There may never be another Russian like Andrei Kanchelskis on Merseyside, but Everton are having a good go at finding one. Left winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov was initially likened to a young Kevin Sheedy, the man with a “wand for a left leg” who was part of Everton’s title successes in 1985 and 1987. Aside from the odd wonder goal however, he has yet to truly find a level of consistency in the Premier League.
Certainly it was expected that a move from the Russian Rosgosstrakh (Premier) League would be difficult for the young Russian international. But during pre-season one year on, Bilyaletdinov occasionally looked off-pace and out of his depth, as Everton crushed opponents such as Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar. In this instance, Moyes is looking for the perfect solution on the other side (the right), notorious for suffering in previous years.
In Saturday’s frustrating 1-0 defeat to Blackburn, Leon Osman looked like little boy lost against playground bullies such as Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen, meaning that Everton need a resolution to their width problem, and fast. So could Marat Izmailov, the man who gave Everton hell in the Europa League, be the answer to David Moyes’ selection headache? No doubt he is a talent with pace to burn and a dead eye for goal, and at 27 has a good few years ahead of him.
Of course it all sounds a little bit exciting, but then the age old question crops up – do Everton have enough for the man who was once in the sights of several European heavyweights? Well, the short answer should be… yes. This is because Izmailov has apparently fallen out with coach Paulo Sergio at Sporting Lisbon, and is alleged to be available at a reduced price of approximately £4m.
With talks of Newcastle bidding for striker Victor Anichebe, the prospects for such a bid from Everton could be boosted. Although only an arguable minority of fans believe that Anichebe’s future lies away from Goodison, Everton need firepower more than ever, and everyone has their price. In all likelihood, Anichebe will not be going anywhere just for the moment, but one thing is certain – Everton need width, pace, and accuracy, or they themselves are going nowhere very quickly.
Just pray that the dark days of the Walter Smith era do not creep back into the frame…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!