After so many recent setbacks, Everton possibly have some welcome good news at last as Jordan Pickford appears close to signing his new contract.
Reports this evening claim that the England number one is finally ready to commit his long-term future to the Blues’.
If true, this is a very positive piece of news after a couple of months which for Everton, have been arguably amongst the worst in the club’s history.
And, that is saying something, given how much almost impossible misfortune has afflicted the Toffees’ over the last few years and seasons.
Pickford’s current deal runs out in 2024 and a new contract has been on the table for a while now waiting for the former Sunderland player to put pen to paper.
The fact he hasn’t, is a concern, especially as there have been increasing rumours that Tottenham and also Manchester United are interested in trying to sign him this summer.
It is hardly surprising Pickford is so coveted by those clubs, and possibly others too. The England goalkeeper is arguably hitting his peak at the age of 28 and has been in his best and most consistent form over the last eighteen months or so.
There are some who don’t rate the Everton keeper that highly and it’s true he hasn’t always been at his best playing for his club as opposed to his country, with whom he has almost always excelled.
Pickford has been all to prone to costly individual errors every so often in the Premier League. This has been especially seen in intense, high pressure matches like Merseyside derbies.
Also, particularly earlier on in his career, he was guilty of sometimes seeming distracted and lacking concentration and this also led to irritating mistakes.
However, the last year or more have seen far fewer of these issues and Pickford has become integral to this Toffees’ team.
The run-in to last season was a classic example. Everton were in serious trouble in April and looked very likely to be relegated (nothing changes right!) while facing tough fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United at Goodison Park.
With the need for points becoming desperate, it was likely the Blues’ would have to take something from at least one of those matches.
Thanks in large part to Pickford, Everton secured one goal victories over both clubs to grab six massive points and give themselves renewed hope of staying up.
In the end of course they did survive. But had Pickford not produced several excellent stops against United and then a truly stunning double save in the win over Chelsea, things might have turned out very different.
He might not be quite at the level which Neville Southall reached in the mid-eighties when the Welshman was indisputably the best goalkeeper in the world, but Pickford will surely be a key man again as Everton face having to repeat last season’s escape act once more.
It would certainly be a significant boost to Sean Dyche if his keeper does commit to a new contract, and give a sign to his team-mates and supporters that he still thinks the club has a decent future.