Well here’s a story we haven’t heard about for a while as according to reports today, Everton are once more eyeing up a possible move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
This rumour was the hot story of last summer’s transfer window as the want-away Ivory Coast winger was linked with a blockbuster move to Everton, or possibly Arsenal.
The whole thing rumbled on for a few weeks as media outlets reported the two clubs were locked in a battle for the wide man, then valued at a ludicrous £80 million by his club.
The Blues apparently made a bid of around £50 million, which was immediately rejected. These reports also claimed Zaha was prepared to move to Merseyside, despite his preference being to stay in London.
There were stories the Toffees went back in for Zaha but the club always denied it. Anyway after a mini soap-opera with this rumour and that, nothing happened and Zaha stayed put.
In the end, Everton signed Alex Iwobi instead in a deal that took place right at the death of the transfer window. That hasn’t exactly worked out, has it?
I had mixed feelings about this always fairly unlikely Zaha transfer deal. The Palace winger is obviously a genuinely talented attacker who last year was regarded as perhaps the best player currently playing for a club outside the top six.
In some ways a deal for Zaha would have been that marquee signing that many people thought Everton always needed to make to show they were serious about competing for top honours.
80 million quid though was always an absurd amount to pay for a player who had, apart from a brief unsuccessful sojourn at Manchester United, never played for a major club.
Coming back to this season, and recent games against Tottenham, Southampton and Wolves, have underlined once more the Blues chronic lack of pace, creativity and goal-scoring threat from midfield. So inevitably the club will be linked with players like Zaha again.
The 27-year-old hasn’t had as good a campaign this time round. That combined with the financial uncertainty created by the Covid crisis, means according to these reports, he might be much more affordable now with Palace forced to cash in this time. If that’s true they must be regretting not taking the money that was on the table last summer!
I’m still not convinced that Zaha is the right sort of player for Everton, although if he was available at a massively reduced price and wanted the move, perhaps he would be worth signing.
However, I think that the number one priority is to sort out centre-midfield first and foremost. The Toffees simply must find the right combination of power, energy and defensive strength in the engine room during this transfer window.
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And I know I keep on about it, but I still feel that Carlo Ancelotti should consider moving to a 4-3-3 to best take advantage of the players at his disposal.
Perhaps though if there is enough money in the transfer kitty, Ancelotti can sign a couple of centre midfield players and Zaha, and keep playing his favored 4-4-2.
Related to this and talking of Palace, or ex-Palace wingers in this case, Yannick Bolasie has been reiterating his desire to re-start his abortive Everton career under Ancelotti.
The wide man signed in 2016 has been a massive disappointment since that move. After a series of loan moves and injuries over the past few seasons, Bolasie wants to come back to Goodison Park and win a place in the first team again.
He’s become a forgotten man at Goodison Park, as is the case with so many players Everton have signed in recent years! Like Zaha, when he joined the Blues, he was a generally well-regarded if a little inconsistent attacking player able to operate right across the frontline.
Although it seems a little unlikely, perhaps if he could rediscover his best form and teamed up with his former Palace colleague Zaha, it might just give the Toffees in effect two new wide attackers for the price of one..?