Everton have had a disappointing start to their Premier League campaign, given their fixtures. Ahead of the 2019-20 season, many pundits predicted that the Toffees could challenge for a top 6 spot, but the consensus was that the Merseyside club were weak in central defence.
In fact, Marco Silva has just two quality centre-back options in Michael Keane and Yerry Mina, with Mason Holgate the backup to those two and summer signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin another option, although he is primarily a defensive midfielder.
Everton need to sign a new centre-back in the next two windows and by the looks of it, reinforcements look necessary in January itself. But given the nature of the market midseason, there will be considerable doubts regarding any move they decide to make.
Let’s take a look at 3 centre-backs Everton can target in January or next summer:
Manchester United’s experienced centre-back Marcos Rojo was the subject of a loan bid from Everton but they pulled out of a deal after the Red Devils wanted a few changes in the modalities.
We could still see the Argentine international leave the club in January as he is the fourth choice centre-back at the club. Rojo can be an erratic defender, but when he is in form, can be a very good Premier League defender. Rojo, who has made 60 appearances for the Argentina national team, is good on the ball, can move ahead with it and is aggressive in the tackle.
The 29-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract.
Kurt Zouma spent last season on loan at Everton, but a return to Goodison Park was probably stopped by Chelsea as they did not have options at the back, while they could not sign a defender due to the transfer ban.
Zouma, like Rojo, is not a first-choice option for manager Frank Lampard at Chelsea with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger ahead of him in the pecking order, while youngster Fikayo Tomori has also impressed in the few appearances he has made for Chelsea.
Zouma would be a safe option for Marco Silva as he knows what the defender can offer and will adapt easily to Everton as he has already had one spell at the club.
Burnley’s James Tarkowski is probably one of the most improved defenders in the Premier League over the last year or so. The central defender’s good form earned him an England call-up and he could be in line for a move to a bigger club in the near future.
Tarkowski is very good in the air and is a player who concentrates on defending rather than passing or building from the back. The 26-year-old has decent Premier League experience and could form a good partnership with fellow Englishman Michael Keane at the heart of the Everton defence.
This deal will possibly be the most complex of the three if the Toffees decide on pursuing him, especially given the promising start to Burnley’s season and other than a huge bid, the Clarets will not be thinking of losing him just yet.