There are conflicting reports about whether Everton have lodged substantial bids for Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The question is, should the Blues be pursuing the Southampton player? Hojbjerg has come onto the radar as Everton seek urgent reinforcements for their fragile midfield.
The Danish international has refused to sign another contract at Southampton and wants a bigger challenge than life at St Mary’s, so the south coast club are willing to listen to offers.
The Toffees have, according to reports, made an initial bid of around £14 million and then went back with an improved offer of £25 million, which was supposedly accepted by the Saints.
However, Hojbjerg’s preferred destination has always apparently been north London, as he has set his sights on playing for Spurs under Jose Mourinho.
So far it doesn’t seem as though Tottenham have made any concrete move for Hojbjerg but it appears he is still keen on that move so is sitting tight until they make a bid.
Well all this makes it pretty obvious the Dane is not interested in coming to Merseyside, certainly not if these reports are to be believed.
Hojbjerg is a strong enough defensive player and would, at least on paper, offer an improvement in that regard on the existing options currently available to Carlo Ancelotti in the middle.
But I’m not convinced that he’s the type of player the Blues really need and if he has no desire to play for the grand old team, then I really don’t think the club should be taking this any further.
Lets face it the Toffees already have too many players on their books who look as though they are just at Goodison Park for the paycheque and seem to have little interest in anything else. Signing another one doesn’t make sense.
Everton also need a midfielder who can offer more offensively than the Dane appears to do. He has only contributed one assist all season and no goals in the Premier League, which is not enough for what the Blues need from new players in the middle.
With Jean-Philippe Gbamin to come back, assuming as I always say, that he does, then the Blues will have the defensive midfield enforcer they need and one who has much more pace as well.
Can the Toffees rely on this scenario? Well I don’t know for sure but there does seem to be plenty of optimism around Finch Farm about Gbamin’s recovery from his latest injury.
And in addition, with the emergence of Jarrad Branthwaite giving Everton another option in central defence, Mason Holgate could also play more in centre midfield to provide that defensive screen, a position where he seems very comfortable and effective.
Further to that there are several young players such as Beni Banningime who deserve a chance to show whether they can provide that alternative.
Anyway I think as regards new additions, the Blues need a more all-round type or two in the middle of the park.
For me that means they should be looking at players such as Abdoulaye Doucoure instead, who we’ve previously mentioned. The Frenchman has been a consistent all-round performer at Watford and was of course a transfer target of Marco Silva last summer.
Doucoure is a powerful box-to-box player who has delivered 4 goals and two assists this season in a struggling Hornets team while also contributing plenty defensively.
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That’s more offensive production than any of the Toffees existing central midfielders and I feel sure he might be able to deliver more in a better side. I also think he would ideally suit playing alongside a defensive player like Gbamin, or operating in a midfield three as well.
Given Watford’s battles to avoid the drop, he might be tempted by a move away from Vicarage Road. And if the Hornets do go down, that would surely make any transfer much more affordable.
There are a few potential issues though with the player. One is the fact he appears to lack concentration and picks up quite a few cards as well.
The other problem is that Everton’s relationship with Watford is precarious to say the least. This stems from that whole Silva tapping-up saga three years ago. However, it didn’t stop Everton securing Richarlison’s signature when Silva took over at Goodison Park in 2018.
Doucoure though represents only one of several similar athletic midfield types who I think would not only offer Everton more in attack than Hojbjerg, but will also be more affordable when the transfer window opens.