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Who is Southampton and Everton transfer target Wesley Hoedt?

Jake Jackman

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Wesley Hoedt

Southampton have yet to complete a lot of their transfer business this summer with only one new signing having joined the club so far.

Jan Bednarek is a talented centre-half with a lot of potential, but he is unlikely to feature prominently to start with.

Virgil van Dijk could yet leave the club and if that were the case, they would need to sign an accomplished defender to replace him. That will be one of the club’s main priorities for this window.

The Daily Mail report that they are weighing up a move for Lazio centre-back Wesley Hoedt, who is rated at £12 million.

The 23-year-old was a target for the club last summer and he has remained on the club’s radar. They clearly have a good knowledge of him, but they aren’t the only Premier League club looking at the defender.

The Liverpool Echo report that Everton are also interested in the Dutchman and could be ready to launch a bid as they look for a player to fill the gap in the squad left by the injured Ramiro Funes Mori.

Where has he been?

Hoedt came through the ranks at AZ Alkmaar and made his debut for the club in 2013 during a Europa League match against PAOK.

He went on to impress for the Dutch club in the Eredivisie and quickly emerged as one of the most exciting players in the division.

However, he opted to leave the club on a free transfer to join Lazio in the summer of 2015 and managed to gain a regular place in the first-team.

It can be difficult to adjust to a bigger league when leaving Holland, especially after only one season of first-team football, but the centre-back managed to do thrive in Serie A and that suggests that he would be able to adapt to English football if a move arose.

Style of play

The Dutchman has an impressive physique and he has slowly become more dominant in the air as he gains more experience in senior football.

His aerial success rate rose from 49.23% during the 2015/16 campaign to 83.87% last season. This is a significant increase and shows that he is quickly developing in the heart of the Lazio defence.

There is a determination about his character and that is evident in the improvements he has made to his game.

His strongest attribute is his anticipation, as he reads the game well and breaks down attacks with regularity.

As a Dutch international, his ball-playing abilities are impressive as he rarely loses possession and is confident at launching attacks from deep.

Last season, he had a pass success rate of 87.3% and he is similar to Van Dijk in that regard. Although he isn’t at the level of his compatriot, the signs are there that he could become an excellent Premier League centre-back.

Would he be a good signing?

There is always an element of risk when targeting a player from abroad that hasn’t played in the Premier League.

At 23 years of age, Hoedt is still in the early stage of his development and there are no guarantees that he would be a success if he did move to the Premier League.

However, he has already impressed in two different countries, which shows good adaptability.

His physique suggests he would thrive in England and for £12 million, he could turn out to be a bargain in the current climate.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

Marcel Brand’s stance on Ademola Lookman should reassure Everton fans

Max Cohen

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Ademola Lookman
Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday, Everton’s new director of football laid out his plans for the Merseyside club, emphasising the importance of working with young players.

According to the Telegraph, Brands is set to meet with Ademola Lookman in a bid to convince the promising youngster to stay at Goodison Park; a move that will reassure Everton supporters.

The 20-year-old spent the second half of the season on loan at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, enjoying a successful spell that was punctuated by three goals and two assists in his final two matches.

Yet, the Englishman’s fine end to his stay in Germany sparked reports in ESPN that the Bundesliga club were interested in purchasing Lookman on a permanent basis, a transfer that would come as a massive blow for Everton.

The talented attacker only signed from Charlton in the summer of 2017, and was tipped to be one for the future at Goodison Park. To lose Lookman after just seven league appearances for Everton would be a tragic misstep.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Luckily, Brands is well known for his development of young players and said he is seeking a forward-thinking coach who shares these beliefs.

As quoted in the Telegraph, Brand is looking for a “modern coach,” preferably someone “who wants to work with young players.”

These comments will surely come as a relief to Toffees supporters who suffered through Sam Allardyce’s reign, a manager who is possibly the polar opposite of a “modern coach.”

Maintaining the services of one of England’s brightest young attacking talents, one who was even tipped for a World Cup call-up, is undoubtedly among Everton’s top priorities this summer.

It is refreshing to see the club’s new director of football shares this view and Marcel Brands will do his best to convince Ademola Lookman to remain at Goodison Park.

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Everton news round-up: Baines remains, eight released and dressing room unrest

A round-up of the biggest news at Everton today.

Mathew Coull

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Baines Remains

First of all, there is good news for Everton fans. Reports this week that club legend Leighton Baines is considering his future at Goodison Park now seem wide of the mark.

It had been suggested that the England international was tempted by a move to Los Angeles to play in MLS. However, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, the defender has no intention of leaving the club he has been with for 11 years.

He is said to be excited about working with a new manager.

For Everton, it is great news. Not only is Baines a legend, but he is also the best left-back at the club and a danger from set-pieces who is reliable from the spot.

This news should certainly be welcomed among the Everton faithful.

The Not-so Magnificent Eight

Unfortunately for other Everton players, their future is out of their hands. Everton have released a handful of their under-18 staff today. Captain Tom Scully is leaving, with the expectation he will join Norwich City – according to the Liverpool Echo.

Others who have been told they can depart are Stephen Duke-McKennna, Tom Murphy, Sid Kerr, Charlie Ball, Nathan Moore and Jordan Corke. Nathan Baxter has also been released. He was signed under Roberto Martinez’s reign from Vitesse Arnhem but has failed to develop at Finch Farm and will now need to find his way elsewhere.

The release of Scully and Duke-McKenna may come as something of a surprise, but it appears that Everton are ready to freshen up their youth-team.

Whack-a-Mole

Now some troubling news reported by The Sun today. They claim there are huge divisions in the camp at Everton, namely between the whole dressing room and, seemingly, Oumar Niasse.

The report suggests the ill-feeling in the camp got so bad that youngster Tom Davies has even contemplated quitting the club.

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

But the most alarming factor about this story is the supposed ‘dressing room insider’ feeding this sort of ‘story’ to the press.

Everton fans will not enjoy seeing the dirty laundry of the dressing room being aired out in the open.

These matters should be kept in-house and Everton must search out and give the mole the boot before anything else.

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Everton should forget Luis Muriel and target his team-mate Wissam Ben Yedder instead

Everton are said to be interested in the Colombian striker again this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Everton are reportedly interested in the signature of Sevilla striker Luis Muriel. It is being reported in Spain that the Toffees are keen on signing the Colombian international this summer in order to strengthen their attacking options.

Fichajes and Estadio Deportivo in Spain have both reported the news and Everton have of course been linked before. Last summer, before Muriel made his switch to Spain it was reported by numerous sources, including Marca, that Everton wanted to bring the forward in from Sampdoria.

On the one hand, Everton fans will be happy the club are looking into new recruits for next season. However, Muriel is not the player at Sevilla that Everton should be targeting.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old managed just nine goals and four assists in 46 appearances for the Spanish side last season. That sort of form should hardly have Everton reaching for the chequebook.

If Everton are going to look at a forward from Sevilla, then they should be targeting French striker Wissam Ben Yedder instead.

The 27-year-old has been a far more impressive player this season, despite often coming on from the bench. He scored 22 goals and assisted five in 42 games, a much better rate than the man Everton are apparently chasing.

He also clearly loves English opposition. He scored a famous double against Manchester United to knock the Red Devils out of the Champions League and also scored three times in two appearances against Everton’s Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the Group Stage.

(Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Everton do need to make improvements across the camp, but it is hard to see how Muriel would make a significant difference to the Everton strikeforce.

Ben Yedder, on the other hand, would be a much more impactful arrival and he could hopefully continue his fine form against English sides but in an Everton kit.

With talk of Everton flop Sandro Ramirez heading the other way as part of the Muriel deal a fee could easily be negotiated to bring in the French forward.

If Everton are targeting a Sevilla striker this summer, then Ben Yedder is the man they should be going for, not Muriel.

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