Liverpool and Everton could be set for a pre-season Merseyside derby off the field as French outlet RMC Sport claim that the duo are going head-to-head in the race for Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe.
The Ligue 1 club do not want to sell their man, but the two Premier League clubs may still make a move, with Inter Milan also interested.
Who is he?
A 21-year-old central defender, Kimpembe can also play on the left of defence.
Having joined PSG at the age of nine, he has developed through the ranks and established himself as a strong option for the first team last season, with 28 appearances.
Whilst he is yet to feature for the French national team, he has been called up by Didier Deschamps on three separate occasions.
What would he bring to either squad?
More than anything, he would bring strength in depth. An assured defender, Kimpembe would add a good option to rotate the squad and will almost certainly continue his development to become a top defender given his hard working attitude.
Good on the ball, the youngster could fit in well in either side, though Liverpool’s less direct style of play may suit him better. He likes to move the side forward with short passes and quick counter-attacks, sometimes being reluctant to just retain possession at the back.
If he does have one weakness, it is his strength in the air. Often beaten by taller, more physical and more experienced centre forwards, he may need to work on that area of his game wherever he ends up.
Who should he sign for?
You could argue for both sides.
At Everton, Ronald Koeman is building an ambitious new project and Kimpembe may have few players standing between him and a place as first choice in the heart of defence in a pairing with Michael Keane.
Jurgen Klopp could also claim that, alongside Joel Matip and without Virgil Van Dijk, he could be very close to first choice and would battle with Dejan Lovren.
The opportunity to remain in the Champions League with the Reds may prove decisive if he does move away from Paris.
After shock international call is Antonee Robinson a future Everton star
The defender has been in good form for Bolton Wanderers this season.
Bolton Wanderers have recently seen one of their players called up to international duty for the first time. Antonee Robinson has been included in the senior USA squad for the upcoming fixture against Paraguay
The left-back was born in Milton Keynes but his father is from New York state so qualifies for the USMNT. Robinson has previously played for the USA under-18 side and received a call-up to the under-20s but this is his first senior call.
For Everton fans, it will be a sign of the excellent work he has been putting in with the Championship strugglers. Robinson is on a season long loan at the Macron Stadium from Everton.
The 20-year-old has been a revelation for the Trotters, performing brilliantly and featuring in 26 league games this campaign. Despite recently losing his place to the more experienced Andrew Taylor it has been an excellent campaign for Robinson.
Everton must be keeping track of his development, especially considering that left-back is a position that they need to improve.
This season has seen Cuco Martina play out of position to fill the role. Leighton Baines is still an excellent operator, as he is shown since his return from injury. The issue however is that Baines seems to be picking up injuries on far to regular a basis for Everton’s liking.
Robinson therefore could be the answer on the long-term. There has been talk of Everton diving into the transfer market to fill the role but in the 20-year-old the Toffees have a potential long-term replacement.
Everton have a long history of bringing through young talent and at the moment have a queue of youngsters knocking at the first-team door.
One of those players is Robinson. Considering the problem area that is left-back, it should not be ruled out that Robinson is a potential solution to Everton’s positional trouble.
Sam Allardyce deserves credit for Cenk Tosun treatment
The Turkish international has four goals in his last three games.
Everton can now start building for next season, with the win v Stoke City this weekend. Despite their early season woes, Everton have survived, with the 2-1 win against the Potters Everton have moved to the traditionally safe 40 point mark. One man who is also finally finding his feet at Everton is Turkish striker Cenk Tosun. He scored both of Everton’s goals in the important win.
Signed from Besiktas in January the Turkish international was sidelined by Sam Allardyce early on at Goodison Park. Tosun, who according to Sky Sports cost £27 million, was often named among the substitutes with Oumar Niasse preferred up front. Allardyce explained he was easing Tosun into life in the Premier League, much to the annoyance of some Everton fans.
However, it appears to have worked. Speaking after the game yesterday Allardyce had this to say about his striker:
“The confidence he has gained now from us taking him out early doors [has helped], when everyone was saying ‘you’re not playing him’ – you know, the usual rubbish you get from outside the football club. But, of course, they don’t know. I do, they don’t. We wanted to get him fitter and more used to the players he was playing with.”
It has to be said, Allardyce might be right. Tosun has been brilliant in recent weeks. Adding to his two goals against Stoke the 26-year-old has scored in the recent defeat v Burnley and win against Brighton. Tosun, who scored eight times in 16 league games for Besiktas this season, is finally finding his feet.
Allardyce’s plan all along was to ensure Tosun did not have a struggle early on. If Tosun had been thrown into the first-team, which was playing poorly, with immediate effect it could have been detrimental.
One game without a goal becomes two, then three, then four and so on. Instead Everton ensured that Tosun was comfortable in the team set-up and fit for Premier League action.
Now they are reaping the benefits with Tosun in fine goalscoring form.
If he can keep up his current form it will not be a surprise if he manages to find his way to double figures for Everton this season. That would be a phenomenal feat and one which would certainly validate Big Sam’s often criticised decision.
Everton have found their Romelu Lukaku successor in Cenk Tosun
The Turkish international has now scored four goals in his last three matches.
Cenk Tosun arrived at Everton with a big reputation after performing well for Besiktas in the Champions League.
The striker scored four times and contributed two assists during the group stages of the competition. It was hoped that he could be the player to fill the Romelu Lukaku shaped hole at Goodison Park after he joined for £27 million.
The 26-year-old didn’t make an immediate impact in England, failing to score in his first four matches and found himself out of the starting eleven for a period.
Sam Allardyce remained committed to his big money signing in public, but said that he would remain on the bench until Everton were safe, as shown by this quote reported by the Liverpool Echo:
“He is struggling with the pace of the Premier League which happens to more players than it doesn’t to who come in in January,”
“There are more that struggle than actually succeed. As time goes on and the more we get closer to our safety the more we can release and see what he’s got.”
The manager was true to his word and as the club has moved closer to survival, he has given more minutes to his big-money striker.
It seemed fitting that it was Tosun that scored the goals to take the club to 40-points with a victory over Stoke City on Saturday. There was never any real threat of the Toffees getting relegated, but it will be a relief now they have got to that points mark.
Everton had a one-man advantage for the majority of the match against Stoke City after a first-half red card was given to Charlie Adam. Even after the dismissal, it was a hard-fought game and the visitors didn’t have it all their own way. They didn’t get their first goal until the second-half and it came as a result of a goalmouth scramble.
Tosun showed good anticipation and composure to give his side a lead. His first effort was saved and another shot came in from a team-mate before it fell at his feet to finish the move. It wasn’t the most beautiful goal, but it will be a pleasing one for the striker as he was in the right place at the right time.
It was his second that was a more technical goal as he diverted a diving header past Jack Butland to secure the three points for Everton. He wouldn’t have had the confidence to score it earlier in his Everton career, but it is clear that he is finding himself at Goodison Park and is now offering the threat that he did in Turkey.
The Turkish international has now scored four goals in his last three matches and he is ready to finish the season with a flourish.
Although Everton now have little to play for, it is important that Tosun does adjust to English football ahead of next season. If he didn’t, it would leave the club with a problem over the summer as they would need to decide whether to stick or twist with their striker.
Now, that doesn’t seem like it will be an issue. Everton supporters shouldn’t get too excited, but Tosun has shown during the last few weeks that he has the ability to be Romelu Lukaku’s replacement at the club. He has good awareness in the final third and a goal-scorer’s instinct that could see him score 15 or more Premier League goals every season.
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