It’s fair to say Michael Keane is yet to look like a £30 million defender at Everton. The Toffees have lost their last four games in all competitions by an aggregate score of 12-0 and the former Burnley defender looks deeply uncomfortable on the right of a back three.
However, another centre-back that would have cost Everton big money, Las Palmas’ Mauricio Lemos, can’t exactly boast a vastly superior defensive record.
According to The Sun, Everton were interested in the classy Uruguayan, who has evolved into one of Spain’s most highly rated young defenders since swapping Rubin Kazan for the Canary Island club and was even linked with Barcelona last year. Yet, the report added that Las Palmas were unwilling to sell Lemos for anything under £26 million – an asking price that allegedly put Everton manager Ronald Koeman off.
Right to wait
And although Las Palmas did keep a clean sheet in their impressive 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, Lemos played just seven minutes of the victory after recovering from a few weeks out.
In total, however, Las Palmas have kept clean sheets in just four of the 29 La Liga games that Lemos has featured in since the start of 2016/17 – and that is hardly the calling card of a centre-back worthy of a £26 million transfer fee.
The 21-year-old is not all to blame, of course. Las Palmas are renowned for their high octane attacking football which, inevitably, leaves their defence rather exposed.
And Lemos, far from an old-school centre-back, is a ‘defender’ cut from the same cloth as David Luiz. They are adventurous, technically gifted and take a mean free-kick. The hairstyles aren’t too dissimilar either.
Nonetheless, the Uruguay Under-23 international still has a lot to learn before he can make the step up to a club like Everton – even if The Toffees’ defence looks like it could do with a rather hasty makeover.