Everton have endured a mixed start to the new season with four points on the board from Rafa Benitez’s opening two matches in charge.
The Toffees look vibrant going forward but one huge cause for concern is still in their backline.
Everton have struggled to really bolster their ranks this summer with a lack of finances leading to an accumulative spend of just £1.7m on four new players.
However, with just a week of the window left, Benitez and Marcel Brands may need to push the boat out a little more to realise their ambitions of European football back at Goodison Park.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio (via Sport Witness), Everton are one team in the hunt for Chelsea defender Malang Sarr.
The Frenchman signed for the Blues last summer but was immediately loaned to Porto. He’s now back in England but has attracted the interest of the Toffees and Italian side Bologna.
They appear to lead the race for the £9m-rated defender with a meeting pencilled in for Monday between the respective parties.
If Everton can fend off the competition to land Sarr this summer then it could finally give Benitez an excuse to axe Michael Keane from his starting XI.
With Ben Godfrey currently on the sidelines, the English centre-half has been required to start but has begun the new campaign in a calamitous fashion.
He was at fault for Leeds’ opening goal in the 2-2 draw on Saturday as he turned slowly and couldn’t react quick enough to a ball into Patrick Bamford. He raced away from Keane before sliding a pass into Mateusz Klich who found the net.
It was a piece of play that was described as “poor” by Sport Witness reporter Sean Lunt, who also said: “Watching the highlight of that Leeds goal, it’s proper League Two defending from Michael Keane.”
What frustrates supporters more is that the centre-back was handed a new five-year deal last year.
That wasn’t exactly the best use of Everton’s finances but they can combat that by signing Sarr, a defender with plenty of physical attributes.
Described as “powerful” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the 22-year-old possesses a great deal of pace. That attribute is already an upgrade on Keane, someone who turned like a London bus in rush hour traffic during that stalemate with Leeds.
That sounds harsh but the defender has witnessed an alarming drop off in form this term.
Consequently, Sarr looks like a valuable alternative before the window shuts. He completed a whopping 89.1% of his passes last term and has proven himself to be a strong reader of the game.
Despite still being incredibly young, the centre-half made 1.7 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per game as a teenager in the 2018/19 campaign for Nice.
On that evidence, there is every reason to believe that his ceiling is high. Everton must sign him.