Everton to miss out on ‘new Kante’

Everton look set to miss out on Moises Caicedo a midfielder who has been likened to Chelsea star N’golo Kante, as the Ecudorian seems about to sign for Brighton and Hove Albion.

This player was linked with a move to Everton and a host of Premier League clubs recently. The 20-year-old has been favourably compared to Kante, who has been one of the best midfield enforcers in the game over the past four or five seasons.

Now perhaps a little surprisingly the Colombian looks set to sign for the South coast club. I say that with no disrespect to the Seagulls, but Caicedo is a young player with it seems great potential and to be honest if he’s half as good as Kante he would surely be of genuine interest to clubs in and around the top four.

The Toffees were one of the clubs now in that Champions League mix who were apparently keeping track of him and his progress in South American football. And he fits that Marcel Brands type: a young South American player with the potential to get even better.

Caicedo is a midfielder with all the attributes of Kante. He’s quick, a tough tackler, intercepts play very well and uses the ball efficiently. These often unsung qualities are key to all successful sides just as much as talented attackers and provide a critical element in teams that win the big prizes.

But he also offers a genuine goal-threat from midfield and that according to Tim Vickery (who knows his South American players) means he is potentially even better than Kante.

Caicedo’s qualities also make him similar to a player Everton badly missed last season after he left: Idrissa Gueye.

The Senegal midfielder was instrumental to how the Blues side played under Marco Silva and was a big loss when he left Goodison Park for PSG eighteen months ago.

Everton struggled badly without him throughout the last campaign, especially as his replacement Jean-Philippe Gbamin, has hardly played a game since he signed because of injuries.

Carlo Ancelotti made solving this lack of energy and defensive strength in midfield a major priority and so he brought in Brazilian ball-winner Allan from Napoli last summer.

Allan has been excellent since joining the club and his recent absence through injury is certainly being felt at the moment. He’s provided that defensive edge and important protection for the Toffees still at times inconsistent defence.

Signing another defensive midfielder isn’t an immediate priority at the moment, there are issues in other positions that need addressing more urgently in the next few transfer windows.

However, Allan is almost 30 and while he probably has at least two or maybe three seasons left in him the grind of the Premier League will take it’s toll, as it has done already this season.

If Gbamin can’t recover his fitness and form, finding a longer-term replacement is not going to be easy as players with these qualities are at a premium.

Caicedo seems ideal and while there are no doubt other candidates around, getting one who is young and hungry for a very modest fee would appear to be good business for Brighton.

If he’s a success there and does indeed become a player as effective as Kante, or better, then he won’t be staying at the Amex Stadium for long and will certainly command a big fee when he moves on.