Everton have been making the headlines recently amid mounting speculation as to a potential summer move for Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.
The Express are among a host of news outlets that claim Goodison Park could be a destination for the player this summer, after another disappointing season.
Lingard, 27, has failed to contribute a single goal or assist from 20 Premier League appearances in 2019-20 – a barren streak that began at the back end of last season.
His poor form has also seen him lose his place in the England setup, and a move to Everton has been suggested as the catalyst to re-ignite his career.
Reports suggest that Manchester United could allow him to leave for a £30 million fee, and doesn’t seem to be proving any stumbling block in Everton’s alleged pursuit.
However, Everton have been through it all before with feasting off scraps from their Premier League rivals, and they shouldn’t fall into that trip again here.
Everton acquired winger Theo Walcott from Arsenal in January 2018 for a fee of around £20 million, and has been an average performer.
They also signed Alex Iwobi last summer in a deal worth up to £34 million, and with just two goals and one assist from 22 games this term, he’s yet to show much spark.
Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United) and Fabian Delph (Manchester City) also sealed moves from English rivals.
Admittedly, none of those players were acquired by Everton’s current manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Though the reports have hinted at an interest in Lingard, among others, it remains to be seen exactly what Ancelotti has in mind in terms of Everton’s recruitment.
But he could certainly do better than Lingard.
The contrast in comparing Lingard with someone like Walcott is that the ex-Arsenal man is on the wind-down and Lingard should still be on the up.
However, Everton need players that they will know can perform week-in, week-out.
Lingard’s form over the past year will be a concern on that front.
Previous managers, particularly Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva, spent large sums in the transfer market and saw little return – hence why Ancelotti is now at the helm.
Koeman, for example, spent a combined £100 million on Yannick Bolasie, Ademola Lookman, Davy Klaassen, Henry Onyekuru and Cenk Tosun.
With the exception of Bolasie and Tosun who are out on loan, none of those players are still registered to Everton.
Onyekuru didn’t even make a single appearance for the club before departing for AS Monaco.
£100 million is a lot of money, even today in a market where a single player can sell for that.
Especially if it is wasted.
Lingard might cost much less at £30 million, but if you consider there will be other areas that Ancelotti will want to strengthen, the grand total could be around that figure.
What do they currently have to show for it?
When the Premier League resumes shortly, Everton will begin in 12th place – 11 points adrift of the top-four and 10 points from relegation.
Either scenario remains a possibility.
Unless of course Everton are relegated to the Championship – no one is expecting that – we can anticipate Ancelotti will be in charge next season.
For the first time in a number of years, Ancelotti can bring success to Everton’s summer transfer window.
And while Lingard is a much better player than his 2019-20 form and statistics suggest, the Italian can attract different talent.
We must also consider what Everton already have within their ranks looking towards the long-term.
Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, in particular, have served crucial roles this season in the first-team, and could lessen the need for new additions in their positions.
Jonjoe Kenny, currently on loan at Schalke, and midfielder Tom Davies could be added to that list.
Bring in some other upcoming, and some proven talent, and Everton can return to the top end of the Premier League.
Instead of reaching for the discard pile from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United – who are at the moment struggling themselves to compete at the top – Everton should be casting the net much wider.
A number of Ancelotti’s former employers, including Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, could be a place to start.
As for Lingard, the midfielder has just a year left to run on his current deal, so anything is indeed possible this summer.
Do you agree with this assessment? Or would you be happy to see Everton bring Lingard to the club in the summer? Drop your thoughts below!