Marcel Brands will soon face uncomfortable questions over Andre Gomes’ long-term Everton future as the midfielder continues to struggle under Carlo Ancelotti.
Gomes has not started a Premier League fixture since the Toffees were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United on November 1st, and failed to offer a serious impact from the bench as he earned his 10th outing of the term against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Ancelotti has instead favoured a midfield pivot of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan in recent weeks, while selecting Tom Davies to hold down the engine room after losing Allan to a hamstring injury at Leicester City.
It was Gomes who came off the bench to replace Allan at the King Power Stadium, yet the Portuguese playmaker was omitted from the following matchday squad against Arsenal and was only given the final 16 minutes at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day to offer Davies a rest.
Davies excelled against Chris Wilder’s relegation-threatened Blades with eight ground duels won, three successful dribbles from three attempts and 52 accurate passes, per SofaScore. He additionally made a successful tackle and blocked a shot, while being fouled four times.
Gomes came off the bench to play a mere five passes and lost possession four times, days after Darren Bent suggested the former FC Barcelona maestro had been exposed for his lack of pace and power during the Toffees’ Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat.
“I was disappointed in Gomes because he’s a wonderful footballer, but then again I don’t think he played particularly badly, I just think Manchester United swarmed the midfield and were by far the better team,” Bent told Football Insider.
“There are times when the opposition’s midfield are quite quick, they’re dynamic, they get about, I think that’s where Gomes lacks real legs in the middle of the park. So, you see Doucoure, he can get about the pitch even if he hasn’t quite got the quality on the ball like Gomes.”
Everton’s Director of Football Brands will soon face difficult questions over Gomes’ long-term Goodison Park future if he cannot force his way back into Ancelotti’s plans, with the £18m-rated man among the highest earners at the club on a £112,000-per-week contract.
The Blues have also been linked with numerous potential midfield signings after Ancelotti deemed the position an area of concern, with Real Madrid’s Isco and Juventus’ Sami Khedira among those touted to be on the move.
Though Brands’ immediate attention will be toward offloading the likes of Cenk Tosun, who West Bromwich Albion are interested in taking on loan in the upcoming January transfer window (Print version of the Sunday People, 27/12, p. 57).
Tosun, who Baggies boss Sam Allardyce signed for £27m whilst in charge on Merseyside, has played just 33 minutes across all competitions thus far this season and is certainly one Everton will want to offload.