Carlo Ancelotti must get ruthless and sever Jonjoe Kenny’s 14-year association with Everton after being urged to solve a “very apparent” lack of depth in defence.
While speaking with Football Insider, former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has urged Ancelotti to delve into the mid-season transfer market to sign new full-backs after witnessing Everton struggle without Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne.
Coleman initially sustained an injury in October’s Merseyside Derby draw with Liverpool that forced his withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland squad to face England, but provoked his hamstring problem again after returning to action against Manchester United.
Ancelotti’s injury crisis worsened with Digne having to undergo surgery after suffering ankle ligament damage in training last month, which could rule the Frenchman out of action for up to three months.
Digne has provided more assists (4) than any other Everton player in the Premier League thus far this season, while also delivering a higher number of accurate crosses (17) and ranks second to James Rodriguez (23) for key balls (16), per WhoScored.
Ancelotti called on midfielders Alex Iwobi and Tom Davies to slot in at full-back for Saturday’s defeat to Championship title-holders Leeds United, something Robinson is adamant the Italian cannot persist with having urged Everton to spend on their defence this winter.
“Everton need to address the depth of their squad in January,” he said. “We saw against Leeds United that they lack squad depth, it was very apparent.
“The fact that Ancelotti had to play Iwobi at left wing-back and Tom Davies at right wing-back speaks volumes. When Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne are missing, they are significantly weakened. It is something that has to be addressed in January. A stronger squad is needed.”
Ancelotti favouring Iwobi against Fulham last month would have raised alarm bells over Kenny’s future at Goodison Park, having been overlooked at Craven Cottage despite travelling with the squad to west London.
Davies then featuring in his position for Saturday’s clash with Leeds after Ancelotti stated the Blues product was fit and ready to feature again hammered home the sense that Kenny has reached the end of his road on Merseyside.
The challenging afternoon Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds dealt Davies has now only highlighted Everton’s lack of top-quality depth in full-back, too, leading pundits to urge Ancelotti and Director of Football Marcel Brands to splash the cash this winter to solve a “very apparent” problem.
Ancelotti must certainly get ruthless and end Kenny’s association with Everton if he is to strengthen at full-back as the 23-year-old, who first signed with the Toffees’ academy in 2006, is clearly not the Italian’s favoured option is far from proving himself to be Coleman’s long-term successor.