According to The Sun, Everton and Wolves are leading the chase for Benfica defender Andre Almeida. The Portuguese right-back has impressed the onlookers with his service down the flanks, and a move away from Portugal could be on the horizon.
The report claims that Everton could sign Almeida for a bargain price of £10 million, which is barely a snip in the market for any Premier League club these days. However, the Toffees could face stiff competition from Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Southampton as well as Brighton.
What will Almeida bring to the table?
Almeida has been one of the most consistent defenders in the Portuguese top flight for the past three-four years. However, the 28-year-old has become a revelation under new Benfica coach Bruno Lage that has seen him transform into a productive right-back.
Indeed, Almeida has delivered as many as 12 assists in the league this season, eight of which came under the tutelage of Lage. And this has been critical to Benfica’s title-winning campaign that saw the Eagles secure their 37th Portuguese title.
However, aside from his chance creation, Almeida offers versatility in defence. He can feature as a left-back as well as a defensive midfielder. His proficiency in the air, coupled with his tackling prowess, makes him a solid defender, thus allowing him to thrive in any defensive position. The 28-year-old has averaged 1.8 tackles per game this season.
Another key aspect of Almeida’s game is that he can circulate possession and initiate build-up play from the back. The Portuguese international has attained a pass completion rate of 80%, which is quite impressive, given the nature of his role.
Why Everton should go for him
Almeida offers excellent chance creation ability as well as defensive solidity – making him an ideal target for Everton. The Toffees lack depth in the right-back department, with Seamus Coleman being their only reliable option.
Even then, the Irishman has lacked consistency in his game and is, more or less, a misfit to Silva’s tactical setup at the Goodison Park. While Almeida may not be as effective crosser as Coleman, he can offer much more to the Everton side, both defensively and offensively.
He might even be able to match the brilliance of Lucas Digne on the opposite flank. The Frenchman has arguably been the best player for the club this season, thanks to his industry and chance creation on the left-hand side. Almeida, to that end, has both the qualities while his defensive game is also quite strong. And for a meagre fee of just £10 million, he will be a bargain signing for the Toffees.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored