Everton have been dealt a huge blow in their chase of Zeki Celik with the LOSC Lille right-back reported to favour a January transfer to AS Roma.
According to Fanatik, Roma have begun negotiations with Lille in hopes of signing Celik in the mid-season window, as they strive to move ahead of the Toffees in the race for the Turkey international.
Lille are understood to value the 23-year-old at just €15m (£13.5m), two-and-a-half years on from signing Celik for €2.5m (£2m) and seeing the defender prove to be a key aspect of Christophe Galtier’s plans at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Everton had held talks with Celik’s representatives earlier in the January window to discuss a potential move to Goodison Park, where Carlo Ancelotti is said to be searching for his long-term successor to Seamus Coleman.
But Celik is now said to favour a move to Roma, where Paulo Fonseca’s side sit fourth in the Serie A and nine points behind leaders AC Milan after losing 3-0 to SS Lazio in the Rome derby last Friday.
Word that Celik is favouring a move to the Stadio Olimpico as the Giallorossi ramp up negotiations with Lille has left Ancelotti with one choice to make: Who does he envisage being Everton’s right-back in years to come?
The Toffees have been linked with a handful of names of late, including Norwich City’s Max Aarons, Rangers’ James Tavernier and more recently Brighton and Hove Albion’s Tariq Lamptey, on top of Lille’s Celik, as Ancelotti strives to find a long-term option in the position.
Ancelotti must decide swiftly if Celik is the one to fill the role, or if the Blues would be better served waiting until the summer when they may have the chance to sign a player like Lamptey.
So far this season, Lamptey has emerged as the best attacking option between Coleman, Celik and himself with a higher volume of shots per game (0.5), key passes (0.9) and successful dribbles (1.2) in the Premier League, per WhoScored.
Celik, for his efforts in Ligue 1, ranks second among the trio for shots (0.4 to Coleman’s 0.3) and key passes (0.8 to Coleman’s 0.4), but third for dribbles (0.6 to Coleman’s 0.8). He also displays better defensive traits with a higher average of successful tackles (3.2), interceptions (1.8) and joint-most clearances (1.5) and blocks (0.2).
Lamptey, meanwhile, is last compared to Celik and Coleman with 1.5 tackles, 0.6 times dribbled past, blocks (0.1) and clearances (0.8) and second for interceptions (1.7) and for least fouls committed (1.9).
So, for just €15m (£13.5m), Celik would offer a very well-rounded and young option to rival Coleman for honours at right-back, but Ancelotti may be too late in his pursuit.