One of the main areas of the team for Everton to focus on improving in this summer’s transfer window, is right-back.
Everton have been linked with a host of new right-sided defenders as they look at strengthening that side of the team and seek a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman.
We’ve seen stories about this or that player, but the one most often associated with a move to Goodison Park this summer is Norwich City’s young right-back Max Aarons.
He’s a very talented player and has attracted plenty of attention from a host of Premier League and other clubs across Europe. Everton do seem to be very keen on acquiring him this summer.
But as a result of his performances, Aarons will probably command a big fee and that together with the fact that the Blues might not have European football to offer him compared to rivals, means they could struggle to secure his signature.
So are there any other potential and more affordable alternatives to Aarons out there?
One player who might meet the Toffees need and would be a little cheaper is Djed Spence. The 20-year-old Middlesborough player is yet another right-back who has been previously linked with Everton but those stories have since gone cold.
Now there are renewed albeit tentative rumours about Spence and I think he might well be a good option, especially if Aarons’ fee is prohibitive.
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The Boro player isn’t perhaps the best defensively, but he is a fine attacking player who is versatile and can play all along the right flank.
He’s bigger and stronger than Aarons, which seems to be a significant consideration and would also fit in well with the sort of flexible back three or five that Carlo Ancelotti has often played recently.
Coleman’s greatest strength is his attacking instincts not so much his defensive contribution as Everton can call on Mason Hogate or Ben Godfrey for that.
But the Irishman is plagued by injury and at 32 is probably not going to be able to play at the top level for more than another year or two.
So obviously the Toffees need a replacement for him and a player who can offer pace, energy and the necessary balance opposite Lucas Digne.
At 20 Spence is young and he has been playing the Championship so there might be concerns in that respect. Although the sames things could be said of Aarons as he’s a similar age and has played most of his football at that level too.
So there are always possible question marks about whether he could step up, but he would seem an ideal type of player to bring in and would have the experience and nous of Coleman to help him develop further and become an effective long-term successor.