According to Noticias de Gipuzkoa, Everton and Liverpool are both interested in signing Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente.
If the Reds’ interest is serious, then Everton would do well to win the race for the 25-year-old’s signature. However, if there is a chance of the Toffees being able to bring the Spaniard to Goodison Park this summer, then he is a target the Merseyside club should pursue.
Considering the two-cap Spain international has a Transfermarkt valuation of just £15.75 million, he ought to be well within Everton’s financial reach. However, bringing Llorente to Goodison to join Marco Silva’s squad would certainly have knock-on effects. We consider the potential consequences below…
Kurt Zouma is currently on loan at Everton from Chelsea. The Frenchman has impressed generally this season and has been a regular starter under Silva. If they were able to, Everton would probably want to make the 24-year-old’s move to Merseyside a permanent one.
However, a move for Llorente would suggest that Everton are resigned to the fate of losing Zouma this summer, something that may well be tied to the fact Chelsea won’t be able to recruit players in the next two transfer windows due to their transfer ban.
Another player whose future would be cast into doubt by the arrival of Llorente is Phi Jagielka. The 36-year-old club-captain is out of contract anyway at the end of this campaign, but Silva has shown that he is open to extending the veteran former England international’s terms, or at least he hasn’t yet decided against it.
Yet, the acquisition of Llorente would surely eliminate the need to keep Jagielka at the club. After more than a decade at with Everton, fans will be sad to see the centre-back go, but it would likely be the inevitable outcome of Llorente’s arrival.
If Llorente were to be signed, then he would join Michael Keane and Yerry Mina – both also signed within the last couple of years – in battling for a starting berth in the heart of the Toffees’ defence. As things stand, the Portuguese manager generally lines his side up with a back four. However, with three talented centre-backs on his books, he may be tempted to switch to a back three.
This move may offset some of his side’s frailties in the middle of the park. Aside from Idrissa Gueya, Everton lack steely, battling defensive-midfielders capable of breaking up opposition attacks. With an extra centre-back behind them, though, this may well matter less and make the team less vulnerable defensively – it will also allow Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne to get a little further forward, where their qualities stand out the most.