It is no secret that Everton have been scouring the continent, and beyond, to find Leighton Baines’ long-term successor.
Countless left-backs have been linked with a summer switch to Goodison Park from Frank Fabra to Joe Bryan, Alex Telles to Aaron Cresswell. And there is now another name in the frame – Hertha Berlin’s German international Marvin Plattenhardt.
Sky Sports have claimed that the 26-year-old is the latest man on the Toffees’ radar. And what makes links with Plattenhardt so interesting is that he is almost a carbon copy of the man he would eventually replace at Goodison Park.
Baines has spent the last decade and a bit patrolling the left-hand flank in Everton colours, winning admirers from Merseyside and beyond for his wand of a left foot, his pinpoint deliveries and his trademark set-pieces. Plattenhardt, meanwhile, has earned himself a fine reputation over in the Bundesliga for precisely the same attributes.
The former Nurnburg man, who is likely to be the back-up to Jonas Hector at this summer’s World Cup, set up eight goals in all competitions in 2017/18 and, although he didn’t find the net himself, he did score three times in the 2016/17 campaign.
But it’s not the total but the manner of these goals and assists that give Everton fans a heavy dose of déjà vu. Watching Plattenhardt is like watching a young Baines in full flow.
So if Everton are looking to replace their long-serving 33-year-old, it makes sense to sign a player who is pretty much the German alternative.