Everton failed to meet Blackburn Rovers’ asking price for Ben Brereton-Diaz on deadline day, in a move which could prove to be a disaster by Kevin Thelwell.
The Toffees’ priority for much of the summer has been focused on signing a striker to replace Richarlison in Frank Lampard’s side and while Neal Maupay was signed from Brighton, the Merseyside club still look very short on attacking options following the transfer deadline.
Mike McGrath suggested that both Everton and Fulham lodged £12m bids for the Chile international but Blackburn held out for £20m and he will remain at Ewood Park until January at least.
Maupay’s form in recent seasons, when he has managed just 16 goals in his last two Premier League campaigns, does little to suggest that he can replace the talismanic Richarlison at Goodison Park, after the Brazilian’s ten goals proved vital in Everton’s survival last season.
Brereton-Diaz meanwhile, hit 22 goals in the Championship last season and has three goals to his name already this season, so could have offered a real goalscoring threat in Lampard’s side, particularly with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s fitness issues over the last year.
He has scored just twice in the last year and is evidently a player they can no longer rely on for large portions of a campaign.
Thus, the former Nottingham Forest product could have been an inspired signing. The forward has proven himself to be a phenomenon in Chile, who he represents because of his mother’s heritage, and the national team manager Eduardo Berizzo sang his praises last season.
He said: “Brereton is very intelligent in his movement and found himself behind rival defenders several times.”
“He is a footballer with many qualities… He is a player of interesting movements. He will be an important reference for us.”
His former manager, Tony Mowbray was another to wax lyrical over his performances, hailing the Chile international as an “extraordinary” player.
Lampard is now left with just Maupay, an injury-prone Calvert-Lewin and Salomon Rondon as his main striking options until January, which won’t inspire much hope that the Toffees can avoid another relegation battle this season.
Therefore, it seems a risky move by Thelwell to turn down the option to sign a goalscorer in such a confident mood, as it could leave Lampard very short of attacking threat in his side until the next transfer window. If they continue their current slump, not signing such a feared prospect in front of goal will undoubtedly be considered a disaster.
At just £20m, this was an ideal and cost-effective way of improving the team.