Everton currently have six central defenders on their roster. Come this summer, there is going to be some obvious rejig to the defence department. While upgrading the attack remains a priority in the summer, the Toffees are also looking at possible defensive reinforcements. AS Roma defender Chris Smalling seems to be on the shortlist of Everton.
Everton signed James Tarkowski last summer and acquired Conor Coady on loan, adding two central defenders to the squad. EFC now had Tarkowski, Coady, Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate as central defence options. Jarrad Branthwaite was loaned out to PSV as game time would have been negligible for the burgeoning youngster at Goodison Park amid the multiple options at the table.
This summer, Everton are set to lose Mina on a free transfer as he is likely to walk out as a free agent after his deal runs out. Holgate and Keane have played very little football this season and could be shown the exit door, although, Keane might eventually stay as Sean Dyche knows him well from his Burnley days.
Everton interested in AS Roma defender Chris Smalling
According to 90min, several Premier League teams are queuing for former Manchester United defender Smalling. Everton, Fulham, Leicester City and West Ham United are all keen on the 33 year old, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season if Roma do not trigger the one year extension.
Smalling has been at Roma since 2019, initially joining on loan but later making a permanent switch. The Englishman has become a core member of the Roma side and his solid performances in the Serie A have attracted the attention of four Premier League sides.
Everton do not need Smalling or any new centre back. Even though there is uncertainty over the futures of Holgate, Mina and Keane, Everton have enough quality at the back. There have been indications that Everton will trigger the £4.5 million buy clause in Coady’s deal.
Branthwaite has been impressive at PSV and he would also return after the end of the season. Everton’s blend of experienced defenders like Tarkowski and Coady along with the youthful exuberance of Branthwaite and Godfrey give the Toffees a unique balance in the rearguard.
On the other hand, Smalling is settled in Serie A and would like to continue in the AS Roma backline rather than make a return to the Premier League.
Should EFC sign Chris Smalling?