After losing one of the most pedigreed manager’s Everton have ever had, it’s a testing time for the club’s owners and directors.
Trying to replace Carlo Ancelotti will be no easy task but they must do so adequately if they ever want to achieve their goal of Champions League football.
If losing the Italian wasn’t bad enough, they could also witness their star striker leave this summer.
With that in mind, the Toffees will need to acquire a new striker. They could find that in AC Milan’s Rafael Leao.
Reports first emerged of a potential move several months ago but according to a fresh story from Calcio Mercato (via Daily Mail), it’s believed Everton are among the front runners for the 22-year-old.
The Toffees and Wolves are both interested parties and they may only have to part ways with £24m in order to prise him away from the San Siro.
If Calvert-Lewin does head for the exit door then the new manager will desperately need to find a new centre-forward.
The Englishman was crucial for Everton last term, proving to be the only player to find the net more than ten times in the Premier League. During top-flight action, he scored 16 goals which took his tally in all competitions to 21 strikes.
Leao could be an adequate replacement and he’d also provide versatility. The young Portuguese is capable of playing through the middle but also on the flanks.
That being said, they will have to be cautious over his discipline and mentality. Taking to Twitter after he was usurped in Portugal’s U21 squad this summer, reporter Zach Lowy commented:
“The fact that Dany Mota — a player at Monza — and Gonçalo Ramos — a benchwarmer at Benfica — overshadowed Rafael Leão during the U-21 Euros should serve as a wake-up call for him. He needs to drastically change his mentality or he’ll be leaving Milan sooner rather than later.”
That doesn’t bode too well for Everton but if you assess his qualities on the field of play, he instantly becomes a no-brainer, especially at £24m.
Leao scored seven goals last term and registered six assists in all competitions. Those aren’t the most striking of numbers but it proves he has end product when he gets into a promising area.
He also has attributes that can utterly terrify defenders. Former striker Rolando Bianchi once said: “I had seen him at the U20 World Cup with Portugal and he made spectacular plays. He has great speed, he has a touch of the ball.”
His ability to beat a player is what sets him apart from many in the modern game. Calvert-Lewin is a ruthless forward but his qualities lie mainly in his aerial ability and muscular strength.
In a scout report by Jacek Kulig, he notes the forward’s “blistering pace” and “excellent balance.”
On that note, he’s more comparable to Richarlison in the Everton frontline. An exponent of flair and trickery, he’d be a wonderful addition to the Toffees if he can correct his attitude.
At the age of 22, he has incredibly high potential, something Marcel Brands needs to ensure is extracted at Goodison Park.