Carlo Ancelotti should urge Everton to sign Keven Schlotterbeck amid claims Goodison Park is a potential destination for the SC Freiburg defender.
According to Bild journalist Christian Falk, the Toffees have become aware of Schlotterbeck following a strong run in Christian Streich’s backline at the Schwarzwald-Stadion this season.
The 23-year-old centre-back is expected to be an inexpensive option in the summer market, and is considered as the next Bundesliga star to earn Premier League interest after Leeds signed Robin Koch for £13m last year.
Schlotterbeck returned to Freiburg after spending the 2019/20 season on loan with 1. FC Union Berlin to replace Koch at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, and has since started 13 of his 14 Bundesliga appearances after being inserted into Streich’s plans in November.
Freiburg had won just one of their initial eight German top-flight fixtures before Schlotterbeck made his first start of the term, but have since won seven of the following 12 while keeping three clean sheets to move up to eighth in the table.
Oliver Ruhnert, Union Berlin’s Director of Football, vastly rated Schlotterbeck’s talents for the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei side, noting: “Schlotterbeck is an excellent fit for our central-defender profile.
“He is young, highly talented and has already proven his skills at the highest level in the Bundesliga.”
If Schlotterbeck is available for a similar fee to what Leeds paid Freiburg for Koch last summer, Ancelotti should absolutely urge Farhad Moshiri to fund a pursuit by Everton.
Schlotterbeck’s presence in Streich’s backline inspired a seismic change of fortunes for Breisgau-Brasilianer earlier this season, and has helped to inspire Bundesliga victories over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund plus draws with Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Ancelotti could form an imperious wall in front of the Everton goal if the Italian were to sign Schlotterbeck, as his efforts in Germany have often been at a higher level than what the Toffees have seen in the Premier League from Yerry Mina and Michael Keane in an array of aspects.
Freiburg fans have seen Schlotterbeck offer Streich 1.4 successful tackles a game in the Bundesliga this term, compared to the one Blues fans see from Mina and 0.8 from Keane in the English top-flight thus far, per SofaScore.
Schlotterbeck also offers more interceptions (2) than all Everton defenders (Ben Godfrey, 1.6, offers the most), clearances (5.2, Mina offers a team-high 4.7) and significantly more ground duels won (3.2) than Mina (1.7) or Keane (0.9).
Though Schlotterbeck lacks in the air with 1.9 contests won per game to Mina (3.3) – only Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 4.5 is higher at Goodison Park.
But Ancelotti can make up for Schlotterbeck’s shortfalls in the air by playing the 6 ft 2 centre-half beside Mina, in what could prove to be an ideal defensive partnership.