Becao stories resurface again and claim Brazilian still in Everton sights

UDINE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 26: Rodrigo Becao of Udinese during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Spezia Calcio at the Dacia Arena on February 26, 2023 in Udine, Italy. (Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images)
UDINE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 26: Rodrigo Becao of Udinese during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Spezia Calcio at the Dacia Arena on February 26, 2023 in Udine, Italy. (Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images) /
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As Everton build up to another massive match away at Chelsea this weekend, transfer rumours continue to swirl around.

Most of them have centred on potential strikers with the Toffees’ alledgedly targetting several forwards who have been previously linked with the club.

And while the main focus of this summer’s transfer plans must be strengthening the side’s anemic attack, Everton also have some midfield and defensive decisions to make too.

The team’s defence had been reasonably sound particularly in the early weeks of the season and wasn’t letting in too many goals.

But, towards the end of Frank Lampard’s time as manager the back four started leaking goals much more frequently.

For most of this season, James Tarkowski and Conor Coady were the two centre-backs at the heart of his defence when Lampard had been forced to return to a flat back four after opening day injuries to Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey.

Of the two, it was Coady whose form declined most of all and the on-loan Wolves player was proving a serious weak link in that Blues’ defence.

There had been lots of talk earlier in the campaign that the Toffees’ would be interested in activating the clause to buy Coady permanently at the end of the season.

That seems much less likely now given how indifferent Coady has been playing.

Although Sean Dyche initially stuck to the pairing he inherited, as Coady continued to struggle he made a change and brought back his ex-Burnley player Michael Keane to re-establish the old partnership Keane had with Tarkowski at Turf Moor.

Keane has plenty of detractors amongst Evertonians and many, including myself. were not convinced playing the chronically error-prone centre half was a good idea.

However, although not totally convincing, Keane has been pretty solid in the last two matches, especially in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Brentford.

Later in the second half of that game Everton were playing with their backs against the wall and holding on desperately as the Bees’ tried to find an equaliser.

Keane stood strong against the physically imposing and powerful Brentford forwards doing his bit to ensure the Blues’ could hold on.

Anyway, while Keane’s future might be a bit more certain now that Dyche is once again his manager and as long as he keeps performing well enough alongside Tarkowski, that’s not the case for some of the Toffees’ other centre-backs.

It seems almost certain that veteran Colombian defender Mina will depart in the summer when his contract expires.

He has suffered constant injury problems ever since he signed and hasn’t had any substantial playing time under Dyche. It looks as though his Everton career is over.

Another player who may well move on after the season finishes is Mason Holgate.

He has never found any consistency since first coming into the team despite numerous chances under a succession of different managers.

Holgate has not got any playing time under the new manager and I would think if any other club shows an interest in him this summer he will be leaving.

Then there is Jarrad Branthwaite. The young centre-back has enjoyed his latest loan spell in Holland and PSV Eindhoven want to keep him permanently. The Toffees’ will have to make a decision on his future too.

So, all this means the Blues’ may well have to look at new defenders this summer. Could Becao be one of them?