As was expected after the miserable season that Everton just went through, the Blues have been linked with a number of players as manager Frank Lampard and Director of Football Kevin Thelwell look to rebuild this side while jettisoning some expensive and ineffective pieces of the bloated squad they have inherited.
Former Burnley defender James Tarkowski has been added to the roster on a free agent deal with the news expected to be announced as soon as his contract with the Clarets expires in the end of June. There has been plenty of speculation around who the Blues next signing will be and there have been a number of reports that Lampard has been eyeing Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks who has been deemed surplus to Antonio Conte’s requirements.
It’s not an understatement to say that the Everton midfield needs help. While endowed with the athletic Abdoulaye Doucoure and the wily Allan, it is not an engine room that is built to retain the ball. Andre Gomes has shown that he is not up to the pace of the Premier League and quite where Dele Alli fits into this side we can not be sure yet. After an energetic beginning to his career, Tom Davies’ development has stalled and veteran Fabian Delph will be leaving the club this summer.
An unrelated article in today’s inews seems to indicate that the two clubs are at a stalemate over the midfielder. Everton reportedly want Winks on a season-long loan, likely with an option to buy him outright after that when the financial shackles are loosened somewhat. Conte has indicated that he wants between 5-7 players, and the notoriously stubborn Daniel Levy wants to get Winks off the books to clear room for that with two years still left in his contract.
The links to Winks are interesting. The Blues certainly need a defensive midfielder to anchor the side, especially given with how porous and unsettled the backline has been. A player in the mold of Gareth Barry would be perfect, but they haven’t had someone like him in years. Both Idrissa Gueye and Allan show the tendency to drift away from the back and in all honesty, are best hunting the ball in the center circle and further upfield. Delph is a good stay-at-home midfielder but hasn’t been durable enough to endure a sustained run in the squad.
Winks at 26 is no spring chicken. There is no doubt that his career at Spurs hasn’t quite gone to plan, especially considering the widespread notion he ‘peaked’ a couple of seasons ago during Tottenham’s run to the Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino. His role with the Toffees is expected to be as a defensive midfielder, but he is nowhere near the top in the most important defensive metrics – except interceptions, where he is in the top ten.
He is considered to be good in possession and has better passing ability than just about anyone on the current Everton squad, but do not be expecting him to go on too many runs with the ball – Allan has a much better rate than Winks for last season. Winks’ numbers for long and short key passes are both positive and indeed likely what Lampard will be eyeing.
With Everton’s needs in central defense and in bolstering the midfield, Winks would certainly be a good addition to the squad, but only at the right price. That cannot be overemphasized. Unless Richarlison and / or Dominic Calvert-Lewin leave, the Blues will have to be frugal in the summer transfer window. If the aforementioned pair do leave, they will end up having to spend big money paying inflated prices to replace those two. So if Tottenham continue to stick to their guns asking for somewhere in the £ 20-25 million range for Winks, Thelwell will be well within his rights to walk away and justifiably so.