Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Everton got off to a scintillating start, with five wins and one draw marking his opening eight games with the club.
However, recent results and performances have been a stark contrast to those of the Spaniard’s opening few weeks. Three consecutive defeats have seen questions asked over the experienced tactician as his struggles continue on Merseyside.
Injuries to several key players have certainly taken their toll on the Toffees, though.
Abdoulaye Doucoure, Yerry Mina and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absences have exposed their lack of strength in depth and highlighted the need for Everton’s hierarchy to dip into the transfer market come January.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Benitez’s charges have been linked with several attacking talents in recent weeks, with Monaco’s Aleksandr Golovin the lastest target believed to be on their radar.
According to Russian outlet Championat (as relayed by Inside Futbol), Everton are showing a ‘serious interest’ in the highly-rated 25-year-old ahead of a potential bid.
Inside Futbol’s report claims a source was quoted as saying: “The Premier League club is showing serious interest in the Russian midfielder. So far, everything is at an initial stage.”
And he’s certainly someone who could fill the creative and technical void that James Rodriguez left behind went he departed Goodison Park over the summer.
In 105 appearances for the Principality club, Golovin has scored 16 goals and provided a further 20 assists, but it’s arguably his performances on the international stage that have really caught the eye.
The £78,000-per-week gem’s impressive displays for his nation played a pivotal part in their run to the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals, earning the praise of Jose Mourinho.
During his work as a television pundit for broadcaster RT, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager said: “Golovin is a playmaker, he’s a player that gives the dynamic of the team.”
And his arrival at Everton could unlock the true potential of the attacking talents already at Benitez’s disposal.
Summer signing Demarai Gray got off to a blistering start after returning to English shores, bagging three goals in his first four Premier League games for the Blues.
But the former England U21 international has now gone six league outings without finding the back of the net, largely down to the lack of opportunities created by his teammates.
The arrival of Golovin would solve that issue for Everton and Gray, leading to a formidable duo in the final third of the pitch, meaning director of football Marcel Brands must swoop for the Monaco man over the coming months.