It’s almost a certainty that Idrissa Gueye will be departing Everton for Paris Saint Germain in the summer. The midfielder has openly said how he was upset at being denied his dream move. So it is only a matter of months until Everton will have to source a replacement. But who will that replacement be?
It all depends on the system that Everton choose to deploy. If they continue to play the unsuccessful 4-2-3-1 that has been implemented this season, they will need to look for a defensive midfielder with a lot of stamina, and good positional awareness. However, if they choose to field a 4-3-3 with two number 8’s and a holding midfielder, then they may need to look for a box-to-box player, one with a good passing range and the ability to drive with the ball. Alternatively, they could deploy Andre Gomes in that position, and pursue a midfielder that can play as a pivot, with a good passing range.
Everton’s first port of call should be right at home in their own academy. Baningime is the epitome of a modern defensive midfielder – drawing comparisons to both Sergio Busquets and N’Golo Kante. His elegant dribbling, long passing range and spatial awareness mixed with his aggressive tackling, high-speed pressing and clever positioning form a skillset that even Lothar Matthaus would’ve been proud of. He can also play as both a number 6 and a number 8 – making him a viable option for both possible formations.
Completely lost in a struggling Celta Vigo side, Stanislav Lobotka would be the ideal pivot for Everton. If deployed alongside a box-to-box midfielder, for example, Andre Gomes, he would almost certainly shine. The Slovakian isn’t usually one to provide goals or assists – he tends to come up with the ‘second assist’, the pass that allows another player to assist the goalscorer. His passing range is similar to that of Andrea Pirlo’s, and his ability to dictate the tempo of a game is outstanding. His 89% passing accuracy proves this. He also possesses the rare ability to be equally comfortable on either foot, which can be a huge asset in the midfield. At only 24, the midfielder would have plenty of time to improve on the weaker aspects of his game, such as tackling and positioning.
Although having just recently arrived at Bournemouth for £28 million, the Colombian has already made a name for himself in the Premier League. Drawing comparisons to none other than Idrissa Gueye, the defensive midfielder is essentially a carbon copy, except with one improvement – his passing ability. Lerma boasts an 84% passing accuracy which is exactly the same as Gueye’s, but when you look deeper you unearth the true statistic. 73% of Gueye’s successful passes are shorter than 12 yards, whereas only 48% of Lerma’s are shorter than 12 yards. This means that the Colombian has a much longer passing range, and has the ability to play intricate passes out from the back. One thing he would need to work on, however, is his discipline. Already at nine yellow cards this season, he is just one booking away from serving his second suspension of the season.
Doucouré is a very versatile footballer. He can be played anywhere in the midfield, and his positional sense helps him to do this greatly. He has eight goal contributions this season – eight more than Idrissa Gueye – so he clearly provides an attacking threat as well. His passing accuracy is slightly less than his Evertonian counterpart (82%) but this case is similar to Lerma’s: the majority of his passes are longer than 12 yards. The Frenchman is not afraid to take a risk, and this can become a liability at times, but it is very rare that his risks do not pay off.
Overall, Everton’s manager will heavily influence Gueye’s replacement. If Marco Silva manages to keep his job, then Everton will most likely stick with the 4-2-3-1 and opt for an out-and-out defensive midfielder. However, if they decide to bring in a new manager, then their system could be anyone’s guess. One thing is certain – Everton fans should put trust in director of football Marcel Brands to make the right decision.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images