Towards the end of the January transfer window, Everton faced the challenge of fending off Paris Saint-Germain and keeping Idrissa Gueye.
PSG had decided that Gueye was one of their top January targets to bolster their midfield ranks but Everton were determined to keep him.
According to Sky Sports News in late January, PSG submitted a £21.5m bid for Gueye with the player expressing his desire to complete this move.
Despite Everton wanting to keep Gueye, they also lined up a replacement in Lille star Thiago Mendes.
French media outlet La Voix du Nord reports that Everton had Mendes lined up as a £20m like-for-like replacement at the end of January.
In the upcoming summer transfer window, the Toffees may be forced to reconsider this deal if Gueye tries to join PSG again.
But Mendes’ performances for Lille should encourage Everton fans and convince them that he could fill the void in holding midfield at Goodison Park.
The Brazilian midfielder sits deep – just like Gueye – and has impressive figures of 40 interceptions, 59 tackles, 31 clearances and 40 blocks (Who Scored) in 24 Ligue 1 games.
Moreover, the 26-year-old is tidy in possession, providing well over 1000 successful passes this season for Lille.
Mendes has all the ingredients to become a success in the Premier League and Everton could revisit this deal if Gueye moves to PSG.