Everton supporters have been somewhat downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their team fail to beat a make-shift Liverpool side in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce’s men went into their meeting with their bitter rivals off the back of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in their previous league outing, whom Liverpool then thumped 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final a few days later. And while Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made numerous changes to his side at Goodison Park on Saturday, the Toffees still weren’t able to end a near eight-year wait for victory over their neighbours, as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Consequently, there have been many frustrated Evertonians in the Tavern this week, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their team can get back to winning ways in the league when they travel to relegation-threatened Swansea City this weekend.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Toffees fans to discuss, not least recent reports linking their club with a move for Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand this summer.
And while there’s little doubting that the 28-year-old would be a useful addition at Goodison Park, the Everton hierarchy should forget about a move for the England international, and instead focus their efforts on luring his £13.5 million-rated Saints teammate Mario Lemina (as per Transfermarkt) to Merseyside.
Ultimately, the 24-year-old has been a rare shining light in an otherwise desperately disappointing season for the South Coast outfit this term, with the midfielder very much proving his Premier League credentials following a summer move from Juventus.
The Gabon international has appeared in 23 of Southampton’s Premier League games this term and seems to have propelled to the top of the midfield ranks, especially with Oriol Romeu struggling for form for much of the campaign.
Significantly though, Lemina brings industry but also composure to the Saints midfield, which appears to be exactly what has been lacking at Everton throughout the current campaign.
Idrissa Gueye is without doubt the best central midfielder at Goodison Park, but his ideal midfield partner is very much unclear, what with Morgan Schneiderlin, Tom Davies, and Wayne Rooney all playing alongside the Senegal international in recent times, but none nailing down the position.
Yet Lemina has arguably performed better than the trio in a significantly inferior Southampton team for much of the season to underline his qualities, and perhaps suggest that he could be the perfect partner for Gueye in the midfield two in front of the back four – between the two of them, they’d have everything needed to form a formidable partnership.
Yes, Everton will need to start planning for life after Leighton Baines at left back, what with the Englishman 33 and having just a year left on his contract, but it’s just as important that they sort out the central midfield area over the summer if they are to enjoy a better season next time round.
As such, the Toffees hierarchy should forget about a move for Bertrand, and instead target Saints teammate Lemina this summer.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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