Everton Locked In Three-Way Transfer Battle For This Defender: What Will He Add To Ancelotti’s Side?

AC Milan's Spanish forward Samu Castillejo (L) and Verona's Albanian defender Marash Kumbulla go for the ball during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Verona on February 2, 2020 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a recent tweet by renowned journalist Nicolo Schira, Everton are locked in a three-way transfer battle for Hellas Verona centre-back Marash Kumbulla ahead of the summer transfer window. Schira recently shared the tweet from his account.

Even though the Toffees are interested in recruiting the Albanian defender along with Spurs, yet Inter Milan has emerged as the frontrunners as they are currently ‘in advanced’ talks with the player which will be a cause for concern for Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Kumbulla’s Stellar Rise In The Serie A Recently

The promising youngster has managed to produce several impressive performances at the heart of Ivan Jurić’s backline and is currently one of the best young defenders in Italian football. The Albanian centre-half has been involved in 19 matches for Verona this term, registering one goal in multiple competitions. More importantly, he has received over 1500 minutes of game time on the field, which has helped him become a matured defender at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

Kumbulla has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 2.9 clearances per game in the Serie A this season (stats via whoscored). His stats prove just how consistent he has been under the tutelage of Juric. His excellent contributions on the defensive end of the field have propelled Verona to climb to the top half of the league standings.

Back in October last year, the 20-year-old made his first senior appearance for the Albanian national team when he came on as a substitute versus Moldova in a crucial UEFA European Championship qualifying match. If the Verona prospect can continue to show signs of improvement in the coming seasons, then it is only a matter of time before he becomes a mainstay at the centre of Edoardo Reja’s defence.

Everton locked in a three-way transfer battle for Kumbulla who is seen in the picture
Marash Kumbulla of Hellas Verona during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Hellas Verona at Stadio San Paolo on October 19, 2019, in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

What Will The Albanian Defensive Ace Add To Ancelotti’s Team?

Kumbulla has primarily been deployed as a central defender this season, but he is versatile enough to fill in as a defensive midfielder if needed. The one-time Albania international has shown a few glimpses of his true potential. However, he needs more first-team opportunities to develop into a top defender in European football.

The talented starlet is often quick to read the danger and can position himself well to make a few vital interceptions for his side. He can also pull off some excellent last-ditch clearances at the back and is not afraid to commit to the cause by putting his body on the line when attempting to block a goal-bound shot from the opposition. However, Kumbulla’s overall game is still a bit rough around the edges and so he would need time to improve his upper body strength so that he can cope with the physical nature of English football.

The Albanian’s acquisition will allow Ancelotti to build his side’s attacks from the back as the Hellas Verona whizkid is usually very accurate with his ball-distribution after completing 84.2% of his attempted passes in the Italian top-flight this season (stats via whoscored). There is no hiding from the fact that Everton need to add more quality to their squad if they are to challenge for major silverware in the future. Hence, it makes sense for Ancelotti to figure out a way to win the race to bring Kumbulla to Goodison Park this summer.

The Verona prospect will not only bring more quality to the Toffees squad, but will also increase competition for the likes of Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Michael Keane. All in all, he has all the skillset required to be a grand success for the Merseyside outfit if Ancelotti can lure him to the north-west of England ahead of the new season.

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.