Everton manager Rafa Benitez could secure a transfer masterclass after being linked with a move for Brentford defender Pontus Jansson in the January transfer window.
According to The Guardian, the Toffees are one of three Premier League clubs eyeing up a potential swoop for the 30-year-old, with Newcastle United and Leicester City also listed as potential suitors.
With Jansson’s current contract at the Brentford Community Stadium set to expire at the end of the current campaign, an imminent exit could be on the cards as several sides look to secure a cut-price deal.
The report states that: “Pontus Jansson is wanted by Leicester, Newcastle and Everton in January after they were alerted to the Brentford captain’s contract situation.”
Everton’s defence has been extremely porous in the opening 16 games of the top-flight campaign, heavily contributing to their recent run of poor form.
Benitez’s charges have conceded 28 goals so far, the fourth-highest amount in the Premier League, and seven more than relegation-threatened Burnley, highlighting their extensive troubles at the back.
And things could get worse for the Merseyside outfit over the coming months.
Reports have suggested key centre-back Yerry Mina could depart the club during the winter as he seeks pastures new, leaving Everton desperately short of quality at the back, and Benitez will be in desperate need of reinforcements if his proposed exit is confirmed.
With the Merseyside outfit also having to tighten their budget significantly in order to comply with Financial Fair Play restrictions, securing Jansson’s signature for a bargain price would be a masterstroke by the Spanish tactician.
Since arriving in west London back in July 2019, the £4.5m-rated beast has been a key figure in Brentford’s defence, and manager Thomas Frank made no effort to hide his excitement following his arrival.
“Pontus is a top defender who brings immense professionalism, a great attitude, experience, defensive robustness, leadership qualities, and threat from set-pieces to our side,” said Frank upon his unveiling.
“Everyone knows about the Brentford model but to develop the young players we have here, we also need experience and quality in the squad to get the perfect balance.
“To have someone with his CV turn down other offers to join us shows where we stand as a club now.”
After playing a key role in the Bees’ promotion from the Championship last term, Jansson has showcased his quality on the Premier League stage on a consistent basis throughout 2021/22.
The 6 foot 4 colossus has started all 16 of the capital club’s league encounters, averaging 1.4 interceptions, a whopping 4.8 clearances and 0.4 blocks while winning 2.8 aerial duels, as per WhoScored.
Those figures place Jansson in the top three for each metric when compared to his teammates, and illustrate how the Swede could be an extremely astute purchase for Benitez and Everton.
With Mina departing, they will need someone with height and power to add to their ranks and fortunately, those are two attributes the Brentford giant has in abundance.