Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Everton Leading Liverpool In The Race For This Spanish Defender: A Fantastic Option For Silva

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

According to Noticias de Gipuzkoa, Everton are leading the race to sign Real Sociedad star Diego Llorente. They are ahead of arch-rivals Liverpool in the pursuit of the Spanish centre-back, who is likely leaving the Anoeta this summer.

The report suggests that Llorente has a release clause of €50 million, which is considerably more than what Liverpool were trying to offer earlier this week. But is the move worth it for the Toffees?

Diego Llorente’s success at Real Sociedad

Llorente has emerged as a defensive mainstay in the Real Sociedad backline since joining the club back in 2017. The Spaniard made 48 league appearances in the past couple of seasons. And this term, Llorente’s service at the back was crucial to Sociedad’s ninth-placed finish that saw them concede only 46 goals in 38 matches. 

The 25-year-old built a formidable defensive partnership with the likes of Hector Moreno and Aritz Elustondo. Although injuries marred his progress, Llorente was excellent in the games he played and was one of the league’s most consistent defenders during the 2018/19 campaign.

What can Llorente bring to the table?

Llorente is advertised as a smart defender, whose positional awareness helps him stay one step ahead of the opposition. He has averaged 1.2 interceptions per game. And this is quite impressive given the fact that Sociedad have retained the fifth most possession in the league this season.

Another key feature of Llorente’s game is his aerial prowess. The defender boasts a relatively tall frame of 1.86m. As a result, he has won nearly three-headed duels per game. It also makes him an indirect threat from set-pieces, which often becomes useful in the Premier League as most teams heavily rely on crosses or corners.

Should Everton make a move for Llorente?

Llorente will be a welcome addition to Everton given their lack of depth in the defensive department. Last summer’s star recruit Yerry Mina has struggled with both form and injuries. And it looks like the Colombian international will be needing some time before settling into life in England.

As for Kurt Zouma, he is likely to be included in Chelsea’s plans next season in the light of Blues’ transfer ban being upheld by FIFA. Hence, Michael Keane will remain the only viable option for the Toffees in defence next season. Llorente, in that regard, will provide Silva with an additional defensive option at his disposal. But, the Portuguese mastermind will need to be careful of his injury-prone nature as the defender has struggled with three different types of injuries this past campaign.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored


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