Now that Everton have finally got the, what seemed like a year long, transfer saga with Gylfi Sigurdsson over the line, attentions have turned to another position of need—striker. There have been many names linked like Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace and Olivier Giroud of Arsenal, but none have received more criticism than that of the link to Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck. Over the past few days, there have been reports that Welbeck would be keen on a move to Everton to play under Ronald Koeman, which was almost immediately followed by fans’ doubts that he would make the squad better and fill the target man role Romelu Lukaku left behind in his transfer to Manchester United. And while that is true to some degree, there are some good aspects of Welbeck’s game that could really help the team out. So before everyone thinks I am crazy, let’s take a look at both sides of the argument:
Why Welbeck would be a good fit at Everton
First off, it is no secret that Welbeck would bring some much needed pace to this squad and there is no argument about that. If you have watched any of the team’s games this year, the lack of pace is extremely evident. It has been hard to hit teams on the counter-attack and we have been awful in the final third. Now the latter is because of a lack of creativity, which has certainly been taken care of with the addition of Sigurdsson, but the Toffees still need a pacey forward to get behind the defense and there is no denying that. Welbeck would help with that and would allow Rooney to play a role off of him that he is more familiar with. Some may say that Sandro is the answer to those problems, but from what I have seen over his first few games in Royal Blue, he is much better off coming down one of the wings and whipping in crosses for someone to get on the end of.
Another reason Welbeck would be a solid addition to the team is his versatility. He can play anywhere up top or in the attacking midfield and, with that pace, would be a key addition; crossing balls in from one side as Sandro whips them in from the other. Also, because of this versatility, it allows Everton to switch up their formations to better suit them against opponents with certain tendencies. Imagine playing a false 9 formation allowing the central player (probably Sigurdsson or Rooney) to slip passes through the defense to both sides of the field and keeping the defense on their toes at all times.
Finally, Welbeck has played with Rooney before up top and his addition would free Rooney up a little more to play his style of soccer. The familiarity also helps the transition a little more as both of them understand the other’s runs, which can cut down on sloppy play when Welbeck first comes into the team.
Why Welbeck would not be a good fit at Everton
Now, although I’ve just stated my case for the contrary, there are a few issues with Welbeck coming to Everton. For me, it starts with the sheer fact that Everton are looking for a goal-scoring target man that can be a like-for-like replacement for Lukaku and Welbeck is far from that. He has never scored more than 9 times in a season and standing at 6’1″ isn’t exactly an aerial threat when it comes to winning balls against a much taller, more physical centre-back.
Also, he has never been a consistent starter, never starting more than 23 games in a season, whether because of injury or by the manager’s choice, and that’s worrying. There is no way the Toffees should be paying around 30 million pounds for a guy who may not even be a consistent starter and who doesn’t fit the mold of a Lukaku, whether he has pace or not. Now, Lukaku did score a majority of the goals last year and it is expected that the goals will be a little more spread out this year, but a guy who has scored on average about 5 goals a season in all competitions is nowhere near what the Toffees need in terms of goal-scoring ability.
Finally, and this one has been on my brain for a while, where do you play him? If you are paying 30 million pounds for a player, there has to be an understanding that he will be a starter or at least play a majority of your games and when you look at Everton’s squad, there is really no place for him without taking out one of their new signings. Sandro was brought in as a striker to play alongside Rooney or out on the wing and the midfield seems to be set, even on the bench, as you have Mirallas and Bolasie backing up on one side with Lennon, and possibly Davies backing up that right side, as well as Sigurdsson, Klaassen, and Rooney filling in that CAM role, along with Barkley, if he stays. Also, you have young talent that you can use on the wings and up top in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman, both players who have impressed over the course of the preseason. After looking at all that, this transfer rumour seems a bit confusing.
All in all, yes, there are some big downsides to this possible transfer, but there are some potential upsides as well. Whether one side outweighs the other, though, is the real question.