Carlo Ancelotti has begun his tenure as Everton manager today as he officially takes up his post after agreeing a four and half-year deal this week.
So the 60-year-old Italian begins the process of assessing his Everton squad, he will start looking to secure improvements in the team and I’m sure new additions.
I have been trying to temper my enthusiasm yesterday because it’s important to keep our feet on the ground. It’s still though hard to believe that a coach of Ancelotti’s status has joined our club. It’s difficult not to start thinking ahead at what might happen and where this club could go in the next few years.
What then and who, could be his priorities in terms of strengthening the side come the January transfer window?
Ancelotti will be under no illusions that many of the players who pulled on the royal blue shirt yesterday, are not good enough long-term.
I think his initial focus will be to sort out the defence to give the Toffees a sound foundation. In particular Everton need another centre-half to strengthen in that crucial part of the team.
Despite an improvement under Duncan Ferguson, there is still a considerable vulnerability and a lack of depth at the back, in part because the club failed to get another centre-half in the summer.
One player who would fit the bill is Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. Ancelotti obviously knows him well of course and he is a player who has been touted for a move to the Premier League for a while. He fits the bill and might be willing to follow his former boss to England.
Another Napoli player who might be worth considering is right-sided defender Kevin Malcuit. The Frenchman is an extremely strong defensive performer who is also versatile and can play at right-back or in midfield.
If Ancelotti wanted to play a 4-3-3 type formation, Malcuit would be perfect to play on the right side of midfield, screening and supporting his compatriot Djibril Sidibe, who is not the most reliable defensively.
Thinking of midfield, Everton are struggling badly for healthy bodies and in particular for a defensive player to replace Idrissa Gueye. One final player who fits that bill from his former club that Ancelotti might consider pinching, is Spanish midfield dynamo Fabian Ruiz.
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Ruiz is an outstanding all-round defensive midfield man who would provide energy, commitment and ball-winning skills. He is also an excellent passer who would help keep possession when needed but also create plenty of chances too.
France’s Ligue 1 is a very good place to find young up and coming talent and another defensive midfielder who the Toffees have been linked with before, is Tiemoure Bakayoko.
The Frenchman is a top midfield enforcer who was considered a bit of a risk last summer, so the Blues ended up signing a similar, more affordable player in Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Now that Ancelotti is the Toffees manager and he’s had a fine season, might Bakayoko be interested in Everton?
There’s a few possible starting options for the Blues new boss to mull over as the countdown to the January window begins. It should be an exciting time to be an Evertonian.