Marcel Brands can solve a titanic flaw in Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton side by completing a deal to sign Bayern Munich’s Joshua Zirkzee in the January transfer window.
Everton are likely to add the 19-year-old talent to Ancelotti’s fold on an initial loan deal, but hope to include an option to purchase the 6 ft 4 forward who Joshua Kimmich believes is “deadly” in front of the goal and has “good dynamics and moves smoothly for his height.”
Everton face a tussle with German and Italian sides to finalise their deal to sign Zirkzee, with Fabrizio Romano adding that Parma are also in discussions with Bayern, while Eintracht Frankfurt tested the waters earlier in the window before finalising a deal for Luka Jovic.
Zirkzee has dropped down to the reserves at the Allianz Arena this season and missed spells through quarantine, earning his third and last Bundesliga appearance of the campaign so far in October when fielded for the final 27 minutes at FC Koln.
The Dutch youngster, who Everton almost signed in 2017, is keen to play more regularly after making 34 outings across all competitions last term, in which he scored 12 goals and provided six assists – including four in nine top-flight fixtures with a goal every 73 minutes.
Brands had claimed Everton are unlikely to make any signings this January, but is pursuing Zirkzee after Ancelotti made clear he wants to have further attacking options with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin struggling with injuries and Moise Kean being on loan at Paris Saint-Germain.
Zirkzee moving to Goodison Park in the winter market and impressing enough for Everton to trigger any purchase clause in the Dutch forward’s deal could spell the end for Kean on Merseyside, with the Italian a rumoured target for PSG and his former side Juventus.
Kean failed to hit the ground running at Everton when signed for £27.5m in 2019, netting just twice in 33 games across all competitions last term, but has impressed in Ligue 1 with nine strikes to his name in 13 appearances to warrant Mauricio Pochettino’s side eying a permanent deal.
Ancelotti has already confirmed that he will not stand in the way of the Parc des Princes natives if offers in excess of £30m are received, which could potentially now be used to retain Zirkzee should the three-time Netherlands U21 international solve a titanic flaw in the Toffees’ squad.
Everton have no strength in depth at centre-forward with Kean away on loan, as Cenk Tosun only struck his first goal of the season in last weekend’s FA Cup win over Championship side Rotherham United. Ancelotti clearly does not value the Turkey international, either, with the 29-year-old only playing 43 minutes of top-flight action since recovering from his cruciate ligament surgery.
Any severity to the hamstring injury that top-scorer Calvert-Lewin has sustained could throw Everton’s season into a spiral, making it a wise move from Ancelotti to instruct Brands to find offensive reinforcements in the winter market.
Calvert-Lewin accounts for 11 of Everton’s 28 top-flight goals to date this term for the third-highest contribution rate of any Premier League player, with only Newcastle United’s eight-goal Callum Wilson (44%) and Tottenham Hotspur’s 12-goal gem Heung-Min Son (40%) finding the back of the net more often for their respective sides.
It remains to be seen if 19-year-old Zirkzee will be able to hold a candle to Calvert-Lewin from the off, but the £8m-rated prospect would arrive on Merseyside with a record for scoring in the Bundesliga and helping Bayern Munich to clinch the 2019/20 title – experience that could prove very valuable.
AND in other news, Everton have no reason not to sell a £7m outcast in the January transfer window.