According to Portuguese publication Correio da Manhã, reported via Sport Witness, Everton have made an approach to Yacine Brahimi, with a view to signing the attacker on a free transfer in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Everton, and Premier League rivals Wolves, are both credited with having offered ‘proposals’ to the 29-year-old.
Brahimi’s current contract with Porto is set to expire at the end of this campaign. As a free agent, the winger ought to attract plenty of interest from major European clubs, and the Toffees could already be leading the race for his signature.
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This news may provide some welcome excitement for the Goodison Park faithful, but before the Merseyside club rush to get a deal for the 39-cap Algeria international done, they must weigh up all of the pros and cons.
Everton boss Marco Silva is currently under pressure – he has admitted as much himself – due to his side’s dismal recent run of form. At this time, for the club to be seen to be already closing in on a summer deal could boost his standing in the eyes of fans, but long-term, signing Brahimi could do the under-fire Portuguese coach more harm than good.
Previous incumbents of the hot seat at Goodison Park have overloaded the Toffees’ squad in a certain area of the pitch. During Ronald Koeman’s reign, he had far too many players all vying for the No. 10 berth. The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Nikola Vlasic were all competing for the same place in the team.
All four of these attacking midfielders had been signed in the same summer window. This over-stocking of one position left Koeman’s squad unbalanced, lacking cohesion, and cultivated an unhealthy atmosphere. Ultimately, the Dutchman’s position became untenable.
With Richarlison, Theo Walcott, Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bernard (as well as Sigurdsson, who is capable of playing out wide) all currently vying for a starting place on the flanks, Silva runs the risk of reintroducing the old issue of overload with the addition of Brahimi.
Of course, Silva could let one wide player go in order to make room for Brahimi, but who? Richarlison and Bernard are both in their first season at the club, whilst Walcott has only been on Merseyside since last January. All three, then, will be on long contracts and unlikely to want to move on.
Lookman is an exciting young prospect and a fan favourite. Those on the terraces will want to see the England under-21 international getting more game time next season, not being knocked down in the pecking order by Brahimi’s arrival. Calvert-Lewin, too, has great potential and featured heavily this season.
The forced exit of any one of these wingers could be accepted if Brahimi’s talent justified it. However, the Porto man’s quality is not worthy of such a risk on Silva’s part. Brahimi’s return of 50 goals and 40 assists in 199 career games for Porto is impressive but not incredible. This is especially true when considering this has been achieved in the Portuguese top flight – the level of which is significantly beneath the Premier League in terms of quality and competitiveness.
Silva has other areas of his squad in greater need of improvements in the summer. Those should be his focus. If he is to bolster his flanks, it must be with a more reliable and exciting talent, capable of taking the Toffees to the next level. A move for Brahimi though could all too easily backfire.