Carlo Ancelotti can overlook Tariq Lamptey’s height being a potential flaw preventing the Brighton and Hove Albion defender from joining Everton this summer.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Lamptey is one of several right-backs that the Blues are assessing ahead of a potential investment in the position during the next off-season.
The Toffees are keen to secure the services of a long-term successor to Seamus Coleman, but feel there is a lack of available targets who fit the desired criteria set out by Ancelotti.
Height is one factor the Italian tactician has placed a great emphasis on, with the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss keen to sign a tall option having named a back four of 6 ft plus quartet Mason Holgate, Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey at times this season.
Everton consider Lamptey to be a ‘great talent’ but his 5 ft 5 stature could prove to be a stumbling block, while versatility is another aspect important to Ancelotti.
Max Aarons is another option but Ancelotti is yet to cast his final judgment over the Norwich City star, who Bayern Munich are no longer thought to be pursuing after the Canaries slapped a £30-35m asking price on the England U21 international.
Zeki Celik is no longer seen to be a target of the Goodison Park outfit despite talks over a move taking place during the recent winter market, while Jonjoe Kenny is expected to be sold at the end of the season.
Like a pursuit of Aarons from Norwich, Lamptey would set Everton back a large sum with the Liverpool Echo adding that Brighton are likely to demand in the region of £30m for the Chelsea flop they signed for only £4m in January 2020 that could rise to just £6m.
Ancelotti’s preference to sign a taller option will no doubt cause problems for Lamptey, too, but the Italian can overlook that factor and still consider a deal for the £40,000-per-week 20-year-old.
Brighton boss Graham Potter finds it “exciting” how Lamptey has settled at the Amex Stadium after failing to make the grade at Stamford Bridge, and now having the chance to watch as the London-born full-back continues his development in the Seagulls first-team.
“If you speak to Tariq, I think he will say he has every area of his game he can improve. And that’s not to say he’s not doing really, really well,” Potter said, via quotes by Sky Sports. “I think he has got that mentality that he wants to improve, he wants to get better. He has got that ambition.”
Lamptey also has “unbelievably quick” speed and the ability to influence games, with an average of 0.5 shots and 0.9 key passes per game in the Premier League this season, per WhoScored, before being sidelined for the past two months with a hamstring injury.
Coleman averages 0.5 key balls a game when fielded at right-back to Holgate’s 0.3 in the position, while the pair also record a respective 0.5 and 0.3 shots.
Potter believes Lamptey is close to a return, at which point he can further prove Ancelotti’s concerns over his height are nothing to worry about.
While a diminutive figure at 5 ft 5, Lamptey contests 1.5 aerial duels a game and wins 33% of his challenges, comparable to both Coleman – who wins 0.7 of 1.4 (50%) – and Holgate – who wins 0.8 of 2.1 (38%).
If Lamptey were to increase his involvement in aerial challenges upon his return, he would likely only further show Ancelotti that his concerns are misplaced and justify Everton splashing out to land his services this summer.