Everton have been one of the big spenders of this transfer window to date and they haven’t finished their recruitment yet. The Sun report that they are one of the teams that are eyeing a move for West Ham centre-back James Collins. Crystal Palace and Stoke City are also in the running to sign the Welsh international.
This will come as a surprise to a lot of people, as the 33-year-old is reaching the end of his playing career and doesn’t represent an upgrade on the players already in the squad. However, there is logic to the transfer rumour, as Ramiro Funes Mori has been ruled out for most of the coming campaign through injury. That leaves Ronald Koeman with only Michael Keane, Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka to choose from. Mason Holgate is another option, but he does have less experience than the rest.
Another body would ease concerns and provide the squad with balance in the position. Collins has only one yet left on his West Ham contract and there is a belief that a bid of £2 million could land the defender.
Would he be a good signing for Everton?
For a low budget squad signing, James Collins would represent a low risk investment for the Toffees.
They have already spent big money on the rest of the squad and there is no need to for a fourth-choice centre-back, especially if there is one on the market with as much quality as the Welshman.
He knows the Premier League well and has proven himself to be reliable in the top flight. The 33-year-old is dominant in the air and knows his own limitations as a player.
Everton have shown a preference for Premier League experience since Ronald Koeman was given the manager’s job last summer.
One concern that supporters would have about signing Collins is that they already have two centre-backs on the wrong side of 30. It might be a better idea to bring through a young player already at the club such as Holgate or bring one in to Goodison Park.
That said, they do have Funes Mori on the books and this signing could be viewed as a short-term one for this season only. For a fee of £2 million, this would be a solid investment for a season, but the short-termism is a concern for a club trying to break into the top-six.
How likely is a transfer?
Despite Everton being one centre-back short, it does seem unlikely that they will move for James Collins. They already have a talented defender in Mason Holgate and they need to continue to provide him with chances in the first-team.
He will be the first choice right-back until Seamus Coleman returns, which is why a move for a centre-back is on the cards. However, it may be better for the club if they target a right-back, as Holgate’s long-term future is at centre-back.
A transfer to either Crystal Palace or Stoke makes more sense for the Welshman than one to Goodison Park. It is possible, but it would be a surprise if Koeman opted to sign another ageing centre-back.