Why Alan Dzagoev to Everton makes perfect sense for Ronald Koeman
With the January transfer window looming the inevitable rumours about player incomings and outgoings are well under way. While the majority of these rumours are utter nonsense, there are a few that turn out to be right. After all, as the saying goes “There’s no smoke without fire”, right? One such rumour that could potentially have legs is that of Alan Dzagoev to Everton, which is currently being reported by the Liverpool Echo, among other sources. For a number of reasons this rumour seems like there could be something to it.
Recent reports state that Everton’s new Director of Football Steve Walsh has watched the Russian midfielder on several occasions, most recently in CSKA Moscow’s game against Tottenham at Wembley. Also, Dzagoev’s agent has claimed he has held talks with The Toffees about a potential transfer. Regardless of this paper talk, there are various footballing reasons that make this deal more than plausible.
Ronald Koeman has already announced his intentions to bolster his squad during the January window, and central midfield could be a position of need. After missing out on the likes of Axel Witsel and Moussa Sissoko in the summer, it’s clear that Koeman had identified the heart of his midfield as an area of weakness. Despite adding Idrissa Gueye from Aston Villa in the summer, Koeman has an expressed an interest in adding a more creative, dynamic midfielder to his ranks, with Gueye proving to be an outstanding acquisition so far, a more attacking creative midfielder to compliment him would be ideal. Dzagoev undoubtedly fits the bill. As shown by his goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, he possesses the ability to break forward to score from midfield, whilst demonstrating his guile and flair with a clever flick past the defender in the build up to his goal.
Dzagoev started his career as a typical number 10, but in recent seasons has adapted to deeper role in the CSKA midfield. This makes him able to play in various positions in the midfield and adaptable a number of different formations and tactical schemes. With Everton losing Idrissa Gueye to the Africa Cup of Nations, James McCarthy ruled out for up to three weeks with the latest of a growing number of frequent injuries, Gareth Barry now aged 35 and Ross Barkley not performing to standards expected of him by Ronald Koeman, a player who can operate in a variety of positions in the midfield is essential. Dzagoev’s flexibility makes him an ideal candidate for this role.
CSKA Moscow are about to enter a period of transition, having recently parted company with manager Leonid Slutsky, the Moscow side need to free up some funds to kick start this revolution. With central midfield being one of the deeper areas of their squad, thanks to the likes of Pontus Wernbloom, Bibras Natkho, Georgi Milanov and talented youngster Aleksander Golovin, Dzagoev could be a disposable commodity. With just thirteen games remaining after the winter break and the title almost definitely now out of for reach for CSKA, it is likely they would be able to cope without Dzagoev in the short term. In attack however, the Moscow side are weak, they lack talent and depth at the position. Reports in Russia have linked the side with a move for Everton’s Senegalese forward Oumar Niasse over the last few weeks and Ronald Koeman has made it very clear that the striker has no place at Goodison Park. Whilst most Evertonians would laugh at the notion that signing Niasse would improve the quality of anyone’s attacking line, the striker is a proven goal scorer in the Russian League having starred for CSKA’s Moscow rivals Lokomotiv. I’m not suggesting a trade could possibly take place, as this type of deal very rarely occurs, but Niasse could be used as somewhat of a bargaining-tool to bring Dzagoev to Goodison Park.
Now twenty-six and entering his prime, it seems like now or never for Dzagoev to make his dream move to one of Europe’s top leagues. Having previously been linked with a move west in the earlier stages of his career, now could be Dzagoev’s last chance. After impressing for Russia at Euro 2012 it seemed like Dzagoev would make the move then, but despite being regarded as one of Europe’s hottest properties he chose to stay in Russia. Injuries in following seasons prevented him again from moving on from CSKA, but impressive recent displays have reignited interest from around Europe. Dzagoev is now without doubt more prepared both physically and from an experience point of view to make the transition to the more demanding Premier League.
Additions are needed at Everton after a turbulent start to the season and with money being made available by new owner Farhad Moshiri, additions are likely. CSKA could be looking to sell, and Dzagoev would be interested in a move to the Premier League. This looks like a deal that could benefit all parties. Everton get the added depth and quality in midfield, CSKA get the money needed to kick-start their revolution and Dzagoev gets a dream move to the Premier League. Whilst this is just a rumour, it could be one of those rare rumours that proves to be true. Only time will tell, but this could be an interesting one to keep an eye on.
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