Rafael Benitez has reached the same conclusion as Carlo Ancelotti regarding one area of his Everton squad, and desires a world class January transfer to remedy the situation, per a report.
Despite rampant scepticism, Everton have made a fine start to life under Benitez. The Toffees remain unbeaten in the league having notched three wins and one draw from their opening four league contests. They also avoided the proverbial banana skin in the EFL Cup when battling past Huddersfield Town despite Moise Kean’s red card.
But despite their encouraging start, Football Insider claim Benitez has reached a grim conclusion about his squad. What’s more, they state it’s the same realisation that dawned on former boss Ancelotti.
Citing an Everton source, they claim Benitez has concluded that none of his four centre-backs are capable of producing a steady partnership. In their words, there is no ‘natural pairing’ among Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Michael Keane.
As such, Benitez’s ‘transfer policy’ is to sign a ‘world class’ centre-half in the winter window.
Recruitment chief Marcel Brands has been made aware of the Spaniard’s outlook. Brands is described as ‘already working’ to provide Everton with a new ‘senior’ centre-back capable of marshalling the troops and exhibiting leadership.
Those requirements were hinted at during the summer window. Varying reports linked Everton with a plethora of targets including Kurt Zouma and Samuel Umtiti.
Umtiti in particular would fit the bill given his vast array of experience in a Barcelona side that have consistently challenged for top honours.
Benitez provides contrasting updates on DCL, Rodriguez
Meanwhile, Benitez provided mixed news for two of his most recognisable players. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has become Everton’s main man in recent years thanks to his form in front of goal. But they will have to do without him for their next game against Aston Villa on Saturday evening.
Calvert-Lewin is still suffering with a quadriceps injury, while already dealing with a broken toe. Therefore, Benitez is not expecting him to be available until perhaps next month.
“It’s what I said after the game,” Benitez said. “We have to wait some weeks, we don’t know exactly how many but he will not be available for two or three weeks.”
Meanwhile, James Rodriguez has not featured since the arrival of Benitez. That should come as no surprise given the difficulties he faced under Benitez at Real Madrid.
But plans were recently unveiled to reintegrate him and the playmaker is now back among the group, his boss has confirmed.
“He’s training,” Benitez said. “These kind of weeks when you play a game and you have a day off in between, it’s not easy to see much from the first training session and we will see tomorrow in another training session. He’s training normally with the team.”