Everton have been linked with a transfer move for Arsenal defender Calum Chambers as the winter window fast approaches.
According to reports in the national papers, the Toffees are exploring the possibility of signing the 26-year-old for a reduced fee as he enters the final months of his current contract in north London.
Everton were heavily linked with a move for Chambers’ teammate Ainsley Maitland-Niles over the summer before that move collapsed, and now Rafa Benitez could be forced to change targets.
The report states that: “Everton have reportedly identified Calum Chambers as their back-up plan in January should they fail in pursuit of his Arsenal team-mate Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
“Rafael Benitez is looking to bolster Everton in the right back position and he is said to have identified two players at Arsenal that find themselves on the periphery. “
It goes on to claim that the preferred option for the Goodison Park hierarchy remains a short-term loan deal for Maitland-Niles with the option of a permanent move next year, but that the Gunners could allow Chambers to leave for as little as £5 million in January.
Despite signing for Arsenal back in 2014 as a highly-promising youngster from boyhood side Southampton, Chambers has only made 121 appearances for the capital club in all competitions.
The £50,000-per-week dud has shown glimpses of his true potential – particularly during an impressive loan spell at Fulham – although he’s failed to produce quality performances on a consistent basis throughout his career.
After a particularly poor showing against Chelsea back in 2018, pundit Tony Cascarino labelled him an “accident waiting to happen,” and he’s done little to dispel that notion since.
“Calum Chambers joined Arsenal from Southampton more than three years ago and also won the first of his three England full caps about that time, as a 19-year-old, yet he still looks like a kid who has only just been given his chance,” said Cascarino.
“Last night, the 22-year-old central defender was nervous on the ball and lacking concentration – he was an accident waiting to happen.”
Therefore, Benitez should carefully consider making an approach for Chambers over the coming months, with the former England international bearing a striking resemblance to current Everton outsider Mason Holgate.
Both players showed promise in their youth deputising at right-back and centre-back, yet both have perhaps become a jack of all trades and masters of none.
Last season, for instance, Holgate became rather error-prone in his duties at Goodison Park.
Replacing an instrumental figure such as Seamus Coleman will be a big job for any new arrival, and it’s unlikely that Chambers will be able to pick up where the Irishman left off.