This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
According to The Daily Mail, Everton are still keen on a deal for Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, but also have alternatives in the back of their minds with just two days left before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
In the aforementioned report, it is stated that the Toffees may turn their attentions to Old Trafford if a move for Zouma is completely given the red light by Chelsea.
The Merseysiders may attempt to lure one of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones or Marcos Rojo to Goodison Park following the £85m arrival of Harry Maguire, as Marco Silva looks to beef up his backline which has just two centre-backs in it right now – Yerry Mina and Michael Keane.
But who should Everton target out of the three?
As you can see, we have excluded Rojo as he only made five appearances last term, so let’s take a more in-depth look at Smalling and Jones.
Judging by the stats, the pair are fairly well matched. Smalling beats Jones in the tackles per game department with 1.3 compared to the former Blackburn man’s 1.1, although the shoe is on the other foot when it comes to interceptions.
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However, the £18m-rated Smalling just edges it. The 29-year-old makes a whole clearance per game more than the United No.4, and also makes 0.4 more blocks per game on average.
Furthermore, Smalling has missed just eight games through injury since the end of the 2016/17 season, whereas Jones is not available as often as his fellow centre-back – the 27-year-old has missed 22 games in the same time period.
Of course, given how long the pursuit of Zouma has gone on for this summer, the France international appears to be the No.1 target for Silva and Everton.
If they simply can’t pull it off though, Smalling would be a decent alternative and should unquestionably be considered as favourite ahead of Jones and Rojo.