Saturday, January 28, 2023

Everton Handed Major Boost In Pursuit Of This Serie A Defender: An Ideal Alternative For Zouma?

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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 Tuttosport, as cited by Inside Futbol, Everton have received a massive boost in their pursuit of Armando Izzo. The Torino defender has been linked with a move to both Arsenal and Everton this summer. And the Serie A club are well aware of that. As a result, they are trying to tie down the defender to a long-term contract.

However, the report claims that they are yet to reach an agreement with Izzo over a contract extension despite providing an improved deal. Hence, a move to the Premier League could be on the horizon for the Italian international this summer.

Izzo’s rapid rise to prominence

Though a late bloomer to some extent, Izzo has become a vital part of the Torino backline since joining the club in a €9.7 million move from Genoa last summer. He was an ever-present figure in the back four, making 37 league appearances in what was his debut campaign for Il Toro.

Izzo scored four goals and provided one assist. But, it was his partnership with Nicolas N’Koulou at the heart of Torino’s backline that helped the Turin based club retain the fifth best defensive record in the league last term. It also helped them achieve an impressive seventh-place finish in the league.

Additionally, Izzo’s consistent performances led to his first call up from the Italian national team back in March, which was quite an achievement for the defender.

What can Izzo bring to the table?

Izzo is labelled as a modern-day centre-half, who isn’t afraid to move forward and pick out midfielders and wingers with his sharp laser focussed passes. He can also form passing triangles at the back to ease his side’s build-up game. The 27-year-old attained a pass completion rate of only 77% last season, but that is justifiable given Torino’s playing style.

The Italian international is also a versatile defender as he can operate in the right-back slot. Another key aspect of Izzo’s game is his ability to sense scoring opportunities while his aerial prowess makes him a threat from set-pieces.

Should Everton make a move for this defender?

Izzo is a well-rounded centre-back and is quite experienced as well in the top flight football. He can fill the void left by Phil Jagielka, who has returned to Sheffield United. At the same time, the Italian can also be considered as an alternative for Kurt Zouma, whose future at Chelsea still hangs in the balance.

The Frenchman should definitely remain Everton’s number 1 defensive target this summer, especially after a successful loan spell last season. But, should Chelsea’s new manager Frank Lampard rule out a transfer away from the club for Zouma, making a move for Izzo could make a world of sense for Everton as they aim to kickstart a new era under Marco Silva next season.

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