Having taken over the Everton manager’s job mid-way through the season, Carlo Ancelotti heads into his first summer transfer window in charge at Goodison Park.
The Italian has seen it and done it all before with his previous clubs, but this Toffees project that he’s currently at the helm of may be one of his biggest tests in his long and illustrious managerial career.
The Merseyside club finished in 12th place in the Premier League last season, a full 17 points off the top four and that final Champions League spot. If Everton are to bridge that gap, then they need star quality signings. And whilst he may have fallen off the European radar in the last couple of years, a move for Thomas Lemar might help them do just that.
According to reports in recent days, Ancelotti’s side are interested in luring him away from La Liga giants Atletico Madrid, and seem keen on revitalising his career at Goodison.
Injury problems and simply not being flavour of the month under Diego Simeone saw him make just 29 appearances across all competitions last season, and scored no goals and provided no assists whatsoever.
On the face of it, this looks like a potential deal that has all the signs of going wrong for Everton. But at only 24, Lemar still has the peak years of his career ahead of him, and arguably just needs a fresh challenge to raise him from his footballing slumber.
Described as an “extraordinary” talent by the man who first spotted him, the Frenchman played a key role in that exciting AS Monaco team from a few years ago, which roared their way to a Champions League semi-final against all odds.
That campaign saw him register an impressive 12 goals and 17 assists across all competitions, and it was no surprise that France captain and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said: “He’s extremely talented, very fast and lethal in front of goal.”
Having idolised Andres Iniesta, Lemar works best in those tight spaces with his close control and elite dribbling skills, with the winger himself insisting that he “concentrates on passing and movement as much as possible”.
Last summer, Everton splashed the cash on a winger in Alex Iwobi, and the 24-year-old has flattered to deceive. In 29 games, he scored just twice and set up one goal, whilst his best ever campaign for output was in the 2018/2019 season when he managed only three goals and seven assists in the league.
Simply put, Lemar would represent a major upgrade on the Nigeria international, and Ancelotti would feel confident of reviving the Frenchman.