Head down Everton’s squad list and they tick plenty of boxes.
They also have a flying wing-back in Lucas Digne but, if there’s one thing they miss, it’s a coveted world-class centre-back.
Carlo Ancelotti recognised that during his final few months at Goodison Park, noting Kalidou Koulibaly as the man to strengthen their ranks.
The Napoli defender has remained on their radar, and with Rafa Benitez now at the helm, that is hardly a surprise. The pair worked together when Benitez was head coach in Naples and he has now asked the Everton hierarchy to try and sign the 30-year-old.
An elite brute of a centre-half, he could replicate the type of qualities we saw from a certain Sylvain Distin in Merseyside. The Frenchman was never world-class but he was an animal when it came to stopping some of the best attacking players in the top flight.
Distin featured on 210 occasions for Everton and brought with him a robust and physical presence.
In a piece put together by Will Rooney, he wrote: “Sylvain Distin had absolutely every attribute you’d wish for in a centre-half – rapid pace, power and the ability to snuff out any danger that came his way.”
Those words could quite easily describe Koulibaly, and an interview with former Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao supplements that viewpoint. The 2002 World Cup ace once told the BBC: “He’s got all the qualities to do well in the Premier League. He’s strong, can play hard when needed, can read the game very well and is not scared to get stuck in.”
In terms of their aerial dominance, the two defenders are very alike. Dubbed “extraordinary” by Pepe Reina, Koulibaly won 2.1 headers per match throughout the 2019/20 campaign. Distin averaged close to that throughout his time with Everton and Portsmouth, winning 2.7.
Consequently, Benitez could well uncover a like-minded player by luring Koulibaly to Goodison Park.