After Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti claimed that his goalkeeper Jordan Pickford wasn’t gong to be replaced, he has now said that winger Theo Walcott probably won’t be leaving in this transfer window either.
Walcott has been one of the players who has steadily receded into the depths of the Toffees ever-expanding and bloated squad as his first-team appearances have become fewer and fewer.
Of course Walcott’s form has been pretty awful for a long time, which is the main reason he’s not had a look-in for so long.
Apart form the odd game, he has failed to perform with any consistency or conviction, virtually since he signed for the Blues back in January 2017. He would be right near the top of many Evertonians’ list of players to be sold, if any decent offers come in for him.
And now, the arrival of the Blues three star signings, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and particularly James Rodriguez, has put his future as an Everton player very much in doubt.
But Ancelotti has been describing how he has struggled to leave the 31-year-old out of his recent Premier League match-day squads against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, claiming it was a tough decision as he has been training well.
Competition for places is fierce now with the new signings and emerging young talents such as Anthony Gordon and Niels Nkounkou who are also pushing for first-team opportunities.
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Walcott has an almighty fight on his hands to get into the Toffees team again and will have to raise his game a great deal if he wants to get back into Ancelotti’s squads, never mind his first-eleven.
Perhaps part of the reason for Ancelotti’s statement is his realisation that the Toffees are now very unlikely to get another wide attacking talent in before the transfer window closes.
The priority with limited finances is going to be to bring in another central defender. And given the fact there is only two weeks of the window left, getting a player like Wilfried Zaha for example, looks very much a long shot, even if the money was available.
So the Everton manager might well be thinking he might need the option at least of Walcott’s pace, if nothing else, on the flanks this season.
Meanwhile, one of the most significant changes that have occurred since the new additions have joined, is that this has forced existing players to raise their game if they want a future in royal blue. Some players, like another almost forgetten man, Bernard and Seamus Coleman, seem to be responding to this pressure. The question is can Walcott too?