Everton have struggled to replace Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye since his £30m move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, with the likes of £21m signing Allan struggling to live up to expectations at Goodison Park after becoming one of the top players in Italy with Napoli.
Furthermore, Ross Barkley’s departure to Chelsea in 2018 left a creative hole at the heart of the team which they have attempted to fill this January with the loan signing of Donny Van de Beek and permanent transfer of Dele Alli from Tottenham, but both players are still yet to hit the ground running.
One player who could have solved Everton’s midfield issues was Youri Tielemans, who was expected to join the Toffees in the summer of 2017 after an excellent season in his native Belgium which led to him being described as an “outrageous talent“. Instead, he opted to join Monaco for £23m, before making the switch to Leicester City in 2019 for £40m.
Should Everton have invested just a couple million more into Tielemans five years ago, they would now have a talent on their hands worth just under £50m who has scored 24 Premier League goals and created 22 more for his current club, including a screamer in last year’s FA Cup final to win the trophy for Leicester.
The Belgian has completed 83% of his passes in the English top flight this season, compared to Allan’s 80%, also bettering the Brazilian in terms of accurate crosses (0.5 to 0.1), frequency of being dribbled past (1.6 to 2.8) and key passes per game (1.5 to 0.6).
In comparison to midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions, Tielemans ranks in the top 5% for shot-creating actions per 90 (3.50) and for shots taken per 90 (1.96), and the top 6% for successful pressure percentage per 90 (35.4%).
Only Abdoulaye Doucoure and Tom Davies have scored this season in the Premier League for the Toffees from central midfield, with two and one respectively, while Tielemans has six top-flight goals already this season.
The former Anderlecht talent would not only have brought goal contributions from deep to Everton, he would have offered talent, flair and excellent ability in possession. With the club dangling just above the relegation zone, there seems little doubt that they would be in a much better place right now if they built their team around Tielemans five years ago instead of missing out on him to Monaco.