According to the ever-accurate Daily Star, England international Ross Barkley will become the subject of a £50million bid from Chelsea come the end of the summer. And recently linked to Manchester City too, the Everton midfielder could soon find himself at the epicentre of a bidding war between the Premier League’s summit.
Of course, Roberto Martinez denies the 20-year-old is for sale, but £50million would constitute the second-largest transfer in English top flight history – to quote The Godfather, clearly this is an offer the Toffees can’t refuse.
That will undoubtedly lead to disappointment at Goodison but it will also leave the Mersey outfit privy to some enormous spending power. And just in case Martinez is short on a few idea of how – or more accurately, whom – to splash the cash, we’ve come up with FIVE ways the Everton gaffer could spend the £50million Barkley fund.
[ffcvideo file=”TopFiveVideosoftheWeek” type=”mp4″]
A long-term target of Roberto Martinez, Derby County’s Will Hughes is amongst a rare few young, home-grown midfielders who epitomise the Everton manager’s technically-demanding philosophy.
Indeed, the 19 year-old works with tenacious energy, whilst his quality in possession even lured scouts from Barcelona to Pride Park back in 2012. He was one of the Championship’s most consistent midfielders in that regard last season, as detailed below:
By no means a one-trick bony, Hughes produced consistent output last term and also demonstrated his defensive capabilities:
That earned the England U21 the Football League Young Player of the Year award for 2013/14, becoming a major feature of the Rams’ promotion push as they reached the play-off final. Here’s a look at his highlights from last season:
Everton came close to signing the Junior Lion in summer 2013, rivalling interest from Liverpool. The ultimate issue proved to be Derby’s valuation of their prodigy midfielder, but that would be eradicated (and then some!) by the £50million Barkley fund.
That being said, the Toffees may find Hughes unwilling to change clubs if the Midlands outfit make it to the Premier League next season.
Likely transfer fee: £12million-£20million
An audacious suggestion perhaps, but it’s not every day Everton have a hypothetical £50million to spend. And in terms of direct replacements for Ross Barkley, proven at Premier League level in the No.10 role, few strike the balance between quality, price-tag and likely availability better than Manchester United’s Juan Mata.
The Spain international only moved to Old Trafford last January in a then-club record £37million deal, after falling out of favour with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. Yet, both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal have struggled to find the right role for the midfielder, and there are now reports that he could be booted out of Carrington in the next transfer window:
— The Sun – Football (@TheSunFootball) September 23, 2014
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) September 26, 2014
Indeed, Mata may have struggled under his last three managers but he’d still be a sensational coup for Everton, on par with their £28million permanent capture of Romelu Lukaku this summer.
It wasn’t long ago he won back-to-back Player of the Year awards at Chelsea, in addition to the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship with La Roja. His overall Premier League record stands at an impressive 26 goals and 31 assists in 101 appearances.
Here’s the 26 year-old’s stats from his final year at Chelsea – the most recent season where Mata was an essential part of a starting XI:
And a look at him in action:
Admittedly, Mata may have his sights set a little higher than Everton and his wages, reportedly a ridiculous £140k per week, would be an issue.
But the £50million fund gives Everton enormous freedom in this regard, and the Spaniard is the calibre of signing that would break the glass ceiling between the Toffees and the top four.
Likely transfer fee: £20million-£25million
With Sylvain Distin approaching 37 years of age and Phil Jagielka not far behind at 32, the heart of Everton’s defence desperately requires an injection of youth.
In that regard and with Ross Barkley’s £50million fund in pocket, the Toffees should rival Arsenal and Spurs for reported centre-back target Fabian Schar:
— Talking THFC™ (@TalkingTHFC) September 20, 2014
Statistically, the 22 year-old was the best defender in the Champions League last season, as viewable below:
And the Swiss international’s World Cup performances weren’t too bad either, making eight interceptions during two outings at Brazil 2014.
Schar has often been compared in style to Jan Vertonghen, sharing the Tottenham defender’s desire to join the attack and score goals; he currently takes spot kick duties for Basel, and once netted this wonder-strike during his FC Wil days:
Indeed, he’s been linked to the likes of Barcelona before and is commonly regarded as one of world football’s more exciting defensive prospects. Here’s a look at Schar in action:
Likely transfer fee:£8million-£15million.
In a bid to add some pace, power and tricky to Everton’s midfield, recent reports claim Roberto Martinez is eying a swoop for Tottenham misfit Moussa Dembele:
— Gary Horkan (@GaryHorkan) September 22, 2014
I certainly have no beef with the Belgium international, but a likeminded alternative of higher quality comes in the form of Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin.
For whatever reason, the Serie A side have been trying to flog the Colombian international for months. In January, they attempted to offload him to Chelsea, then Juventus, and during the summer, Guarin’s agent was forced to deny claims the midfielder had requested a transfer away from the San Siro.
Clearly, Inter believe Guarin’s worth in finance exceeds that on the pitch, but Everton shouldn’t be put off. The 28 year-old is tall, powerful energetic and versatile, capable of operating in central midfield, wide right roles or as a No.10.
Indeed, that central attacking berth has already seen him produce potent form this season, as detailed below:
Following on from a similarly productive 2013/14 campaign:
And some of the Colombian international’s strikes throughout the years have been absolute worldies – take this effort for example:
Here’s another look at the former Porto and St.Etienne star in action:
The South American signed a contract extension until 2017 in March, but it’s clear Inter are still looking to sell.
Likely transfer fee:£15million-£25million.
Along with Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas, Southampton star Jay Rodriguez could be the final piece in an incredibly talented front three for Everton.
The 25 year-old flourished at St. Mary’s last season, with 15 goals making him the third-top scoring Englishman in the Premiership after Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney. Here’s a look at Rodriguez’ highlights from last term:
Indeed, only an ACL injury prevented the former Burnley star from going to the World Cup.
Rodriguez is extremely versatile; he can feature on the left or as an out-and-out striker, using his mixture of height, power and strength to put away a variety of chances. Here’s a breakdown of his goals scored from last season:
And the importance of the winger-forward’s home-grown status cannot be overstated – especially if Everton plan to qualify for the Champions League any time soon.
The England international would be a sensational signing for the Toffees, but they’ll have to fight off considerable competition for his signature – Tottenham and Liverpool are known long-term suitors, whilst he’s recently been linked to Manchester City:
The Star report Man City will rival Tottenham and Liverpool for the signature of Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez. http://t.co/Dlk1YLMBba
— Talking THFC™ (@TalkingTHFC) September 8, 2014
And having issued a stern hands-off warning in the summer, Everton will have to pay top dollar for Rodriguez.
Likely transfer fee:£25million-£30million.