Saturday, December 3, 2022

Everton Face Big Stumbling Block In Pursuit Of This Serie A Playmaker: Huge Blow For The Toffees?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent print edition of Gazzetta dello Sport (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), Everton are set to face a significant stumbling block in pursuit of Napoli playmaker Hirving Lozano this summer. The same source has claimed that Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is not willing to sell the Mexican attacker on the cheap after the Italians had to pay €50m in total to secure his services last summer (via Sport Witness). This latest development could turn out to a significant stumbling block for the Toffees as they try to orchestrate a move to bring Lozano to Goodison Park in this off-season.

Lozano’s Growing Struggles In Italian Football This Season

It was the Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti who was responsible for signing the ex-PSV Eindhoven attacker at Napoli last year but struggled to get the best out of him during his managerial spell at Naples. Hence, it is no wonder that Laurentiis is playing hardball by not willing to accept a bargain fee for the player this summer.

The 24-year-old has failed to give a good account of himself at the San Paolo Stadium after often being inconsistent in terms of his performances during this campaign. He has only scored three goals and provided two assists in 28 appearances for the Italian outfit this term on all fronts which highlights just how much he has struggled to find a decent run of form for his new employers so far.

Lozano has averaged 1.3 shots, 0.8 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game in the Serie A this season (stats via whoscored). His numbers shed light on his inconsistencies as a Napoli player, so maybe a change of scenery this summer could offer the Mexican dribbler a chance to make a fresh start and rediscover his old form in the coming seasons. To his credit, the Mexico City-born wing wizard has an excellent record at the international stage. He has netted ten goals in 39 senior appearances for the Mexican national side thus far.

Everton face big stumbling block in pursuit of Hirving Lozano who is seen in the picture
Hirving Lozano of SSC Napoli stands disappointed during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio San Paolo on January 18, 2020, in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

What Does The Mexican International Bring To The Table?

Lozano can use his speed and agility to make a few well-timed runs behind the opposition backline. His blistering pace also allows him to dribble with the ball and create a lot of headaches for his marker in the final third. However, the Mexican has struggled to showcase his strengths consistently under the stewardship of Gennaro Gattuso this season. He can get into some promising areas in and around the opposition penalty area but has often failed to find the telling touch in front of goal during this campaign.

Napoli’s Reluctance To Sell Lozano On The Cheap: Huge Blow For Ancelotti?

The jury is still out on whether Lozano has what it takes to cope with the physical nature and high intensity of Premier League football. Despite his poor form recently, the Toffees would be wise to cook up a move to bring him to Merseyside this season. However, Napoli’s tough stance will be a massive blow for Ancelotti and his chances of landing the Mexican playmaker this summer.

Lozano would have not only added more pace and creativity to the Everton attack but also enhanced the overall quality of their squad. He would also have provided more competition for the likes of Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bernard, Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott at Goodison Park due to his incredible versatility to play anywhere across the frontline. All in all, the Merseyside outfit should only consider recruiting Lozano on the cheap as he could prove to be a huge gamble for them, especially if Ancelotti has to break his bank to acquire his services ahead of the new campaign.

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