee defensive addition could make a huge difference in the long run as Whelan has suggested.
That may not make them European challengers straight away, but it could be a solid base in the club’s aspirations to climb the table in years to come.
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