Consider the performance of Seamus Coleman on Thursday evening and one might argue that Everton need a new right-back.
The Toffees skipper has been a wonderful servant at Goodison Park but his best days are definitely behind him. Coleman is still productive in the opposition’s half but the final ball which made him one of the most dangerous full-backs in the Premier League now eludes him.
In his prime, the Irishman ran forward at great speed and helped himself to a number of goal involvements. During his time in Merseyside, the 32-year-old has bagged 26 goals and provided 31 assists. It’s a decent tally, especially for a defender.
That said, with Coleman’s contract expiring in a year’s time, Carlo Ancelotti and co better get searching for replacements – and one player to whom they could turn their attention is Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence.
It is reported that Everton and Rangers are interested in his services, and if the £3,500-per-week earner arrives in the Premier League, Ancelotti could have his very own Trent Alexander-Arnold right in front of him.
Speaking about Spence earlier this season, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock commented: “If you look at one or two of the full-backs that are around now – the lad at Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the lad at Manchester United from Palace (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) – they are all the same type as Djed.
“He does have enormous ability, and when you’ve got ability like that it’s criminal if you don’t get to the very top.”
Alexander-Arnold has quickly become one of the promising full-backs in world football, providing Liverpool with an eye-catching amount of creativity from defence. Regularly striding forward, the England international has 31 Premier League assists to his name over the last three seasons.
Spence hasn’t yet found that level of ingenuity on the ball but, with 0.8 dribbles per match, he clearly loves to get forward.
The Middlesbrough full-back is just 20 but has enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Championship, starting 16 times for his club. Renowned for his ability to play further forward as a winger, it’s his aptitude for running up and down the right-hand channel which bears so much similarity to Alexander-Arnold.
At Spence’s age, the Liverpool star was already a Premier League regular, so he has a long way to go before he does reach the top.
However, with Coleman heading towards the twilight of his Goodison Park tenure, Spence feels like a natural long-term replacement for the Everton captain.