From El-Hadji Diouf to Milan Jovanovic, Liverpool have learned the hard way over the years that a few decent displays at the World Cup is not the most accurate barometer of a player’s suitability to the Premier League.
But this should not stop Merseyside rivals Everton from keeping a close eye on events in Russia this summer. Because there will be more than a few players on show who could plug the gaps in the Toffees’ lopsided squad.
Finding a long-term successor for Leighton Baines is proving easier said than done with the likes of Danny Rose, Joe Bryan, Joe Pearce and Patrick van Aanholt seemingly heading elesehwere or staying where they are.
Everton, then, need to think outside the box. And signing their former talisman’s little brother would certainly raise eyebrows.
Jordan Lukakua, unlike his brother Romelu, is a defender not a striker. But, should he start at left-back for Belgium, he will show that pace and fearsome power run in the family. Lukaku impressed for Lazio in 2017/18 and would be a bargain answer to the left-back problem.
Everton have a wide range of midfielders who specialise in certain jobs but none are a jack of all trades like Kovacic. The Real Madrid dynamo is expected to start alongside teammate Luka Modric in a star-studded Croatian midfield and he will be chomping at the bit after a third straight year warming the Bernabeu bench.
Kovacic remains on the periphery at the reigning Kings of Europe but is one of the most complete young midfielders on the continent and would walk into an Everton midfield that is perhaps better on paper than it is on grass.
Back in 2016, Everton enquired about a speedy Danish winger by the name of Pione Sisto. He had just scored home and away against Manchester United for minnows FC Midtjylland in the Europa League.
But, since joining Celta Vigo two years ago, he has taken his game to a new level and heads to Russia as Denmark’s creator-in-chief alongside Christian Eriksen. An exciting and ambitious left winger who thrives on cutting inside on to his power-packed right boot, Sisto could provide the spark that appears to have deserted Yannick Bolasie.
Who knows what the future holds for Michy Batshuayi at Chelsea. The Belgian striker has barely started a Premier League game in two seasons under Antonio Conte and was forced out to Borussia Dortmund on loan in January. But, with the Italian heavily tipped to depart, Batshauyi could be handed a second chance.
Until then, however, Everton should make the former Marseille striker their top target. FootMercato claimed they made an ambitious move for Batshuayi last summer and, if they were willing to meet his £50 million price-tag this time round, Chelsea could struggle to turn an offer down.
The 24-year-old scored seven goals in nine Bundesliga starts for Dortmund and just needs regular first-team football in order to find some rhythm.
If Batshuayi struggled in the Premier League, that is nothing compared to Andrej Kramaric. The Croatian spent one year at Leicester City between 2015 and 2016, scored just twice, and was shunted out to Hoffenheim.
But now he is showing the Foxes what they could have had – and what Everton need. Kramaric is a goal-scorer and a creator in equal measure, notching 28 goals and 14 assists in the last two seasons for overachievers Hoffenheim.
He would offer Everton options in both the number nine and number ten roles.
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