It’s not too often that footballers share their name with the team they play for. There have been examples of similarities in the world of football over the years – former Wolfsburg manager Wolfgang Wolf perhaps being the mostly aptly named club coach of the past century – but nothing that would live up to the linguistic joy if Grêmio forward Everton joins his Premier League namesake.
Such a move could soon be on the cards according to Globo Esporte, who report the Toffees are keeping tabs on the 14-cap Brazilian international but may have to battle it out with Borussia Dortmund for his signature.
There are plenty of reasons why the man from Maracanaú is in demand, but his versatility will undoubtedly be a factor in his popularity. Everton has played out wide in a 4-4-2 formation, on the left side of three attacking midfielders and even as a lone striker over the course of the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A season.
With an array of expensively assembled attacking talent like Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Richarlison already on the books at Goodison Park, a player who can provide competition in a host of areas could be exactly what manager Carlo Ancelotti is looking for.
Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin appear to be nailed on as starters in the Italian’s first-choice XI, but Everton could be just the man to improve upon the Blues left-sided midfield options. Iwobi, Bernard and even Gylfi Sigurðsson have occupied that spot at various points in Ancelotti’s short reign, but the Grêmio star has the potential to be an improvement on all three.
At 24, Everton is approaching his prime years but has already made his mark on Brazilian football. Currently a one-club man, he has a solid goal record of 52 strikes in 208 appearances for Tricolor dos Pampas, including 11 in the 2019 Série A campaign. But while he has achieved success with Grêmio, lifting the Copa Libertadores in 2017, it’s his performances for the national team which have really caught the eye.
The crowning glory of Everton’s early career has been the 2019 Copa América. He lifted the trophy on home soil after scoring and being named man of them match in the final against Peru, and won the Golden Boot after registering three goals in the tournament.
Such high-profile exploits have understandably had European clubs on high alert. While it seems unlikely anyone will match a reported £106million buy-out clause in his contract, it will surely take a sizeable sum to prise Everton away from Porto Alegre.
The presence of compatriots Richarlison and Bernard could well tempt the forward to Merseyside, where the Toffees will be hoping that he can recreate his good form for Grêmio last year. Everton’s goal tally was complemented by five league assists, but that only tells part of the story when it comes to his attacking contributions.
His 0.4 goals from open play (per 90) is the seventh-best return of any top-flight player in Brazil, and with 5.77 touches in the box, it’s not hard to see why Everton is producing such a healthy output. He’s not shot-shy either, with an average of 3.28 per 90, but it’s his accuracy that’s most impressive – 1.27 of those efforts have been on target, which is only bettered by ten players in Série A.
The 5ft 9in forward is skilful with the ball at his feet and not afraid to try and beat his man. That’s reflected in his attempted take-ons, where a record of 6.64 per 90 is inside the division’s top four. They’re largely successful too (a success rate of 3.64 per 90 is the seventh-best in Brazil), suggesting Everton is a player who will get the fans at Goodison Park off their feet but have plenty of end product too.
There are suggestions that financial repercussions of the Coronavirus could see Grêmio make Everton available at a knockdown price in the summer, despite having the player contracted until 2023. If that’s the case then the Toffees would be wise to act quickly – it would certainly be a statement of intent if Ancelotti and co could bring one of South America’s hottest talents to the blue half of Liverpool.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Everton looks to be the perfect fit for Everton, both in name and on the pitch. Making him this summer’s marquee signing could be the magic ingredient that the Blues need to push into the European places next season.