Everton have been getting fully involved in the January transfer window so far. Just 14 days into the month, Rafael Benitez has already signed three players to freshen up the squad at Goodison Park in key areas.
The Toffees have lost five of their last eight matches in the Premier League, picking up just 1.06 points per game since the beginning of the campaign according to SoccerStats, and have been conceding far too many goals (32).
After signing a new left-back and right-back, Benitez should now be looking to make additions to the centre of his defence, with Everton being linked to one player who has been dubbed a “monster” by former Lazio defender Mauricio.
Stefan de Vrij has been linked with a move to Merseyside for several months now, and with Tottenham also in hot pursuit of the player, there is no time like the present for the Toffees to swoop in for his signature this month.
The Inter Milan centre-back, who “always wins” according to his former coach Antonio Conte, is at the top for successful dribbles in Serie A this season with a 100% completion rate, while he has been successful in 46 of his aerial duels according to One Versus One.
Everton are desperate for a leader in the backline, with Seamus Coleman coming to the end of his career, and Michael Keane unable to inspire good performances from his centre-back position. Therefore, it could be a great addition to bring in a proven winner and leader like De Vrij, especially after he won the Serie A title last year.
The Toffees need to be careful when it comes to Financial Fair Play, and with the £18m-rated defender already being chased down by another Premier League club, Benitez should be looking to clear funds in order to make the signing. With £25m already secured for Lucas Digne, the manager could look to his centre-backs to find an asset worth selling.
Keane and Ben Godfrey are the highest-valued central defenders at Everton right now according to Transfermarkt at £22.5m each. However, it would make more sense to keep a young player like Godfrey in the side as there is still time for him to develop further and increase his value, as opposed to the much-maligned Keane who is now 29 years old, so Everton should be cashing in on the latter if they need to trim their centre-back options in order to bring in De Vrij.
Given the Toffees’ aforementioned defensive flaws this season, along with the Dutchman’s evident ability, it’s fair to say that the Inter colossus is a player that Benitez needs at Goodison Park.