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Everton must challenge Bournemouth for Kieran Tierney

The Scottish international could be the perfect long-term replacement to Everton stalwart Leighton Baines.

Mathew Coull

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This week it was reported that Bournemouth have made Celtic defender Kieran Tierney one of their top transfer targets for the summer. Sky Sports suggest that Eddie Howe wants to improve his left-back options and the Scottish international is now their number one target for the position.

But if Bournemouth are going for Tierney, then Everton need to up the ante if they are keen on the player.

Everton need to improve their defensive options. The left-back position, in particular, is a major concern at Goodison Park. When Leighton Baines suffered an injury earlier this season the alarming lack of cover in the position left Cuco Martina filling in admirably.

The fact is, Baines is reaching the latter years of his career and a long-term replacement needs to be sought. Of all the options available to Everton, Tierney could, in fact, be the best.

The Bhoys defender is a similar player to Baines, in that he is a major threat going forward. He will struggle to match the assist record that Baines has had at Everton over the years, but he would certainly be an attacking option.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The main difference between the pair, however, could be that Tierney is better defensively. He has played at centre-back in the past and that may be a reason to consider Tierney something of a Baines upgrade going forward.

Some will dismiss the Scotsman as perhaps not being ready for regular Premier League football. But Everton must look at the success Liverpool have had with Tierney’s countryman Andrew Robertson and realise the Celtic player is worth a chance.

Last summer, a report from the Daily Mail suggested Celtic valued Tierney at £17 million. But after an improvement this season and the signing of a new deal in October, that fee could end up being more.

But Everton have shown they are not afraid to invest in young talent recently and Tierney could be the answer to their left-back problem for many years to come. If Bournemouth are stepping up the chase for the 20-year-old talent, then Everton must make sure they respond.

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Everton

Everton’s pursuit of Tom Pearce shows lack of confidence in Antonee Robinson

Everton are in the hunt for the Leeds youngster but already have a player of similar ability.

Mathew Coull

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It seems as though change is afoot in the left-back position at Everton. Leighton Baines could be ending his 11-year stay at Goodison Park and Luke Garbutt is also set to leave the club. Everton were already low in the left-back position, so new signings need to be made.

One player who has been linked with a move to Everton is Leeds United youngster Tom Pearce. The 20-year-old is out of contract at Leeds and Everton are hopeful of convincing the Ormskirk-born talent to head back to Merseyside. He spent his youth in the Everton academy, before leaving for Leeds in 2014.

Pearce has performed well for Leeds since entering the first-team and it appears Everton are ready to bring him home.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

But the pursuit of Pearce must surely not sit well with one of their current talents. Antonee Robinson looks like being a potential future star for Everton if given the right opportunity.

This season has been something of a breakout for the 20-year-old. He played 34 times for Bolton Wanderers during a loan spell this season. His form was so impressive that he even received a national team call-up. He was in the United States national team squad for the March fixture with Panama but did not receive his first cap for his country.

But the pursuit of Pearce certainly sends out the wrong message to Robinson. Both players are the same age, play in the exact same position and had breakout years in the Championship last term.

(during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on April 13, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Everton however, instead of giving Robinson a chance in the first-team next season, were prepared to replace him with an identical player.

Robinson may need another season out on loan to eventually go on and become a regular for Everton. But bringing in someone who would, effectively, replace him makes little sense.

It is hardly a strong tactic toward building up the confidence of one of your young talents.

Robinson should be getting the chance to show what he can offer before Everton bring in another player and push him down the pecking order.

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Everton

Everton must swoop with Milan set to let Ricardo Rodriguez go

Everton are looking for a long-term replacement to Leighton Baines.

Mathew Coull

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It seems as though Ricardo Rodriguez could be on his way out of AC Milan after just one season at the San Siro. According to a report from Calcio News 24 the Milan head coach Gennaro Gattuso is not convinced by the Swiss international and is prepared to let him go in the summer. Tutto Mercato Web also reports a similar view. They believe Milan will sign Cristiano Biraghi from Fiorentina this summer to replace the left-back, with Rodriguez a target for Borussia Dortmund.

Rodriguez was signed last summer from VfL Wolfsburg. Rated as one of the best left-backs in the world during his time at the German club, Milan paid a fee in the region of £13 million to bring him to Italy, as reported by the Daily Mail, potentially rising to £15.6 million.

(Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

That was seen as a bargain at the time and, even at a more expensive price, Everton should be taking note.

It seems that after 11 years Everton legend Leighton Baines has decided he will leave Goodison Park this summer. He is said to be keen on a move to MLS and will leave as perhaps one of the club’s greatest ever full-backs.

But his exit leaves a chasm in the left-back position. Everton are believed to be keen in Leeds youngster Tom Pearce, but still need a first-team replacement for the departing England international.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Rodriguez is almost a carbon copy of Baines. A left-back who can do his defensive duties, but also adds an extra dimension in attack.

The Swiss star has an excellent delivery and will chip in with assists in a similar style to Baines. He is also a set-piece specialist, like Baines. Free-kicks and penalties often represent a chance for the 25-year-old to get on the scoresheet.

This season has not been Rodriguez’s best. With just two assists, both coming in the Europa League, the defensive style of Milan’s play has stifled his attacking streak.

But Rodriguez is perhaps a better defender than Baines and would fit into the Premier League with relative ease.

If Everton were looking for a replacement for Baines, then Milan have just handed them the perfect option on a plate if they move fast.

Securing Rodriguez’s signature before the World Cup would be a massive coup for Everton, and perhaps solve the problem of replacing Baines in the long-term.

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Everton would be foolish to allow Leighton Baines to leave for MLS on a free

The 32-year-old is a fan favourite at Goodison Park.

Max Cohen

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Leighton Baines
Photo: Getty Images

Reports this week in The Sun have sensationally claimed that Everton left-back Leighton Baines is set to move to Major League Soccer this summer on a free transfer.

The report is likely to simply be a rumour, but regardless, the Toffees should not be looking to ship off the club legend after more than a decade at Goodison Park.

The England international recently endured an injury-hit season, missing 15 matches due to a calf injury, yet is still an integral part of the squad.

At 33 years of age, there is no doubt that Baines’ best years are behind him. But the defender is still an assured presence at the back while also serving as a superb leader and ambassador for Everton.

Baines celebrated his 400th Everton match in April, a laudable achievement for a true servant of the club.

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

The left-back has constantly handled himself with utter class during his spell at Everton and has an unquestionable love for the club, notably speaking out on the lack of team chemistry during Roberto Martinez’s reign.

And even during the low points of Everton’s disappointing 2017/18 season, Baines has maintained his excellent level of desire, determination, and loyalty.

His current contract runs until the summer of 2019, and the Merseyside club would be misguided if they let the left back depart before that date. Baines has become synonymous with Everton over the past 11 years, and can clearly still play at football’s highest level.

If he was to depart to the far weaker American league for a retirement send-off, it would represent a grave mistake for both player and club.

Leighton Baines must resist interest from Major League Soccer and remain at Goodison Park, where has achieved legendary status and still has a Premier League future.

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