Does Aaron Lennon have a future at Everton?
Aaron Lennon signed for Everton last summer in a deal worth £4 million, but could his career at Goodison Park be over already?
Last week Ronald Koeman signed Yannick Bolasie, he joins Maarten Stekelenburg, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams who have all committed their future to The Toffees. Such activity has been welcomed by Evertonians, with it looking likely a few more will be in by the end of the window.
But Koeman isn’t finished there with wingers, despite signing Bolasie for £22 million, it appears he’s targeting Yacine Brahimi. The Algerian had been a target of Arsenal’s, but now Everton are in talks with Porto for his signature.
Brahimi was left out of Porto’s Champions League squad last week and is said to favour a move to England – as opposed to China, having already rejected a big money offer this summer.
If Brahimi is to join Everton this summer, does that leave Lennon free to leave?
Lennon is most known for his time with Tottenham Hotspur, however, he began his career with Leeds United. He broke into the first team at Elland Road in 2003, playing eleven games, all of which came from the bench, where Leeds were relegated to the Championship.
He then spent one more season with The Whites, where he featured more regularly; appearing 27 times in the league, starting 17. His performances caught the eyes of many and made a £1million move to Tottenham from money-troubled Leeds.
The 2005/06 season saw Lennon, once again, impress. He played 27 games in the Premier League during his debut season with Spurs and lost out to Wayne Rooney to the PFA Young Player of the Award.
After the impressive season, he made his debut for England during the summer, before returning in similar form for the 2006/07 season. Again, Lennon was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year but lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo. Halfway through the season, Lennon signed a five-and-a-half-year deal.
Lennon continued to play regularly for the next few years but saw himself gradually phased out at White Hart Lane. With the emergence of Andros Townsend and the purchases like Erik Lamela, Lennon saw his first team opportunities limited and joined Everton on loan.
Following a rather successful loan spell on Merseyside, Lennon signed permanently for Everton in the summer of 2015. Last season, Lennon played 25 times in the Premier League and scored five goals – one of his most prolific seasons.
However, with the continued progress of Gerard Deulofeu, the reemergence of Kevin Mirallas, signing Bolasie and the possible signing of Brahimi, where does Lennon fit in?
Vs Deulofeu, Mirallas, Bolasie and Brahimi
*Brahimi’s Champions League statistics used due to availability.
Lennon failed to register an assist during the whole of the 2015/16 Premier League season. Brahimi assisted zero times, though these statistics are from his 10 Champions League games. Mirallas and Bolasie came in fairly low with 0.09 and 0.12 respectively, with Deulofeu leading the way with an average of 0.31 per game.
The Spaniard also fared well in terms of key passes, he provided 1 per game on average, only bettered by Brahimi’s 1.40. Lennon’s 0.92, was, however, higher than Mirallas and Bolasie.
Again, Lennon bettered Mirallas and Bolasie, this time with chances created. He created 0.92 a game, though, it’s fair to say the Belgian didn’t exactly enjoy the past two years under Roberto Martinez. But it was, again, Brahimi who impressed the most, creating 1.40 per game. Deulofeu came just behind with 1.31.
For goals scored, both Lennon and Brahimi hold their heads high, with an average of 0.20, only just above Mirallas’ 0.17 and Bolasie’s 0.19. Deulofeu, however, will be a little disappointed with his average of 0.08.
Porto’s Brahimi was very impressive in one-on-one situations in the Champions League, he completed an average of 7.20 per game, he outperformed all of his counterparts by some way – next was Bolasie with 2.88.
Brahimi, subsequently, also completed the most percentage of take-ons, his 64.86% was impressive, and just enough to beat Lennon’s 59.52%. Deulofeu, Mirallas and Bolasie all figured round 50%.
The Algerian also drew the most fouls in attacking areas, his 2.60 on average per game, was some way ahead of second place Bolasie, who finished the season with 1.27. Lennon was the closest to the pair, with 0.84 on average.
Looking at the statistics, it’s fair to say Brahimi would be a welcome addition to the Everton squad, though his reported price tag of around £35million could stop the move.
Although fans may like Lennon, if Brahimi, or another winger signs, it’s hard to see where he fits in. Whilst Deulofeu, Mirallas and Bolasie are clearly Koeman’s favoured options, another could end his career at Goodison Park.
Koeman, just recently, highlighted the need for power and intensity in his squad, echoed by the signing of Bolasie, though Lennon may not fit the bill. Deulofeu and Mirallas have started the season well, even in different roles, and I can’t see Lennon fitting into the 3-5-2 formation that Koeman likes.
Lennon tends to keep wide and make the pitch as big as possible, whilst Everton’s wingers do that, they also come inside and look to get in beyond Lukaku – which is something they’ve been instructed to do by Koeman.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lennon feature as a substitute late on in games, but I don’t think he’s the player that’ll fit into Koeman’s style.
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