Everton should consider other Leeds wingers instead of Harrison

After losing the Playoff Final to Southampton, Leeds United face having to potentially sell a number of players and that could benefit the Blues.
Leeds United v Southampton - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final
Leeds United v Southampton - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

The Lillywhite's defeat to Southampton today means they allegedly face a huge financial deficit that promotion back to the Premier League was going to solve. So can Everton take advantage?

That sounds mercenary but football is a harsh business at times and one club's problems could be another's opportunity. And the Blues know all about that.

According to this report, the Yorkshire club were banking on getting that promotion and so there is the potential for a rapid sale of playing talent as the powers that be at Elland Road adjust to another year in English football's second tier.

The Toffees have one of Leeds players already in their squad as Jack Harrison spent the 2023-24 campaign on loan at Goodison Park.

Following this season, the Everton hierarchy appear to be keen to make Harrison's loan a permanent move and that raises questions for me.

Harrison had a solid enough season for the Blues without really shining. And although he works hard for the cause, the 27-year-old does not offer enough in the final third for an attacking player. I am not convinced that is enough for the club to spend significant money on him.

Leeds have several other wide players who might well be available for transfer now as the Lillywhites battle financial oblivion and who could represent a better bet.

The one who would offer the most attacking threat is clearly Crysencio Summerville. But he is likely to attract attention from other Premier League clubs and would almost certainly be out of Everton's price range anyway.

Another to possibly reconsider is a player the Toffees tried hard to sign last summer; Wilfried Gnoto. That long-running saga eventually led to a dead end and the Italy Under-21 star stayed at Elland Road.

It was a frustrating and futile chase and given that history and an even more cash-strapped situation at Goodison Park this summer, I doubt Kevin Thelwell and Sean Dyche want to go down that road again.

So, perhaps the most realistic might be another wide man, the former Manchester United player Daniel James.

The Welsh international has enjoyed a strong season scoring thirteen goals in the Championship. Obviously, that league is not as high a standard but James has plenty of Premier League experience too.

He is a versatile forward - always a potential advantage for a cash-strapped club - who can play on either flank or up front.

Operating wide on the left or right seems to be James' best position and that is precisely where Harrison has mainly played for Everton this season.

While he won't offer the same amount of defensive workrate as his former team-mate - and that is in truth a big part of Dyche's tactical mindset - James does have what this Toffees team surely require most of all from their wide attacking positions and is a goal threat.

In addition, he has pace, something the Blues desperately need more of throughout their team. He also creates plenty of chances and likes to put crosses in too, which is key to the manager's attacking tactics.

And bringing a player like him in could work if the team formation was adjusted with say James Garner Idrissa Gueye and Abdolaye Docuoure operating behind a front three.

I have no idea if James would be available for transfer this summer, but if Leeds financial plight is anything like as bad as suggested, surely there might be a chance he could be prised away.

The other issue though of course is would Everton have enough money to do so anyway?

It is clear some of the current squad will be sold this summer and perhaps that might give the Toffees some wriggle room spending wise.

Leeds have other players that could be worth a closer look as well, but James certainly seems a decent and affordable fit if the Blues want more attacking threat from out wide.