If Everton don’t qualify for Europe next season, this summer could have a very different feel to it.
Their spending power will be influenced and it may also dictate Carlo Ancelotti’s future in Merseyside. The Italian has been keen to get the Toffees back to the continental stage but, with Real Madrid and Barcelona courting his services, there could be a changing of the guard.
One area where Ancelotti has strengthened significantly since he walked into Goodison Park is the midfield. They’ve gone from a lightweight pairing of Andre Gomes and Tom Davies to one full of physical qualities.
Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure have been two of Everton’s landmark additions with the 61-year-old at the helm but the Toffees have struggled when one of those has been injured.
Doucoure recently missed a period of seven matches with a fractured foot and Gomes hardly set the world alight in his absence. The Portuguese was feeble in defensive battles and won just two tackles before being dragged off against Arsenal.
In matches against Liverpool and Chelsea in February and March, Gomes won only three of the 26 duels that he contested. He then proceeded to lose seven of nine duels in the defeat to Aston Villa earlier this month.
With that in mind, Everton could do with another body in the middle of the park.
With Fulham relegated from the Premier League, they shouldn’t look too much further than Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. The Mirror reported a few weeks ago that the Toffees were considering a move for the Cameroon international with a fee of £25m potentially being on the line.
In bringing him to Merseyside, he’d not only offer more physicality than Gomes, but he’d also offer immense ball carrying skills.
Speaking this season, Zambo Anguissa’s teammate Joachim Andersen said: “He’s a top player. He’s a machine in the midfield. He’s winning so many balls and driving forward with it.”
Indeed, only Adama Traore (150) and Allan Saint-Maximin (96) have completed more dribbles in the entire top flight this season than the Fulham powerhouse (95).
He’d offer more dynamism on the ball than Gomes, and his defensive stats are also considerably better. Gomes has won just 1.3 tackles and 0.4 interceptions per match this season. That’s compared to Anguissa’s 2.2 successful challenges and 1.6 interceptions an outing.
He also knows how to perform in the big games, an area where Everton’s Portuguese midfielder has been found wanting. During Fulham’s clash with Manchester United last Tuesday evening, the 25-year-old made nine ball recoveries and seven interceptions, while completing five take-ons and winning four aerial duels.
It was a mountainous performance from a player who would offer plenty to Everton if he swaps west London for Merseyside.