20 July 2024

Everton transfer issue on show again as Sean Dyche is about to shock his  squad - Liverpool Echo

Everton should pair £22 million Toffees outcast Onana instead of Garner

The Toffees have a secret weapon that could significantly swell their ranks.

Since he hasn’t been available for Everton’s first four Premier League games, manager Sean Dyche still doesn’t appear to know who his strongest lineup is.

However, with a clean bill of health anticipated this weekend, this is the ideal opportunity to let some stars loose.

Such an injury crisis on the wings, which has seen Jack Harrison and Dwight McNeil sidelined, has forced others to deputise in that role. James Garner, perhaps a victim of his immense versatility, was the unfortunate casualty enlisted to star on the right flank rather than in his favoured central midfield role.

How good is James Garner?

Whilst the 22-year-old has struggled, his 7.10 average rating in the league marks an admirable return for a man playing massively out of position. Such a figure is buoyed by his creativity and work rate, with the tireless general posting 1.3 key passes, two tackles and 4.8 ball recoveries per game, via Sofascore.

The former Manchester United academy graduate is making the best of a frustrating situation, and although his form actually makes him the joint-third-highest-rated player within the squad, a distinct lack of dynamism is dulling the threat that Dyche’s attack would hope to pose.

Gomes: Why Watford Test Will Help Us Grow

With the return of those aforementioned wide men to be welcomed with open arms, the question now turns to where Garner could be shifted to maintain his form, but not push out a teammate who too is shining.

Although it might mark the obvious move to move him into his preferred position, there is perhaps another who could be handed one last chance to impress to see if he can recapture his form of old.

After all, Andre Gomes has become something of a forgotten man at Goodison Park, with his horrific ankle injury in 2019 hampering his career. Losing that initial burst of speed, it has been a tough and arduous process to recover some semblance of the fine performance that spurred Marco Silva to spend £22m on his permanent acquisition.

Is Andre Gomes leaving Everton?

However, his recent loan spell with LOSC Lille is indicative of a man potentially reborn, who should be allowed to try and stamp his starting claim before Garner due to his seniority.

After all, it is worth trying to get some return on the Portuguese maestro, with his counterpart sure to still be patiently waiting should he fail.

Former Everton goalkeeper Nigel Martyn issued his own show of faith for the former Barcelona man though: “He’s a very composed footballer, looks very good on the ball, intelligent and knows which space to run into. His passing’s very good, his tackling’s very good – he’s a great all-round footballer.”

Featuring 26 times in Ligue 1 last season, the silky 30-year-old maintained a 6.83 average rating whilst scoring three, assisting two and posting an 89% pass accuracy all from the engine room, via Sofascore. This attacking impetus will be warmly received on Merseyside, who have been craving a potent creative force to partner Amadou Onana.

The Belgium international has already established himself as one of Dyche’s most important players despite his youth, with his domineering displays proving integral in quelling opposition threats and forging their own.

As such, his 7.22 average rating is upheld through his 1.8 tackles, four ball recoveries per game and 1.3 key passes per game, via Sofascore.

Defensively mature but retaining that touch of class, placing Gomes beside the 22-year-old could see a stellar partnership formed, set to finally spearhead their first Premier League win of the campaign whilst Garner awaits his moment to shine.

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