According to The Times, as cited by Liverpool Echo, Everton are interested in the services of Santiago Arias. The Atletico Madrid star has appeared out of favour and could be on his way out of Wanda Metropolitano this summer. However, the Toffees will first need to free up their wage bill by getting rid of some of their unwanted players like Cenk Tosun, Oumar Niasse and Yannick Bolasie.
Arias’ struggles at Atletico Madrid
Arias initially joined Atletico Madrid after starring for Colombia in the FIFA World Cup last summer. He joined from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of €11m.
The 27-year-old was brought in as a potential replacement for the ageing Juanfran. However, he struggled to sort out his feet in the La Liga and was more of a rotation player in his first season with Atletico. His mediocre performances forced Diego Simeone to look for a better option in the market, with Los Rojiblancos already securing the services of Kieran Trippier this summer.
The England international will surely become the first-choice right-back for Atleti in the upcoming season, restricting Arias from making a breakthrough into the starting lineup in the process. Hence, a move away from Spain makes sense for the Colombian international.
How will Arias fit into Everton?
Everton are in dire need of reinforcements in the right-back department this summer. Ireland international Seamus Coleman is currently the only reliable option in the said position, with Cuco Martina acting as a back-up.
Arias, in that regard, will provide some much-needed competition for Coleman. He could arguably become an upgrade over the 30-year-old as well, given his aggression and willingness to win the ball back for his team. The Colombian international is also defensively astute and tends to hold onto his marker – making him an ideal option for Marco Silva.
Coleman, in contrast, is an attack-minded fullback, who relies on his ability to whip in dangerous crosses into the box. He notably delivered 23 key passes last season, more than one-third of which originated from crosses.
Arias is also a much more tactically astute fullback when compared to Coleman. The ex-PSV defender’s defensive nature means he can remain deep and help out the central defenders. As for Lucas Digne, he will operate in an advanced role due to Everton having an overload on the left flank. This, in turn, will add more balance to the defence.
Hence, the Atletico Madrid star is indeed a viable target for the Merseyside giants. And at the age of 27, he still has time on his side and could become a vital part of the club’s backline in the coming years.