Everton have a strong desire to sign a winger this summer, as Football FanCast exclusively revealed earlier this month that a wide area was their key priority.
We’ve already seen a number of links ahead of the transfer window, with Gareth Bale spectacularly touted with a move to Goodison Park.
It remains to be seen who arrives but, with Theo Walcott heading to Southampton on a permanent deal and Bernard leaning towards an exit, they could be left short on the flanks. Fortunately, Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands have already laid the foundations for their summer approach behind the scenes.
Considering how they lost out on European football towards the end of the campaign, they have a need to bounce back in swift fashion. One player who could help them do that is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Rubin Kazan.
According to soccer.ru, the player doesn’t want to move to Zenit, which means Everton now lead the race to sign the 20-year-old. Leeds have also been in contact with his agent, as Football FanCast exclusively reported in April.
The Georgia international is one of Europe’s most promising stars, bursting into the limelight when he opened the scoring against Spain back in March. He is become one of the brightest talents emerging from the top-flight of Russian football and possesses some eye-catching characteristics.
During the course of the 2020/21 campaign, the youngster completed a whopping 3.4 dribbles per game. For context, no player in the entire Russian Premier League has managed more successful dribbles than his tally of 78.
He’s also proven to be a menace at international level, registering 5.3 dribbles per match in the UEFA Nations League.
In a scout report by Jacek Kulig, someone renowned for spotting young talent, he wrote: “[He is] extremely dangerous on the counter thanks to his pace and acceleration. Likes to use tricks and skills to remain in possession of the ball.”
Possessing raw speed and the ability to beat a man on a frequent basis, Kvaratskhelia reminds us of former Everton star Andrei Kanchelskis. Also hailing from the Eastern bloc, the winger was devastating on his day, earning a move to the royal blue of Everton after shining at Manchester United.
A tricky winger, Kanchelskis scored 22 goals in 60 appearances for the Merseyside outfit. Like Kvaratskhelia, he had pace to burn and captivating dribbling.
In an interview with the former Everton star back in 1994, reporter Simon O’Hagan explained: “His explosive pace, rasping shot, and – when they come – emphatic goals have added an extra dimension even to a team of such extravagant talents as United.”
Former Manchester United winger Willie Morgan added: “It’s not that he’s the greatest dribbler, but he puts defenders under pressure because he runs straight at them, and there aren’t many in the modern game that do that. He’s been brilliant. He grafts, he gets stuck in, he enjoys playing. You have to mark him, and that helps create space for Mark Hughes in the middle.”
There are notable comparisons between the two but Kvaratskhelia will have to go a long way in order to live up to Kanchelskis’ legacy in the game. It will be intriguing to see if he follows in the latter’s footsteps by joining Everton.