Everton are currently without a natural midfield successor to their Brazilian general Allan, although that could quickly change in the final two weeks of the transfer window…
According to Sky Sports reporter Gianluca Di Marzio, the Toffees have emerged as one of two possible destinations for Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas.
With Manchester United also keen on the North Macedonia international, it will certainly be a battle for the Italian outfit to keep hold of both him and Hirving Lozano, who also draws interest, although it is only with an “important offer” that either of them would be considered available targets.
It remains to be seen just how much they would demand, but CIES Football Observatory currently values the 22-year-old between €50m (£42.5m) and €70m (£59.5m), which suggests that that ‘important offer’ would have to be an astronomical one.
With the 31-year-old having been slowly phased out of first-team action at Goodison Park, making just 31 appearances in all competitions last season, it would make perfect sense for Frank Lampard to find his replacement while Allan is still around.
Elmas could be the dream target, and at his age he would have plenty of room to be nurtured by the former Napoli man.
Reports that Idrissa Gueye is nearing a return to the club may be strengthening, but with the Senegal international also reaching the twilight of his career at 32 years of age, a fresh face for the future may also be a necessity.
At just 22, the 5 foot 10 ace has featured an astounding 127 times for Napoli. It seems that, despite his age, he has shown maturity far beyond his years at senior level.
Last season, the North Macedonia maestro managed a fine offensive return despite being deployed in midfield. His seven goals and six assists from 2021/22 outline a far return greater than what Allan has contributed throughout his two-year career at Goodison Park.
However, his defensive contributions waned as a consequence. Playing alongside the likes of two tackling masters in Allan and Gueye could quickly see his averages 1.32 tackles and 1.08 blocks per 90 raised to the standards of the former’s 3.32 and 1.94 respectively.
Perhaps another stint alongside Allan could see Elmas mature further and grow into the role of the midfield general that Everton have so often lacked.
The 22-year-old’s agent claimed last year that “Elmas feels he is becoming one of the leaders of the national team”, a huge responsibility on such young shoulders. It is therefore no wonder that he was also labelled him a “jewel” who is capable of playing several roles for his team.
If Everton can sign him this summer or next, there is time for the young Macedonian to become a true understudy to his former team-mate.
It might just keep Allan around for a little while longer and could benefit the Toffees exponentially in the long run if they could mould a younger, more effective version of their midfield stalwart.