Everton missed the boat by not signing AFC Bournemouth’s “outstanding” David Brooks after he was linked with a move to Carlo Ancelotti’s side this summer.
According to the Daily Mail, the Toffees were one of a handful of Premier League clubs to still be interested in a late move for Brooks approaching Deadline Day in October, having been impressed by the midfielder’s top-flight form prior to the Cherries’ relegation last season.
Brooks dazzled during his maiden campaign in the Premier League with seven goals and five assists in 30 games following his £11.5million move from Sheffield United, but surgery to repair a serious ankle injury thwarted his difficult second season as the 23-year-old was restricted to a mere nine appearances.
He returned to the field following the restart of the 2019/20 campaign in June and scored once in his eight starts under Eddie Howe, who lauded Brooks as an “outstanding” talent after a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.
“David is an important part of the team but we have a team to perform and to create chances for each other,” Howe said, via quotes by the Bournemouth Echo. “We can’t be reliant just on him.
“But in saying that, he is an outstanding player and I think there were moments in there that are promising for us. Obviously, the length of time he’s been out, there is going to be an element where he’s just going to be working his way back to his best levels.”
Brooks’ injury, combined with his limited output following his return, failed to ward off interest from Everton, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, though none of those clubs ultimately struck a deal with Bournemouth demanding at least £40million for their prized asset.
Leicester had been quoted as much as £50m in the summer as the Cherries considered Brooks a vital aspect to their promotion push, having already banked millions through sales earlier in the window.
Brooks has struggled to offer a key presence at the Vitality under new Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall this season, as an ankle injury and a later knock have restricted the midfielder to just three starts in five Championship appearances. However, he entered the international break after scoring his first goals of the season with a match-winning brace away to Birmingham City.
His goals clearly brought a sense of confidence back to the Wales international, as he offered a crucial winner for his country in Sunday night’s UEFA Nations League clash with the Republic of Ireland which kept his top of Group B4 by a single point.
Brooks now has two goals and an assist in 15 senior international appearances, having stolen the show with a close-range header after not allowing his head to drop during a difficult night playing as false nine role under interim coach Robert Page.
His resilience almost led to a second goal too, only for West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph to stand firm before Brooks was replaced in the 88th-minute, after recording three shots, a 100% dribble success rate, 34 touches, one key ball from 16 accurate passes and winning five of eight duels (four ground, one aerial), per SofaScore.
Even when tasked with playing as a false-striker, Brooks registered one interception and two tackles as he showed Everton what they missed out on while Ancelotti strives to avoid a fourth Premier League defeat in a row with all of the Italian’s central midfielders yet to score.
AND in other news, Carlo Ancelotti is urging Everton to sign a “magnificent player” this winter.