L’Equipe, via Get French Football News, reported earlier this week that Everton – along with two of their Premier League rivals in West Ham and Aston Villa – are ready to sound out Angers midfielder Baptiste Santamaria over a January move, and his potential arrival could allow the Toffees to bid farewell to Morgan Schneiderlin.
The former Manchester United man got his Goodison Park career off to a positive start having signed from the Red Devils in January 2017, but things started to go wrong for him at the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign when the Merseyside outfit were struggling under Ronald Koeman.
The Frenchman became something of a scapegoat among the Goodison Park faithful, with Sky Sports even reporting in November 2018 that he was sent home from training by caretaker boss David Unsworth because of a lack of effort.
In truth, he has never really recovered from that period despite being named in starting XI on nine occasions in the Premier League this term – mainly thanks to long-term injuries suffered by Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin.
Schneiderlin is 30 years of age and getting no younger, and you would have to feel that Gbamin, Gomes, Fabian Delph and potentially even Tom Davies could be ahead of him in the central midfield pecking order when fit.
That means Everton may need to start looking for a successor to the former Southampton man now, especially with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2021.
Santamaria looks to be a great candidate, coming in at six years Schneiderlin’s junior and currently plying his trade in the French top flight.
The current Premier League player was probably at his peak when he was with Saints in the 2014/15 campaign as per WhoScored, when he averaged 3.7 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per games – for comparison, he had 1.7 and 1.1 respectively for the Toffees last term.
His France compatriot has certainly recorded some impressive numbers for Angers so far this season, recording an average of 2.9 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game.
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Everton wouldn’t be able to offer the 24-year-old the European football he reportedly wants, but the pull of playing for Carlo Ancelotti would surely be tempting.
Managing to bring him to Goodison in the New Year would surely allow them to move Schneiderlin on.
In other Everton news, Carlo Ancelotti has hinted in his programme notes against Burnley that he was impressed with four players in particular against Arsenal…