Everton have landed a huge boost in the race to sign Lucas Vazquez after the Real Madrid maestro reportedly named Goodison Park as his preferred destination.
According to a report in Spain, Vazquez has decided that he will leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season and he has his heart set on a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez.
The Spain international is now set to leave Real, unless there’s an expectational change in circumstances, and he has a wealth of admirers in Everton, Leeds United, AC Milan and Real Betis, while Valencia, Sevilla and SSC Napoli have previously been linked.
Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid are also potential destinations, though Vazquez is now said to be considering a move to Merseyside as he knows what to expect if playing under Ancelotti.
Vazquez never made an appearance for Ancelotti during the Italian’s time in charge of Los Blancos, but the Everton boss apparently values how the £13.5m-rated winger has since developed and grown as a person.
Everton’s alleged intention to bring Vazquez to Merseyside in the off-season to benefit Rodriguez is not new, with Defensa Central claiming at the start of the month that Ancelotti had targeted the Real Madrid forward as part of his plans to keep the Colombian on side.
It was thought that Ancelotti was pushing Everton to sign Vazquez as his arrival would help convince Rodriguez to stay at Goodison Park, as the Colombian had reportedly grown disillusioned by life in the Premier League and was considering a return to Spain.
But the Toffees can benefit from having Vazquez on the pitch, as well, as the soon-to-be free agent can allow Ancelotti to play with either a four or five-man defence after impressing in a right-wing-back role for Real Madrid this season.
Ancelotti has often rotated between naming two and three centre-halves this season, with a 4-3-3 his most-used system for Premier League games with it used on nine occasions so far. He has utilised three centre-back formations five times and two centre-half systems 23 times, per WhoScored.
It was also in a five-at-the-back that Everton hosted Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday, with Seamus Coleman started at full-back over Mason Holgate.
Ancelotti has favoured Holgate in the role for 12 top-flight fixtures to Coleman on 10 occasions to date, in which they have contributed a respective 2.5 and 2.1 successful tackles, 1.6 and 0.5 interceptions, 0.3 accurate crosses from 1.6 and 1.4 attempts plus 0.3 and 0.5 key passes, per WhoScored.
Vazquez, meanwhile, has made 10 of his 22 La Liga outings this term as a wing-back, in which he has averaged three successful tackles, one interception, 1.4 accurate crosses from 5.8 attempts and 2.1 key passes.
That goes to show the Galacticos talent may not only create more goalscoring chances for the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to fire Everton up the Premier League table, but also take some of the defensive burden away from Ben Godfrey and co. in the centre next season.
So, not only could Vazquez give Rodriguez a morale boost, but he could also give Ancelotti a competent and productive wing-back option without Everton paying Real Madrid a penny.
AND in other news, Everton are monitoring a £17m ace dubbed the next Erling Haaland…