According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Everton have reportedly stolen a march on Premier League rivals West Ham United in the race to sign Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, and his potential arrival at Goodison Park could have an impact on the futures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Theo Walcott.
Well, Ornstein said in his Monday round-up that the Toffees are leading the Hammers in the bid to bring the highly-rated 20-year-old to the Premier League.
The Athletic journalist says that while no agreement is yet in place, discussions are ongoing about an 18-month loan deal with the option of a £34m permanent move at the end of it.
The report adds that new manager Carlo Ancelotti is keen to freshen up his squad – which is no surprise given their second-half display against Liverpool on Sunday – and that the Portugal U21 international prefers a move to the English top flight.
During his successful seasons with Benfica B and then the first team in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, Fernandes primarily played in a central/attacking midfield role as per the matches where his position was recorded by Transfermarkt.
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However, it has been a slightly different story for the young Portuguese this term when his game time has been more limited, with Transfermarkt reporting that seven of his 13 outings have come on the right-hand side.
So far, Carlo Ancelotti has tweaked formations but has largely stuck with a system incorporating three centre-backs – including Seamus Coleman – and wing-backs in Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe, with Gylfi Sigurdsson in the centre.
That has seen the likes of Theo Walcott feature on the right in more of a 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-3, which is a position he has become familiar with throughout his playing career.
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The fact that Fernandes can play both of these positions should be a worry for the 30-year-old duo then, as Everton look to the future.
There is plenty of competition for places when everyone is fit anyway, but the arrival of the versatile and highly-rated 20-year-old could only serve to push both down the pecking order in their respective positions – indeed, Football Insider claim that Ancelotti wants rid of Sigurdsson anyway,
Meanwhile Walcott was very up and down with his display – but mainly down – in the match at Anfield on Sunday and has never really lived up expectations following his move from Arsenal, scoring nine goals and providing a further seven assists in 72 appearances for the Toffees.