Reports by Il Napoli Online over the weekend claimed Carlo Ancelotti has a strong interest in signing Alex Meret this summer, yet the SSC Napoli goalkeeper will not solve his Robin Olsen problem at Everton.
Ancelotti had expected to hold talks with AS Roma over turning Olsen’s loan permanent at the end of the season, but those plans may now be on hold.
The Daily Mail have claimed that Olsen wishes to leave Goodison Park once his temporary deal expires after a break-in at his home allegedly saw burglars threaten his family as they stole jewellery and a watch.
Olsen’s wife and children were traumatised by the ordeal and had considered returning to Sweden, before Everton found them alternative accommodation while upgraded security is installed at their Greater Manchester home.
Ancelotti had shared earlier in the month that he still believed Olsen wished to remain on Merseyside beyond his initial season-long loan despite the break-in, although that may no longer be the case.
“No, I think he’s happy to stay,” the Italian said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo. “In this moment he has to talk with his family and manage that, but I think he is happy to stay. He wants to stay, and we want him for the next season.”
But Ancelotti may be lining up a potential replacement for the 31-year-old in Meret, who is thought to be considering his future at Napoli and may request a transfer in the summer.
Meret has only opened 12 of the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium natives’ 27 Serie A fixtures this season, in which he’s kept four clean sheets, conceded 17 goals and proving unable to permanently dislodge David Ospina between the sticks.
It was reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football-Italia, last March that Meret had rejected a new contract with Napoli as he wanted assurances he would be the club’s first choice, and remains on the same £36,000-per-week deal that runs until 2023.
But Ancelotti looking to test Meret’s commitment to Napoli and the Italian outfit’s plans for the 24-year-old will be unlikely to see the Everton boss solve the problem that Olsen leaving would cause.
Ancelotti lauds Olsen for the impact that his presence at Goodison Park has had on Jordan Pickford, believing the England international has taken his game to another level due to the competition that the Roma loanee offers.
“I think he is doing well because I rotated him,” Ancelotti said of Pickford’s performances against Liverpool, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. “I took him out from a little bit of pressure. He is doing well now.
“Robin Olsen is injured but when he comes back, he can play some games to keep Jordan fresh and be like he is in this moment now.”
Olsen is not yet 100% fit but returned to training from an oblique abdominal muscle injury at the end of last week, and may soon continue showing why he is a better long-term rival for Pickford than Meret would be.
Over their respective performances in the Serie A and Premier League this season, Meret boasts a worse post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed of the trio at negative 1.1 to Pickford’s minus-0.8 and Olsen’s minus-0.3, per FBref. Showing that he concedes more often from shots where the goalkeeper is considered more likely to make a save.
The £18m-rated Italian also claims a worse pass completion percentage than Olsen at 44.9% to the Sweden internationals’ 49.3%, despite only 17.9% of his passes travelling 40 or more yards while Olsen launches 51.4% of his kicks and Pickford 54.1%.
So, if Olsen is to leave, Ancelotti would be better served to keep looking for the Roma loanee’s replacement than sign a downgrade in Meret.
AND in other news, Everton are monitoring a £17m ace dubbed the next Erling Haaland…