Even Manuel Neuer would have a tough time guarding the net in front of Papy Djilobodji. Spare a thought, then, for Jordan Pickford. The Sunderland shot-stopper only broke into the first-team this season and the fact that he has conceded almost two goals per game despite a string of remarkable virtuoso performances is testament to the defence’s tendency to implode at any given moment.
All in all, you could perhaps understand why the 22-year-old would be eyeing up the escape route, local lad or not. And the Liverpool Echo claim that Everton have identified Pickford as a potential long-term number one at Goodison Park due to concerns over the reliability of Maarten Stekelenberg and Joel Robles.
On face value, Pickford would be an excellent addition. His reflexes look as sharp as any keeper in the league and, at just 22, there is plenty of room for development.
Yet, on the flipside, perhaps Everton should take a look at the last goalkeeper to make the move from Wearside to Merseyside and consider their options more thoroughly.
Like Pickford, Simon Mignolet excelled in the North East, earning a reputation as one of the league’s top goalkeepers. Though perhaps the league’s most overworked goalkeeper would be a better description.
Thanks to a similarly flimsy backline, the Belgian was often called upon to produce stunning individual performances, making save after save to prevent humiliation. In fact, he made so many stops that the odd error was overlooked. Pickford, who has been far from faultless this season, finds himself in a similar situation.
And, at Liverpool where chances for the opposition come at a premium, at least compared to Sunderland, Mignolet has been found wanting in big moments with no virtuoso performances to paper over the cracks.
Everton, be warned.