Are Liverpool right to be angry with Jordan Pickford and Richarlison after fiery Everton clash?

Liverpool were furious after their derby clash with Everton at the weekend as the Toffeemen seemed to dish it out on Liverpool’s players as the two teams drew 2-2. But should Liverpool hold resentment for what happened and are they justified? If so should Everton be reprimanded and face any FA action?

It all started when a high ball was contested by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk who had come surging forward looking for the loose ball. Pickford went into van Dijk who went down in pain and tried to continue but couldn’t. There were screams for a penalty since the incident happened in the area but that was rendered obsolete given that van Dijk had been offside. But should Pickford have been punished for his challenge?

Though thoughtless and controversial Pickford was looking up at the high ball and not at Van Dijk and that is why despite the outcome it would have been harsh to have sent off Pickford which would have been the initial reaction- but the officials decided to do nothing and again that feels wrong. There didn’t seem to be any intent but to have let off Pickford completely didn’t make any sense. The player should have been booked and talked too. After all it was a reckless challenge. Even after the game the FA did want to review the incident but couldn’t because their own rules state that if the referee didn’t bring it up during the game then there is nothing that can be done.

Sadly for Van Dijk he has damaged his knee and cruciate ligaments and could miss the rest of the season which would be a huge blow to Liverpool. Though the best case scenario is that the player could be back as early as February. Still what  a miss for the champions.

Whilst the Pickford incident grabbed all of the headlines perhaps it should have been Richarlison’s tackle on Liverpool’s new signing Thiago Alcantara later in the game that did. It was a badly mistimed moment from the Brazilian which saw his studs slam straight into Thiago’s shin and could have meant the end of the ex Bayern Munich players season. It was that bad. Gladly justice was served on this occasion and Richarlison was shown a straight red card, he will miss the next 3 games which will be a blow for Everton and he has let his team mates down.

The good news for Thiago is that he has escaped serious injury, and officially has a knock and will be assessed for the clubs up coming games, for him he somehow escaped serious injury.

But the fall out of what has happened looks like it will linger for much of the season. Whilst both clubs do have a rivalry it seems to be much more intense this season given how well Everton have started the season, and after this game they remain top of the league. It also seems that the blue half of Merseyside are not exactly happy that Liverpool are finally champions after having to wait 30 years and herein lies Everton’s response; to start this season as well as they can, and it certainly is the clubs best start to a season in a generation.

There is a determination for the club to make an impact and they are fed up of being in Liverpool’s shadow and seeing the red half of the city not only win the league but also last year’s Champions League. Enough is enough, and we saw that Everton are trying their best to compete with Liverpool on the field. How many times for example would we have seen the club crumble when going a goal behind and so early on against their neighbours? And Everton came back twice to do that.

The downside to Everton though is their aggression. Of course derby games have always had that added spice and passion but there is also a line that shouldn’t be broken. No players should be missing of the season because adrenalin is running high and because of that Liverpool do have a point in being angry with Everton and the fires do seem to have been stoked.

Liverpool will not remain quiet about what has happened at the weekend and that is fair enough. But football isn’t just a physical game but a psychological one and the Reds wil keep up their fury until the teams meet again later in the season. By going all out that they were the victims in the first game they may end up getting the sympathy vote in the second if Everton step out of line.

As it stands Everton got away it when you also include that Liverpool appeared to have scored a winning goal and yet it was ruled offside. That just rubbed the salt into Liverpool’s wounds some more.

Roll on when the clubs meet again, it should be very interesting indeed.

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James, Allan, Doucoure – Everton predicted XI vs Spurs

Everton fans head into the 2020-21 Premier League season with a little more optimism than usual.

The Merseyside club have splashed out more than £50 million to bring Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure to the club this week.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will now be looking to challenge for the European places this season after a disappointing end to the last campaign which saw them finish 12th.

The Toffees begin their campaign on Sunday away to Tottenham Hotspur, who themselves underachieved last season.

A number of players can be expected to make their debut this weekend and here’s how I see Ancelotti’s side starting the match:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford put in a number of below par performances last season but doesn’t have much in the way of competition for the number one role at Goodison Park. The England international could certainly do with a better campaign this time around though, now with Dean Henderson competing for the a starting role at Euro 2021.

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Gabriel signing could determine how far Everton have come

Everton have emerged as the front runners to sign Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The player is currently with Lille and has impressed the Premier League side who are willing to spend £30m to get his services for next season.

If Everton get the player simply known as Gabriel it would be seen as a major swoop, and they certainly look the favourites to secure his services at this time. One of the reasons that the transfer would be impressive is because both Arsenal and Chelsea have shown an interest. Not only are both clubs equipped with larger budgets, but because of recent successes they would also have more pulling power.

One has to remember that Everton have not won a major trophy since 1995 when they won the FA Cup. Some could see Chelsea and Arsenal in transition at this moment but both clubs are still powerful and can attract the very best players in Europe. The question is could Gabriel’s head be turned? Could Chelsea for example offer more wages, or a bigger transfer fee to Lille?

The good news for Everton is that they have Carlo Ancelotti as manager and no one can deny that he is amongst the very best managers in Europe his CV speaks for itself and that could mean everything in Everton persuading Gabriel to join and be coached by one of the greats.

However is £30m too much of a risk on Gabriel? The defender has only played 34 games for Lille since his move there in 2017, and one of those reasons is that he has been loaned out to Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. Why would you loan out a player, if he is worth £30m to you?

Of course it could simply be that Gabriel has needed time to grow and adapt as a player and at 22 he is still young and learning. He hasn’t made the Brazilian national team yet but has played for the under 20 side. Also Gabriel would be able to link up with Richarlison, Everton’s Brazilian forward who has improved his game since joining Everton from Watford, that could also be a major plus.

The transfer though isn’t assured, as both Arsenal and Chelsea also have another trick up their sleeves, which is the pulling power of life in London and all that comes with it.

It will be interesting then to see if the Ancelotti effect has taken on some importance, as he looks like the only major ‘player’ in proceedings that could swing this deal Everton’s way.

If they do get their man, well done, but presently Gabriel seems a little unproven for the money being talked about.

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Premier League: Player of the Week: Richarlison

It was an odd week of Premier League football given that there were just 3 games. Originally the total was 4 but Manchester City and West Ham had to be postponed because of bad storms.

Most players did not play then, and most did not perform, there were only a couple of players that stood out in fact and one of those was Everton’s Richarlison.

The Brazilian has been a little hot and cold this season but it was truly significant, one suspects, that he scored last weekend as Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Goodison Park.

It was a goal that Richarlison needed and it is one that has also calmed down perhaps the stormy waters from last month. It was reported in January that Barcelona had shown interest to sign Richarlison for 100m euros and Everton had quickly rejected. What transpired was very important when manager Carlo Ancelotti said that the Brazilian is a big part of Everton’s future and to important to be sold. Everton had just turned down Barcelona, but their advancements could still have turned Richarlison’s head, not so. The Brazilian has been very committed to the club since then and has played some very good football, Though fans would have wanted a few more goals from him, well scoring against Palace went some way to rectifying that.

So far this season Richarlison has earned 38 points he is by far then in terms of fantasy rankings the most successful player at Everton this season and is 18 points ahead of Lucas Digne.

However as strikers go in the Premier League he is a little behind in 12th place, for example Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who is currently in 1st position has almost double the points of him.

From Richarlison’s 24 starts he has scored 9 goals and assisted in a further 3 meaning that he has contributed 12 goals to Everton’s season so far. The club have scored 34 goals so far and so Richarlison has been involved in 35% of the teams goals- so on reflection no wonder Ancelotti was so reluctant to see his player, plus Barcelona had come in very late on and Everton would not have had the time to replace anyway.

Richarlison can be brought into your team for 7.5m which seems like a great price and he has been overall a good success at Everton. Fans still believe he could score 5-10 more goals a season and that would certainly boost his standing. For now though he is certainly one of the more eye catching strikers in the Premier League.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from the Weekend

The winter break has meant that games are now being staggered across the Premier League which means every team will end up, at one stage, getting at least 2 weeks off. This weekend then there was just 4 games to be played. However bad weather conditions meant that the most anticipated match between Manchester City and West Ham had to be called off.

So only 3 Premier League games took place this weekend and there were nice wins for Everton and Sheffield United who have put the heat on Chelsea to try and stake what many would believe is a shock claim for a top 4 spot. Can both clubs find a nice run of consistency? It might be all it takes.

Below then we take a look at the best players from this weekend, having to select from just the 3 games that were eventually played. Did any of your players play this weekend? And how many points did they get? Let’s take a look.

Formation: 4-4-2:

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster- Watford 0pts

Because of the lack of games and the fact that every goalkeeper conceded this weekend we have ended up with a bizarre situation where the best goalkeeper in the league ends up with zero points. That’s because some dipped into the minus points. Foster conceded as Watford drew with Brighton 1-1, away from home which was a decent result for them and Foster made some very good saves to help earn a point.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 0pts

Yerry Mina played the whole game and conceded a goal which jumped him back down to zero points. Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and Mina now has a total of 19 points.

Defender: Michael Keane- Everton 0pts

Michael Keane hasn’t started many games for Everton but he put in a decent shift in the game even if he couldn’t earn any points this weekend, conceding just 1 goal but his team won anyway.

Defender: Shane Duffy- Brighton 0pts

Shane Duffy played a good game as Brighton drew 1-1 with Watford. He is a bargain at just 1.5m and has earned 12 points the majority of those in the last few weeks,

Defender: Craig Cathcart- Watford 0pts

Watford got a decent result at Brighton with the game ending 1-1 and that was a valued point earned away from home. Cathcart has 21 points and is ranked as Watford’s 2nd best defender so far this season.

Midfielder: John Lundstram- Sheffield United 4pts

Points earned! John Lundstram scored for Sheffield United as they won a vital game 2-1 over Bournemouth who were threatening to take a point from them and the win has sent the Blades into 5th place.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure-Watford 4pts

Doucoure scored against Brighton and was able to earn a vital point for his relegation threatened team. He earned 4 points and now has a total of 28, he has been in fine form too and could be worth picking up for the remainder of the season.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 2pts

Wilfried Zaha was on the losing side, 3-1 against Everton but the highly thought of player showed a lot of creativity and he assisted in Palace’s goal, which at the time was an important one as the club had just equalised.

Midfielder: Theo Walcott- Everton 2pts

Theo Walcott has upped his game in recent weeks and started to score points. Walcott had an unlucky game as he had to go off injured after just 25 minutes but he still managed to assist in Everton’s opening goal which led the way to their victory at the weekend over Crystal Palace.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton 4pts

Richarlison scored his 9th goal for Everton this season as they swept by Crystal Palace winning 3-1. He now has 38 points for the season and is worth adding to your team as he has really grown in confidence over the last few weeks.

Striker: Billy Sharp- Sheffield United 4pts

Billy Sharp has suffered with some set backs with injury lately so it was impressive of him to bounce back and get a vital goal which helped the Blades to secure 3 huge points and gives them a chance of European football next season.

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Premier League Predictions for the Weekend

Because of the winter break some games have been broken up and staggered and we will only have 4 games being played this weekend. Of the top six only one team will be in action which will be current champions Manchester City. They have the opportunity to close the gap on Liverpool to 19 points. All jokes aside, City need the win to maintain 2nd place as Leicester are only 2 points behind.

At the bottom West Ham and Bournemouth need to pick up points and Brighton could also get sucked into the relegation fight. The problem for West Ham is that they will face Manchester City and under David Moyes the London club has just one win in the league so far.

Let’s take a look at the 4 games being played over the weekend and analyse what could happen.

Everton v Crystal Palace

Everton are unbeaten in their last 4 games and at home they have not lost this year. Crystal Palace have no wins this year and have lost back to back games. This game should be close but Everton should have more than enough to win this game. Richarlison is due a goal too. Everton to beat Crystal Palace

Brighton v Watford

Brighton have drawn 3 of their last 5 games and just can’t find 3 points as they slip down the table. Watford look liked pulling off the great escape but are still in 19th and have not won for their last 3 games. Both teams may just be happy to share the points. Draw

Sheffield United v Bournemouth

The Blades have had a very good season and would feel disappointed not to win this game. Bournemouth have slipped to 16th place but won their last two matches but they were at home. Bournemouth have lost 8 from 12 away including their last 3 in a row. Look out for United’s John Fleck who could be a danger in midfield. Sheffield United to beat Bournemouth

Manchester City v West Ham

Each time Manchester City have lost a game like they did last weekend against Tottenham they have won and scored many goals in the next one. West Ham have been really poor lately and are now in the bottom three. They will set up to defend and if City can score early there could be a floodgate of goals. The Hammers are under huge pressure and the weaker team and City have none now and will enjoy their football. Sergio Aguero at the ready. Manchester City to beat West Ham

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Premier League: Fantasy Picks for the Weekend

The first ever winter break is taking place in the Premier League in England and it has been something managers have been calling for for some time. However that doesn’t mean that the league is taking a total break. Instead what will happen is that some teams will have 2 weeks off and then the ones playing this weekend will then have two weeks off- that is the plan anyway.

In total there are 4 Premier League games taking place this weekend, are your players playing? If so you could be in luck for some extra points, or you might want to be very shrewd and take a look at who we are picking this weekend to earn maximum fantasy league points.

Goalkeeper: Simon Moore- Sheffield United

Sheffield United have been brilliant this season and are in 6th place. This is a risky choice to pick Simon Moore here because he has been injured for the season, but he has recovered now so the manager needs to make a choice. At one point surely Moore will get his chance and the Blades are playing Bournemouth at home and will be the favourites to win.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton

Yerry Mina is playing his best football since arriving with Everton. Not only is he helping his side in defence he is also scoring goals, and got 2 last weekend. He has helped keep 6 clean sheets so far and Everton will be at home to Crystal Palace.

Defender: Kyle Walker- Manchester City

Manchester City will play West Ham at home and everyone is thinking they can win and score a lot of goals too. But they also have a good chance to keep a clean sheet against an under confident West Ham side. Walker has kept 6 clean sheets so far this season.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton

Lucas Digne has 20 points so far this season and he is Everton’s best defender. He has kept 6 clean sheets and even though he hasn’t scored a goal, that is not his job and yet he has assisted for 5 goals this season. A versatile player that would only cost you 5.5m and Everton play at home to Crystal Palace so there is every chance he could keep a clean sheet.

Defender: Adam Masina- Watford

Watford do not have an easy game away to Brighton, but the club have shown so much promise that they could be a threat here. Despite losing to Everton last weekend and being 2 goals to the good, Adam Masina did score and one would hope his confidence will be good for this game.

Midfielder: Theo Walcott- Everton

We have liked the look at Walcott’s form for some weeks and he came on through last weekend scoring the last minute winner against Watford. Everton being back at home against Crystal Palace should present the home side with a few opportunities and Walcott has notched up 13 points so far.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva- Manchester City

When Manchester City lose games they usually bounce back and get a big score and they will be at home to West Ham, a club who currently look in crisis. There is potential here for Silva and City to do very well. And we have tried to pick out a good value player for the club who would cost you 8.5m and he has acquired 39 points this season.

Midfielder: Pascal Groß- Brighton

Pascal Groß scored a goal last weekend against West Ham as Brighton stunned the Hammers coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3. He has been involved in six of his clubs goals this season and Brighton will need this win at home as they could get sucked into the relegation battle.

Midfielder: John Lundstram- Sheffield United

John Lundtstram is a reliable midfielder who has 30 points this season and should be brought into many teams when you think his cost is just 2.5m. He has scored 3 goals and also assisted in another two and looks a real find for the club.

Striker: Gabriel Jesus- Manchester City

Gabriel Jesus looks like a bargain at 8m and with City being at home to West Ham we would think there could be a lot of goals for the home side and Jesus has every chance of scoring. He has netted 9 goals so far this season and also assisted in another 4 games.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton

The Brazilian was linked with a surprise move away to Barcelona just last week. But Everton rejected this. What has been important is his manager Carlo Ancelotti who has stated how important Richarlison is to the club, Brazilian’s love to feel wanted and it is very possible that Richarlison will act in a very positive way when his club play Crystal Palace at home. He has scored 8 goals so far and assisted 3 times.

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Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Watford 2-3 Everton

To tell you the truth there has always been a bit of animosity between Watford and Everton. You could go all the way back to the 1984 FA Cup final when Everton beat Watford 2-0. As the final whistle went the Everton fans started singing ”I guess that’s why they call us the Blues”. This was in reference to Elton John who was part of the board of Watford- he is a long time fan, and his hit song- talk about a sucker punch.

Most recently the teams have clashed off the pitch twice. Firstly when Everton did everything in their power to secure the services of Marco Silva, the then Watford manager (look at how that turned out). Then once Silva had jumped ship he put in a bid for Watford striker Richarlison, and for £40m that was accepted, to say the fans were livid of Everton by now would be an understatement.

Led by club captain Troy Deeney there has been a determination and maybe a little menace behind the clubs action to go and beat Everton, and they have been successful in the last few seasons at doing that. This past weekend looked to be no different, as they cruised into a 2-0 lead, but there would be a sting in the tail for the Hornets.

Not only could this match be considered the game of the weekend in the Premier League, it was also the comeback of the weekend, although Brighton did very well at West Ham coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.

Of all players nobody was expecting Watford defender Adam Masina to open the scoring, but then again this match would turn into a game of defenders. It was Masina’s first goal for the club in his 2 seasons at Vicarage Road. At 1-0 Watford were in control and then there was a crazy 5 minutes where the game swung from huge Watford advantage to no advantage at all.

When Robert Pereyra struck for the home side with three minutes to go of the first half to make it 2-0 the game looked finished. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was most upset. Pereyra had just scored his 3rd goal of the season and maybe his most important thus far.

But as Jimmy Greaves once said football is a funny old game and that sentence came to haunt Watford in the name of Yerry Mina, Everton’s defender who had only scored 1 goal for the club previously. Mina struck from a corner in the injury time of the first half, and literally seconds after scoring, he repeated his goal again! All of a sudden the teams went in at half time and the score was 2-2. Everton were jubilant and back in the game, Watford’s players walked off the pitch as if they were losing 3-0.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2nd half whilst the clubs had shared possession the home side had no further shots on goal. When Everton’s Fabian Delph was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go, it felt like the match was going to end in a draw. Certainly playing against ten men did not encourage the Hornets.

But there would be one final cruel twist for Watford, when in the 90th minute Theo Walcott struck the ball home and past the goalkeeper to give Everton all three points. The players were ecstatic as Watford’s ones fell to the ground.

Watford have been very good in the past two months yanking themselves out of bottom place. But they have slumped a little in their last three games and manager Nigel Pearson will have to make it crystal clear to the team that they can’t feel sorry for themselves, they are still very much in the relegation battle.

As for Everton the win moved them past Arsenal and into 9th. What a turnaround it has been for the club since Carlo Ancelotti arrived, from flirting with relegation to possibly finishing in the top half of the table, and what a game of football that was, well, unless you were a Watford fan.

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Everton have a clear future under Carlo Ancelotti

Of course Everton have denied reports that Barcelona came after Richarlison last week as the transfer window closed. The Spanish champions had reportedly bid 100m euros on the Brazilian which Everton had rejected immediately.

If it was true then the club would have spoken to club manager Carlo Ancelotti, and he was having none of it. He was asked in a press conference and it was very clear that Richarlison is not for sale. This will be refreshing news for a club like Everton who are so used to losing their best players. Ancelotti even stated that the current team can be built around the talents of the Brazilian and that he is here to stay. And so he should  be, by all accounts he only signed an extended contract in December which would see him at the club until 2024.

These are encouraging times for Everton. When Ancelotti arrived they were flirting with relegation, now they are above a team like Arsenal and in 9th place, form is good and Everton are getting the results.

This past weekend also showed great mental strength as the club came back from 2-0 down against Watford who are fighting relegation themselves to win 3-2 after a 90th minute Theo Walcott goal.

The atmosphere has really shifted at the club and there is a feel good momentum not seen since Roberto Martinez’s first season here and not as big since David Moyes first arrived on the scene almost 20 years ago. The fact that Everton have a name like Ancelotti in the dug out is still pinch yourself stuff from an Everton fans perspective. They might be seen in the same light as a team like West Ham, yet it is the Hammers living in the past having appointed Moyes who is now clearly past his best. Everton have moved on and they boast a better manager than a lot of clubs in the Premier League now, they decided to take that huge leap and whatever they are paying Ancelotti he is clearly worth it.

After disappointly going out of the FA Cup Everton’s season in effect ended, but it also feels like there is a new dawn for the club. What will be the clubs objective for the remainder of the season? Glancing at the league table they are just one win from 6th place and they could be aiming for a points total of 60. That could well ensure 6th and a possible Europa League place which would be a step in the right direction.

Also there was heartwarming news for the club who have confirmed that Andre Gomes will return after his horrific injury. He should be available for the clubs game away to Arsenal in three weeks time. There is a long road to go for both Gomes and Everton but at the moment things are certainly looking up.

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Were Everton wrong to turn down Barcelona’s €100m bid for Richarlison?

This week Barcelona made a surprise bid for Everton striker Richarlison and reportedly offered the club €100m euros. It is thought that Everton immediately rejected the offer, but were the Premier League side wrong to do so?

Barcelona have been panicking of late after the news that striker Luis Suarez will miss four months of the season which will effectively rule him out for the rest of it. The Catalan giants have been looking to secure a striker, but finding a good one is always traditionally hard in the January transfer window. Not many people would have thought the club would be asking Everton for one of their players, but according to many reports that is exactly what they did.

Everton want to build with what they have and it is obvious that manager Carlo Ancelotti was having none of it, and the thought of selling Richarlison was rejected. There is no clear news about what happened behind the scenes, would the Everton board have sold the Brazilian if they didn’t have such a strong headed manager like Ancelotti in charge? If as expected Ancelotti was against the sale and yet Everton had gone through with it that could have started a snowball effect with the Italian manager which could have led for many problems for the club.

However Barcelona’s bid did seem like a fair one. Everton bought Richarlison for £40m 18 months ago and they would have doubled their profit on the player. Whilst Richarlison has shown promise he has failed to be consistent enough. True the club started to struggle under Marco Silva this season but Richarlison wasn’t able to lead the team as they nosedived near to the bottom three.

In 57 league games Richarlison has scored 21 goals, that isn’t by any means terrible but neither is it good for a player that another team are willing to spend so much on. This season he has scored 8 goals from 22 games. Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is the same age as Richarlison has played the same games and scored 10, and really looks to have grown as a player since Ancelotti came in.

It’s a tough one for Everton then. Because Richarlson let’s face it on his day is the clubs best player, a piece of star dust that can turn the game. But at the same time Barcelona offered a lot of money. There are really many ways of looking it. Imagine if Everton were in the bottom three or 17th and needed his goals, then it would make sense to reject the offer. But Everton are 7 points clear of the relegation zone and they will almost certainly be safe this season. The club need the extra funds too after posting a year end loss of £110m.

But the club also need to be run properly, and had they sold him they would be a man down for the rest of the season, they wouldn’t have found a decent replacement with just a couple of days left.

Does this mean that Richarlison could leave in the summer though? You could forgive him for having his head turned at the thought that Barcelona wanted him, and if the club still feel the same way at the end of the season then Everton will have a huge battle on their hands to keep him.

Perhaps the best solution has already been made. Keep him until the summer and if there is interest and the money is good don’t let this one run and run if the player wants to leave, make it happen and invest wisely.

So Everton could have taken the money now and sold him, but you can see the clubs point of view, and perhaps they have, for now, made the right decision.

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