This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to a report in The Mirror, Everton are keeping tabs on Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling, but the club and director of football Marcel Brands should turn their back on potentially signing him and focus on Mason Holgate’s development instead.
Well, The Mirror says that a clutch of Premier League clubs – including the Toffees – are interested in bringing the 30-year-old back to England when his season-long loan spell with AS Roma comes to an end at the climax of the 2019/29 campaign.
The report says Arsenal and Leicester are two other top flight rivals taking a look at the England international, who looks unlikely to have a future at Old Trafford because of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to bring Axel Tuanzebe through the ranks.
The Mirror adds that the Red Devils have slapped an £18m price on the central defender for any teams who may be interested in prising him away.
Smalling may have impressed during his loan spell in Italy with the report saying both Juventus and Inter Milan have been impressed with his displays, but that doesn’t get away from the fact he would turn 31 just a few months after the earliest stage they could get a deal done next summer.
Did he play for Everton? Simple question but a lot tougher than you think…
Everton have shown with the additions of the likes of Richarlison, Moise Kean and Yerry Mina in recent years that they are keen to look to the future when identifying new recruits, and the United man wouldn’t really fit into that category.
If Solskjaer is ready to place his faith in the 22-year-old Tuanzebe, then the Merseyside outfit should do exactly the same thing with Mason Holgate – for the long-term.
The 23-year-old has now started seven Premier League matches in a row after Marco Silva dabbled with a three-at-the-back system prior to his exit, although he played alongside Michael Keane in a four against Chelsea with Mina absent from the squad.
It was arguably his best performance of the season too as he really stepped up to plate and showed he can perform well at this level, making five tackles, three clearances and winning all six of the duels he faced, as per SofaScore.
When you have a young centre-back playing that well against an in-form striker like Tammy Abraham is, why go and spend £18m on someone who will be 31 next year?
Marcel Brands and Everton should steer clear.
In other Everton news, BBC pundit Garth Crooks has had some interesting advice for the club when it comes to Duncan Ferguson’s future…