Everton haven’t been afraid to spend wildly in recent years but, if there’s one area where the fees have been warranted, it’s in the middle of the park.
Ever since Idrissa Gueye departed the club, Everton have had a glaring hole in the middle of the park which desperately needed improvement.
Doucoure and Allan have added some extra bite to the midfield but the squad is still lacking aerially.
Of course, Ancelotti has the towering presence of Yerry Mina at his disposal and the heading abilities of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but that trait has been missing in Everton’s midfield. Doucoure won 1.3 aerial duels a game in the Premier League this term, while the diminutive Allan only prevailed in 0.2 headers per match.
Everton have a wonderful recent history when it comes to players who can head the ball. Cast your mind back a few years and you’ll recall Tim Cahill leaping like a salmon.
Marouane Fellaini’s immense neck muscles also come to mind. He was an imposing figure who reigned supreme at the back post and from set-piece situations.
The Merseyside outfit hasn’t really been able to replicate that since he departed, though, but they could do so this summer.
That’s because Everton are interested in signing Sporting Lisbon colossus Joao Palhinha, according to Record (via Sport Witness). The Toffees face a battle with Wolves to sign a player who could be worth in the region of €40m (£35m).
That’s a hefty price tag bu,t judging by the qualities he could offer, Palhinha may evoke memories of some of the towering abilities that Fellaini brought to Goodison.
Standing at 6 foot 3, he uses his tall frame to dominate opponents and win battles in the air on a regular basis. Throughout Sporting’s successful league triumph this term, Palhinha won three aerial duels per game.
That stacks up pretty closely to Fellaini, who has prevailed in 3.6 aerial battles per match throughout his career.
Doucoure already provides plenty of physical qualities to Everton’s midfield, but a pairing of him and Palhinha could be mightily destructive.
The duo possesses the perfect balance of tackling and heading, one which could be incredibly difficult for attacking players to break through. Marcel Brands simply has to explore the chances of signing the Sporting Lisbon powerhouse.