Idrissa Gana Gueye’s big-money move to PSG looked inevitable for the best part of a year. But that does not make his departure from Everton any easier to accept.
Not only was the tough-tackling midfielder a bona fide fans’ favourite amongst a Goodison Park crowd that loves nothing more than a player who shows genuine passion for the shirt, Gueye was also one absolutely integral to the plans of Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva.
No player in the Premier League could match Gueye’s tally of 4.4 tackles per game last season. Add another 2.2 interceptions every 90 minutes and it’s clear to see why the Senegalese enforcer was so essential.
But the early signs suggest that Everton will have to break the bank to sign a replacement. Le10 Sport claim that Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Lucas Tousart and £40 million Chelsea snapper Tiemoue Bakayoko have been lined up.
But maybe not. There is value in the market if you look hard enough. Everton paid just £7 million to bring Gueye to Merseyside three years ago and they should be looking to replicate one of the most inspired bargain deals in recent years rather than immediately splurging the £25 million they have earned from Gueye's sale.
And after Aston Villa failed with a £6.35 million bid for Angers’ Baptiste Santamaria, and seemingly turned their attention to Marvelous Nakamba, Everton should have been alerted to the potential of a 24-year-old who will cost a fraction of the fee required to bring in Gbamin or Tousart.
Santamaria, like Gueye and N’Golo Kante, has made his name in French football with his ferocious tenacity and ball-winning style. 3.1 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game highlight a player who loves to do the dirty work.
L’Equipe believes an offer of £10 million could tempt Angers to sell. And, for that price, Santamaria is a risk Everton can afford to take.
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