Everton are facing a potential nightmare scenario in the near future, amid reports suggesting that Premier League rivals Manchester United are interested in Toffees number one Jordan Pickford as a possible replacement for David de Gea next summer.
According to the Telegraph, the England ‘keeper is a player in the frame should new United boss Erik ten Hag wish to axe the long-serving Spaniard at the end of the season, with the Red Devils contemplating whether to give the former Atletico Madrid man a contract extension.
That interest in the 28-year-old comes amid concerns over his current deal at Goodison Park, with the 28-year-old having just under two years remaining on his existing contract at the club, having originally arrived on Merseyside on a £30m deal from Sunderland back in 2017.
The £100k-per-week stopper has been the undisputed first-choice between the sticks for the club since then, despite facing criticism from both fans and pundits alike at times, with it set to be a real concern if he is to move on any time soon.
This speculation also comes at a time when the £25.2m-rated man is currently sidelined with injury – as too is Andy Lonergan – with manager Frank Lampard having been forced to bring in veteran Eldin Jakupovic on a short-term deal as a result, while also handing reserve goalkeeper Asmir Begovic the starting berth last time out.
It is far from an ideal situation having a handful of ageing stoppers as understudies to Pickford, but Lampard could potentially unleash a younger alternative if and when the Toffees do decide to ditch the 45-cap gem.
Promoting from within could well be the answer to that issue, with 22-year-old Billy Crellin likely chomping at the bit for a taste of first-team action, having been signed from Fleetwood Town late in the January window.
That move came amid long-standing interest in the highly-rated prospect from those at Goodison, with the top-flight outfit having reportedly seen an offer rejected for the then-teenager back in 2019.
That followed the Blackpool-born star’s involvement in the World Cup triumph for England’s U17 side two years earlier, featuring in a group stage victory over Iraq as part of that glorious route to the showpiece.
The boyhood Everton fan was handed game time by Lampard during pre-season, with the next step now to be handed the trust to feature in a competitive game, having made it onto the bench in the League Cup win over his former club last month.
Should Pickford depart any time soon, it may be time for young Crellin to prove his worth at senior level.