This weekend has seen Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks linked with a move to Everton. It was reported by the Sun that Everton have joined a host of other Premier League clubs, including West Ham, in pursuit of the defender.
Fredericks has had a fine season with Fulham in the Championship. The 25-year-old has played 37 times for the Cottagers this campaign and is rightly a wanted man. His contract at Craven Cottage expires in the summer and a deal has not yet been signed to keep him in West London.
With that in mind, Everton would be getting the Tottenham academy graduate on a free transfer.
But Everton should not be interested in bringing Fredericks to Goodison Park. As good as he is and how tempting a free transfer acquisition must be, his arrival would be a shock.
Everton are short in the left-back department, with Cuco Martina playing there for a while this season. However, on the opposite side is another story.
The Toffees recently welcomed back Seamus Coleman to first-team action after his horror leg-break. This season has also seen the emergence of Jonjoe Kenny. The England under-20 World Cup winner is one of the best young right-backs in English football and deserves more chances in the Everton squad. Martina is also an ever present and willing competitor. Add Mason Holgate, who is more than capable as a right-back, and Everton are well and truly overstocked in the right-back position.
Fredericks is a brilliant option, especially on a free transfer. But Everton simply don’t need him. If he was left-footed, this would be an entirely different conversation. But if Everton bring in Fredericks it would simply stifle the progress of Kenny and the Fulham man would be behind Coleman in the pecking order anyway.
Everton are hopefully doing more behind the scenes to find a left-sided defender rather than putting their energy into the signing of Fredericks this summer.
Mason Holgate display shows Yerry Mina he has a fight on his hands
The Everton defender put in an assured performance v Southampton this weekend.
Everton took on Southampton in the Premier League yesterday, picking up their first win of the Marco Silva era. Goals from Theo Walcott and Richarlison proved enough for the victory, despite Danny Ings grabbing one back.
Everton impressed on a day when they were forced into a change at the back. Phil Jagielka had been red-carded in the opening day 2-2 draw with Wolves. With the club captain absent, a centre-back had to step in alongside Michael Keane.
Silva went with Mason Holgate over loanee Kurt Zouma. The young defender put in an assured display at the back, as he did many times last season in the heart of defence.
It certainly seems the 21-year-old is ahead of Zouma in the pecking order.
But what about Yerry Mina?
Everton have just paid Barcelona £28.5 million to sign the Colombian, after his impressive World Cup in Russia. However, he arrives with a minor foot injury which means he was not able to take to the field.
But Holgate’s performance should demonstrate to Mina that getting in the first-team at Everton will not be a procession.
Holgate, after years of trying to establish himself as a regular first XI player will see this as a perfect opportunity.
Mina will need to be up for a fight. For Everton fans, such strength in competition is only good news for the club.
One winner, one loser as Cuco Martina completes Stoke loan move
The 28-year-old completed a loan switch to the Championship.
The Curacao international had seen his opportunities at Goodison Park limited and will be eager to help the Potters achieve promotion.
Here is one winner and one loser from the loan deal, as Martina will be pleased by the prospect of consistent football but Stoke’s underperforming defenders may be at risk of losing their place.
Winner: Cuco Martina
During his debut year at Goodison Park, Martina always played with impressive desire but never looked like a player of top quality.
The defender, who is more comfortable as a right back, performed with admirable effort when asked to play left back last season, but was largely off the pace.
After Everton purchased ex-Barcelona defender Lucas Digne this summer, Martina must have realised he was not in Marco Silva’s future plans.
A move away from Merseyside will do the Curacao international a world of good, granting him consistent first team football and a chance to shine at an ambitious club looking to return to the top flight.
Loser: Stoke City’s underperforming defenders
The Potters largely kept last season’s Premier League squad intact, including their full-backs Erik Pieters and Moritz Bauer.
However, these same players that were relegated with Stoke are failing to light the Championship on fire. The club is still searching for its first win of the season and is mired in 22nd in the league after the first two matches.
With the addition of Martina, Pieters and Bauer will undoubtedly be looking over their shoulders nervously and wondering if their first team berth is at risk.
The two underperforming full-backs could be axed from Gary Rowett’s lineup in favour of the Everton loanee, as Martina will be eager to prove his worth at his new club.
Pundits believe home field advantage is key for Everton
Even two former Liverpool men are backing the Toffees this weekend.
Everton returned to Premier League action last weekend with a thrilling 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Wolves but improvement is required for the Toffees.
New club-record signing Richarlison hit the ground running by netting a superb brace to catch the eye on his debut, although there was not much joy defensively for the Merseyside outfit – particularly following Phil Jagielka’s red card.
The Toffees host Southampton this weekend and Silva’s side have been unanimously backed to ensure all three points remain at Goodison Park by a trio of pundits; Mark Lawrenson, Michael Owen and Paul Merson.
Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson had the kindest words to say about the Toffees when making his weekly predictions for the BBC, praising Everton supporters for always contributing a superb atmosphere whatever the game or the occasion – and he expects the stands to be rocking for Silva’s first game in charge.
“The Everton fans will appreciate the football that new boss Marco Silva tries to play and there will be a great atmosphere for his first home game in charge – there always is at Goodison Park, no matter how good the team are.”
That view is echoed by Merson, who believes there will be a buzz around the stadium and a sense of optimism after a positive result away from home against Wolves – and he told Sky Sports that Richarlison will provide the key to all three points, predicting a narrow 1-0 victory.
Last season Everton’s record at home proved to be crucial come the end of the campaign, as the Toffees won ten of their 19 matches at Goodison Park, drawing four and losing five – all of which came against sides in the Premier League’s top seven.
In comparison, the Toffees were woeful on the road as they lost ten times – including winnable games against Southampton, Bournemouth, Burnley, Watford and West Ham. On the road, Everton only managed to beat Newcastle, Stoke and Huddersfield.
While the platform for any success for Everton this season will certainly be built by results at Goodison Park, it’s the form away from home that will decide whether the campaign is memorable or forgettable under the guidance of Marco Silva.
Everton aspire to be back in European competitions next year and that’s where away trips become even more difficult but the Toffees have completed good business this summer by drafting in the likes of Richarlison and Yerry Mina, the latter of whom Michael Owen told BetVictor he expects to make his debut on Saturday – and they will need the Colombia international to immediately settle into the rigours of the Premier League.
Owen’s prediction of an ‘entertaining game’ at Goodison Park is likely to be proven true as the two teams conceded a combined total of 114 goals last season, 58 of which were shipped by Everton.
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