With Leighton Baines hitting 32, Everton manager Ronald Koeman will be painfully aware that he cannot put off searching for a successor for the long-serving left-back. For now, however, it appears that he is content with merely adding depth to a squad hoping to balance domestic and European competition next season.
So who better than a player who has spent the last seven years of his career at one of the continent’s most illustrious, and expectant, clubs. Gazzetta Dello Sport claim that Everton are mulling over a move for Inter Milan full-back Yuto Nagatomo.
The Japanese international has been at the San Siro since 2010 and, somewhat unfortunately, coincided with the club’s dramatic decline.
After all, Inter lifted an unprecedented treble under Jose Mourinho just twelve months earlier but, in the seven years since, have only one Coppa Italia to show for their efforts.
In many ways, Nagatomo highlights the fall in standards at the recently-great Inter. Though that is not to suggest he could not do a job at Goodison Park, where his top level experience and versatility could prove invaluable.
Big in Japan
The 93-time Japan international only signed a new contract until 2019 recently and has frequently intimated a desire to stay in Milan for the remainder of his career. However, his opportunities appear to be drying up, with only 12 Serie A appearances to his name this season.
This, then, should give Everton hope that the deal would not be as complicated as first seems.
However, Nagatomo’s addition would likely to spell the end for Luke Garbutt at Goodison Park.
The former Leeds United youngster impressed when making his breakthrough under Roberto Martinez but, since Ronald Koeman’s arrival, he has been stripped of his squad number and farmed out to Wigan Athletic on loan.
The Liverpool Echo reports that Garbutt wants to stay but, if Everton are to progress, they cannot allow sentiment to get in the way of sense.