Everton boss David Moyes has set his sights on Schalke O4’s creative midfielder Lewis Holtby as the player to bring hope to supporters for the season to come.
Schalke have put a £6m price tag on Holtby’s head but such are the restrictions on the Goodison transfer fund, Moyes is unlikely to go above half that amount.
Holtby was born in Germany and has represented the country at youth and full international level, captaining the U-21s many times. However, his father was a Liverpool-born soldier stationed in Germany, and raised Lewis as Evertonian.
Holtby has spoken more than once of his desire to play for Everton. Despite interest from across Europe, if Everton were to bid for the German ace, it is likely Goodison would be his favoured destination.
Holtby has been loaned out many times during his Bundesliga career despite excelling in every team he has played for. Comparisons are frequent in Germany between Holtby and ex-star of the German U-21 team, Mezut Ozil.
Having only been given his first full cap by Germany in March of this year, until that point, Holtby playing for England was a very real possibility. A complete lack of interest from Fabio Capello put an end to this.
In a crucial game against Hoffenheim last season, Holtby set up three goals and scored one himself. A meeting was arranged between him and Germany coach Joachim Low for the next week. Capello however, was watching Emile Heskey instead.
Despite sensational performances for Mainz last season which helped the team finish fifth and qualify for the Europa League – an astonishing achievement considering the club was promoted only two years previously – Holtby is not guaranteed a starting place in the Schalke line-up.
As an attacking left-midfielder (somewhere between Ozil and Adam Johnson) Holtby could expect to be given a chance in the Toffees first team as the left side in front of Leighton Baines still remains a problem.
The only issue to be resolved is whether Everton can find the funds to afford him. With £4m from the sales of Steven Pienaar and James Vaughan, presuming it hasn’t disappeared into the club’s massive debt, there is a lot of potential to do business there.
If not, Moyes may have to use his persuasive skills to convince Schalke to again loan a player they have loaned twice since signing him in 2010.