Marcel Brands could deliver a solid deadline day for Everton by sealing a deal to sign LOSC Lille full-back Zeki Celik.
The Toffees have been heavily credited with interest in Celik throughout the winter market, with Fabrizio Romano claiming at the start of January that contact had been made with the defender’s representatives.
But a deal to sign the 23-year-old was thrown askew by reports he favoured a move to rival suitors AS Roma, after the Serie A outfit allegedly began formal negotiations with Lille as the Stade Pierre Mauroy natives only value the Turkey international at €15m (£13m).
Celik is yet to finalise a move to the Stadio Olimpico and featured for 70 minutes as Les Dogues beat Dijon FCO 1-0 on Sunday, marking his 14th start in 15 Ligue 1 appearances so far this season.
Everton should not allow Deadline Day to end without Celik’s signature secured, as the Blues are preparing to part with academy graduate Jonjoe Kenny.
The right-back is nearing a loan deal to join Celtic for the rest of the season, which the Hoops may later look to turn permanent with Neil Lennon said to be a keen admirer.
Kenny’s exit will leave Seamus Coleman as the sole recognised senior right-back at Goodison Park, though Carlo Ancelotti has enjoyed frequent success with centre-half Mason Holgate fielded in a wide role.
But Holgate is unlikely to be the Italian’s long-term preference, following claims Ancelotti had sought to use the winter market to find Everton’s future Coleman successor.
Coleman’s time as the first-choice may also have an end point in sight, having appeared vastly off the pace during a challenging afternoon in defeat to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Celik could be just who Everton and Ancelotti are looking for if Brands can work his magic and convince the 23-year-old of a move to Merseyside, with the clock fast ticking down toward Monday night’s 23:00 deadline.
Negotiations may not be too laboursome with a route to Roma yet to be finalised, and Celik telling SoFoot back in November of his desires to one day play in the Premier League after proving himself to be one of the most respected full-backs in Ligue 1.
The 18-cap international would additionally offer Ancelotti a threat at both ends of the field, with Celik involved in three goals (one scored, two assisted) and four clean sheets in his French top-flight outings this term.
Celik has helped to his side’s shut outs having won possession with 21 tackles and 13 interceptions, and hit on the break to deliver 15 crosses into the opposition’s box and completed 510 of his passes, per FBref, showing he is safe and wise on the ball after winning it back.
Holgate, for comparison, has completed 372 passes in the Premier League this season, including 10 crosses, while taking back possession with 17 tackles and 16 interceptions, per FBref, over his nine games played to date.
If Celik is still on the market for just £13m, Brands will regret not testing Lille’s resolve on Deadline Day to hand Ancelotti a potential ready-made first-choice at right-back.