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Everton could ditch Mykolenko for Sergio Akieme

Everton’s tenure under Rafael Benitez is one that many fans will hope to swiftly forget, as he left the club in disarray having sold two of their most creative assets in James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne.

To replace the latter, the Spaniard opted for a little-known defender called Vitaliy Mykolenko, signing the Ukrainian in a £20m deal at the start of 2022.

Whilst struggling at first with the demands of Premier League football, the 23-year-old has since become a defensively sound option for Frank Lampard. However, since the start of the current campaign, his offensive deficiencies have hampered his team at times.

In contrast to the dynamic Nathan Patterson on the right, Mykolenko is often sluggish in possession and seldom pushes forward.

As such, this season he has no goals or assists, while also averaging just 0.3 dribbles and 0.7 accurate crosses per game (via Sofascore).

In an attempt to increase the attacking talents in an Everton squad which has scored just 11 times in 15 league games, it seems that Lampard is reportedly set to move for Sergio Akieme of UD Almeria.

The Spanish defender moved to Barcelona in 2019 when he was just 21, which hints that he boasts great technical prowess to be earmarked at such a young age.

During his time in Catalonia, Xavi Garcia Pimentia was full of praise for the youngster, who he dubbed an “excellent signing”.

Like Mykolenko, the 25-year-old is yet to score or set up a goal this term, but he would likely offer an energy from left-back which has not been seen at Everton since Digne departed.

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He ranks in the top 15% for both dribbles completed and total shots among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022, outlining his ability to push forward and offer an added threat.

Should he come in and offer the power needed to bolster the Toffees’ attacking threat, it could finally get Goodison Park rocking.

Who would you start if Everton sign Akieme?

Vitaliy Mykolenko

Vitaliy Mykolenko

Averaging the same number of crosses per game as Mykolenko, Akieme is successful in 63% of his dribbles to complement his solid defensive numbers. He has recorded 1.5 clearances and 1.7 tackles per game (via Sofascore) for a team sitting 14th in La Liga.

Although not an outstanding upgrade, the potential remains high with the Almeria gem, who clearly showed something to encourage Barcelona to sign him initially.

Perhaps he could realise this talent on Merseyside, providing a more attacking left-back option than the conservative Mykolenko.