Marcel Brands can right his summer wrongs by targeting LOSC Lille full-back and rumoured Everton target Zeki Celik in the January transfer window.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Toffees have been in contact with Celik’s representatives in recent weeks to discuss a potential move to Goodison Park.
AS Roma are currently negotiating a deal for the 23-year-old after a potential move to sign FC Dallas’ teen talent Bryan Reynolds stalled, and could face further competition from Serie A rivals Juventus and Belgian powerhouse Club Brugge.
No side is believed to have yet lodged a formal bid for Celik, who has started 12 of his 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season after an ankle injury forced the 18-cap Turkey defender to sit out three fixtures following the November international break.
Celik returned to action last month and recorded his second assist of the campaign in a 2-0 win over Dijon FCO, while scoring once in the French top-flight and once in the Europa League during a 2-2 draw at home to Celtic earlier in the season.
Everton had contested for Celik’s signature in the summer amid rival intrigue from Tottenham Hotspur, but refused to match Lille’s €20m (£18m) valuation for their specialist full-back who has proven to be powerful in defensive duels and a solid provider of crosses.
Brands must U-turn on his mistake in refusing to meet Lille’s asking price for Celik and strive to strike a deal with a revived raid this winter, with Carlo Ancelotti now said to be on the lookout for his long-term option to succeed Seamus Coleman at Goodison Park.
Celik could be Ancelotti’s perfect option to fill the void Coleman is currently due to leave when his contract expires in 2022, as the Turkey international has continued to shine in France as Lille contend for top-honours with goal difference all that separates Christophe Galtier’s side from table-toppers Olympique Lyonnais.
Both Lyon and Lille have won 10 and lost only one of their opening 17 fixtures but are separated by a single goal, with Galtier’s men proving themselves to be one of Ligue 1’s best defensive unit with a division-low 9.1 shots allowed per game.
Celik has contributed heavily to their efforts with a mammoth 3.2 successful tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 1.5 clearances a game while winning 5.0 duels (4.4 ground, 0.6 aerial), and hits on the break with the relentless gem offering 0.8 key passes, 0.5 shots and 0.2 accurate crosses, per SofaScore.
Lille may demand more for Celik in January than they requested last summer, but Brands can right his £18m mistake by securing a deal in the mid-season market and solving Ancelotti’s full-back concerns.
AND in other news, Everton are showing a determination to sign a £13.5m titan for free…