With increasing reports of Ross Barkley leaving Goodison Park at the end of the season, Ronald Koeman is surely keeping an eye on the options he could replace their star player with. Undoubtedly, if Everton were to keep one player in the side, it would be Romelu Lukaku.
Now, with clubs like Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur lining up bids for Barkley, here are three options Everton could consider if the midfielder leaves.
The 29-year-old Belgian international has scored 25 goals and notched up seven assists, currently standing as the second highest scorer in the Italian league after Edin Dzeko. Mertens is known for his brilliant finishing and his tenacity to chase defenders.
A winger by nature, Mertens can also play as the centre-forward as well as an attacking midfielder. His brilliant performances have even led him to overtake Chelsea star Eden Hazard for the Belgian Player of the Year vote back in December. He has five goals and four assists in Napoli’s Champions League campaign, which suggests his proficiency at the highest level. And with Everton being Europa league hopefuls next season, he could just be the perfect buy for them.
Another Serie A wide player, the Spanish winger has come to fore just recently. He has been involved in 13 goals for Milan this season, though the legendary club is in danger of missing out on a European qualification spot this season.
And Everton could capitalise on this. Suso has grabbed eyeballs with his brilliant long-range executions and a brilliant vision for the perfect pass in the attacking third. A Liverpool youth player, Suso’s previous stint in the Premier League turned out to be a disappointment as the Reds had to terminate his contract with still some years left, in 2015. And although he took some time to settle in Milan, he has grown to be one of their star players this season.
A return for the man at Goodison Park is no more a wishful thinking for Everton fans. Clearly, his time at Old Trafford is up and with the player refusing to make a move to China, Premier League remains his first preference. Rooney aspires to be a part of the 2018 World Cup and it can be a reality if he stays in the country under Gareth Southgate’s watchful eyes.
Now, Rooney would be nowhere near Barkley in terms of stamina and pace, but his technique on the ball and a lethal right foot could help Everton immensely at the top level. And the player coming to his boyhood club and win a title will be the perfect ending to his illustrious career.
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