Everton have announced a number of player departures from the club as those individual contracts come to an end and the summer transfer window opens.
None of those leaving are a surprise, although Jonjo Kenny has in fact offered himself a new contract by Everton but has decided to move on to new pastures.
One of those players who left is Fabian Delph. The former Manchester City star has left the Toffees after a disappointing three-year injury at Goodison Park.
When the former England international signed in 2019 for what was a sum of around £10million, it looked like he would make a decent addition to the squad.
Delph offered genuine quality and versatility, with his ability to play in both midfield and left-back, and a wealth of experience at top clubs and internationally.
He was perhaps seen as a potential replacement for departing Idrissa Gueye who left for PSG in the same summer of 2019, although the Blues also brought in Jean-Phlippe Gbamin to bolster their midfield options.
Given his background and experience at the highest level of football, it was hoped the former City player could provide some much-needed extra us for a new midfielder, especially as he had just won two titles. consecutive Premier League matches with City.
Well, all those high hopes and expectations of course turned out to be groundless. Neither Delph nor Gbamin played much football for the rest of their Everton careers as injury dogged them throughout.
Delph was available at times, when he was temporarily recovering from one injury setback or another, and while he produced strong performances at times, he also made misguided comments, which further alienated the Evertonians.
Gbmain, as we all know, hasn’t put on a royal blue shirt for eighteen months after picking up an injury a few weeks after his time on Merseyside, and has been on loan in Russia for the past six months with his future still uncertain.
Since Gueye’s departure for Paris, the Toffees have too often lacked rhythm, power and defensive strength in the middle of the park.
Carlo Ancelotti tried to solve this problem with the signings of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure (who former boss Marco Silva had also wanted in the summer of 2019) and it helped. But again, they’ve also struggled with injury issues and inconsistent form, especially lately.
Delph made one of his returns from the treatment table at the end of last season and his ability to protect defence, break up attacks and use the ball intelligently and incisively proved a great addition. useful to a team that badly needed it. qualities.
I’ve been saying for a while that one of the options Frank Lampard has to prepare his team for the future is to consider a 4-3-3 version with a deeper defensive midfield.
This would give the back four extra protection and allow the other two midfielders to step forward and support the attack. It’s actually a version of how City have been playing for several seasons now with Fernandinho doing the job perfectly.
Delph could also play that kind of role, as could another player, Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is currently plying his trade at once again Premier League champions City.
Everton have been heavily linked with a move for the Ukraine international and Zinchenko is rumored to be set to leave the Etihad in search of more regular football.
There are some interesting similarities between him and 32-year-old Delph. Both obviously play for City and both prefer to operate in midfield but can slot in at left-back as well. They are also very good defensive players, but with good ability on the ball too.
Zinchenko apparently wants a guarantee that whatever club he joins – if he leaves the champions – would ensure he is able to play regularly in central midfield rather than being used as a service man as he has often been at City.
I certainly think Everton could do it because he would fit perfectly into Delph’s role in that number six type position.
As they try to improve under Lampard, one thing the Toffees need to do more of is keep possession of the ball occasionally and be better able to control the pace and tempo of games, particularly when they are far from home. A player like Zinchenko would seem ideal for this while also providing extra protection for what will likely be a new defense.
Of course, he would also provide emergency cover for international teammate Vitalii Mykolenko at left-back, if needed.
Perhaps that Ukraine connection could help the Blues persuade him to come to Goodison Park, although the likely fee would likely be a significant stumbling block.
Either way, this is all highly speculative on my part and we have to wait and see if Everton’s alleged interest is solidly founded or not.