Carlo Ancelotti can still urge Everton to launch a summer swoop for Tariq Lamptey as the Brighton and Hove Albion defender’s season-ending injury should not stop a move.
That’s the view of former England international Kevin Phillips, who has told Football Insider that the right-back may still be on the move at the end of the current campaign.
The Seagulls have confirmed that Lamptey’s campaign is done and dusted, as club staff feel the 20-year-old’s hamstring has not responded to treatment as well as they would have liked and will now need an operation.
Lamptey had visited a specialist at the start of the month after suffering a setback in his recovery, having been expected to be in contention for his first Premier League minutes since December when Brighton hosted Leicester City.
Being ruled out for the remainder of the season could have thrown a spanner into the works for any side wishing to sign Lamptey after The Athletic claimed in January that Everton, Arsenal and Manchester City were not discouraged by the right-back’s new contract.
Phillips does not believe those clubs will see the right-back’s hamstring problems as reason to walk away, as his performances on the south coast rightly attracted their interest.
“He’s a fantastic young player, it’s no surprise that he’s being linked with some big clubs,” the 47-year-old said. “At the end of the day, it’s not dead. Years and years ago it probably would’ve been but nowadays with the medical side of it, you wouldn’t say so.
“The way they bring these players back so quick and the professionalism of those players who want to get back and do things right. I don’t see it as a major issue, if a club wants him now, I don’t think being injured for the rest of the season will damage it at all.
“Not just Everton, he’s been linked with other clubs. I still think he could move on in the summer, injured or not, because he’s a quality player.”
Brighton had been expected to listen to offers for Lamptey at the end of the season despite his new £40,000-per-week contract, providing Albion receive a suitable offer having not upped their asking price from before he penned the deal.
The Liverpool Echo claimed that the fee is in the region of £30m and that Everton staff consider the electric wing-back to be a ‘great talent’, having established himself as one of the Premier League’s in-form right-backs before his crushing injury problems.
Lamptey’s issues not being expected to block a move away from the Amex Stadium should now be seen as a positive for the Toffees, as Ancelotti can persist with bringing the defender to Goodison Park as his Seamus Coleman successor.
Some clubs may baulk at a deal with Lamptey not featuring since mid-December, but that may just free the path for Ancelotti and Marcel Brands to sign a target who had taken the top flight by storm.
In his 11 outings this term, Lamptey provided three assists and scored once – only Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fulham’s Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Tottenham’s Serge Aurier and Leeds’ Stuart Dallas (two each) have scored more from right-back.
Lamptey also ranks sixth in his position, among those who have played five or more times, for accurate crosses per game (0.9), while Coleman and Mason Holgate both offer just 0.3, per WhoScored. The Brighton youngster has also recorded some of the fastest sprints in the top flight this season, clocking 22.8mph at one stage against Newcastle earlier in the campaign.
Accurate crosses from the right-hand side is considered to be a growing concern for Ancelotti as Everton have become heavily lopsided with their efforts, making a swoop for Lamptey evidently worthwhile despite his injury setback.