With the rumours of Leighton Baines’ summer transfer to Sir Alex’s United side seemingly gathering pace, it was only a matter of time before a list of potential replacements would be touted as Everton’s next left back position.
Hot on the heels of earlier rumours surrounding Kieran Richardson, the latest name to have been linked with a move to Everton is Lyon’s 24 year old full back Aly Cissokho. The French born left back has previously been linked to a number of top European clubs, and most recently to Geordie Premier League side Newcastle, who reportedly attempted to sign the French international in last January’s transfer window.
According to reports from talksport, Alan Pardew retains an interest in the Frenchman as he looks to fill the void that may soon be created by contract rebel Danny Simpson.
Previously, Cissokho has also been linked with big money moves to Italian giants AC Milan and Premier League sides Arsenal and Liverpool. These moves did not materialise for a number of different reasons, but it is clear that Cissokho is a much sought after talent, one that Everton fans should not dismiss out of hand given the precarious circumstances currently surrounding Manchester United target Leighton Baines.
Cissokho has had a somewhat meteoric rise to footballing accliam, as only four years ago he had just completed his first full season in senior professional football in the third level of the French League, with FC Gueugnon (a club that went into liquidation in April 2011). He left France and moved to Portugal with first division side Vitória de Setúbal, and from there on to Portueguese giants Porto.
Eventually, he made a big money move to present club Lyon in a deal worth €15 million; an astoundingly rapid rise through the ranks given that prior to his move back to France with Lyon, Cissokho had made only 50 league appearances in his entire career.
Unlike most of the top left-backs in Europe, Aly Cissokho has a physical stature more akin to a central defender standing just under 6ft tall; an unusual characteristic in most of the top full-backs (i.e. Baines, Marcelo, Cole, Clichy etc).
His height gives him a useful advantage in defensive aerial battles, effectively acting as an extra centre back when defending opposition set-pieces. However, do not let his stature fool you as, much in the same vein as Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Cissokho has been blessed with an abundance of power and pace which allows him to regularly torment the opposition flank with vigorously explosive forward runs from deep.
Although his end delivery may not be up to the standard that Leighton Baines has maintained, overall Cissokho provides his teammates with decent service from wide areas and has ended the season with 4 assists to his name for Lyon – and he has youth on his side. Watch more of Aly Cissokho in this video.
I have stated previously that £12 million is a ludicrous offer for a player of Baines talent and standing, but should Kenwright be forced to let him go in the summer. then Cissokho looks to be a fine choice as a relatively low budget replacement.
At £6 million Cissokho would be a bargain in today’s inflated market, but it may be that a figure closer to 7 or 8 million pounds would be a more realistic valuation of a player in such high demand. For me, a good alternative, but not quite as good as Baines – yet.
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