Everton have reportedly joined the race to sign Arsenal’s transfer target Karim Bellarabi. The Bundesliga winger has been impressive for over two years now with numerous suitors keeping tabs on his situation. And given Toffees’ boss Ronald Koeman’s desperate need for a winger ahead of one of their biggest seasons, Bellarabi could be a brilliant addition.
At 27, the Bayer Leverkusen player has shown tremendous efficacy in the attacking third, and his pace from wide areas might just be what Everton need. The Blues undeniably have one of the best squads in the Premier League at the moment, however, their flanks took a major hit last season owing to consecutive injuries sidelining their star players.
With Yannick Bolasie, still in the rehabilitating stages following a cruciate ligament injury that is keeping him out of action until the second half of next season and Aaron Lennon, reeling under his personal problems, Koeman is only left with young Ademola Lookman to field in that position. The other option of Kevin Mirallas is fast approaching 30 and Ross Barkley’s contract situation does not assure his availability at Goodison Park next season.
Koeman has already spent a considerable amount on Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen, but the potential departure of Romelu Lukaku this summer is expected to fetch them enough money to facilitate the deal for Bellarabi. Reportedly, Leverkusen have slapped a price tag of around £26 million on their star winger and Everton could easily afford that if Arsenal doesn’t stand in the way.
The German outfit will have hardly been willing to part ways with the player if he hadn’t incurred a torn muscle bundle earlier last season. The injury kept the winger out for 91 days, which was soon followed by a training deficit. He missed 21 games in the process but has since found it hard to recover from it. He went down with muscle problems later in the season too but did not miss any game luckily.
However, that doesn’t deny his extraordinary abilities to create chances from wide areas. Although he played only half of the games last season (16) for Leverkusen that he did the previous season (33), he still managed to score twice and set up six goals. In his three years within the Bundesliga since moving from the then top flight side Eintracht Braunschweig in 2014, Bellarabi has scored 37 goals and assisted 37 times.
To Everton’s fortune, Arsenal might be a club that would find Bellarabi redundant in the attacking midfield areas, given their existing crop of players, which makes Everton a likely destination for the player if he decides to move to England.