Everton have reportedly become the latest second-tier Premier League side to show an interest in Barcelona’s up and coming forward Gerard Deulofeu following reports linking Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool to loan moves for the 19-year-old and the Toffees may well be the best fit for the talented youngster.
Deulofeu made four appearances across all competitions for Los Blaugrana last term, but could more regularly be seen turning out for their B team in La Liga Segunda, for whom he notched 18 times in 33 appearances.
The arrival of Neymar to augment the already formidable attacking brains trust at Camp Nou means the youngster will likely find chances to continue his development in the Barca first team thin on the ground in 2013/14.
Although he has been linked with permanent moves in the past – Liverpool offered £7.5m for Deulofeu last summer, whilst Valencia have supposedly been considering a move recently – it is thought that Barca are only open to loan moves, with no right to buy attached.
The fact that Nike signed him to a €150,000 promotional deal while he was still just 14 indicates the kind of regard the player has been held in throughout his development. However, his tendency – due to his immense technical resources – to go it alone has led some to question his long term suitability for Barca’s all-for-one-and-one-for-all tiki-taka philosophy.
The most enduring comparison he has earned to date has been with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fans of Arsenal and Tottenham – who finished fourth and fifth in the Premier League last term – may have a slightly queasy feeling about aiding a side that they would hope to be in a position to compete with in honing one of their future mainstays and for Liverpool too such a move would come with a certain portion of humble pie.
Despite the glories of their history books, the Anfield club are unlikely to find themselves in direct competition with Tito Vilanova’s men any time soon and having swelled their Spanish contingent with the summer purchases of Iago Aspas and Deulofeu’s former Barcelona B colleague Luis Alberto, the potential loanee should have little trouble getting used to life in England.
However, Liverpool already have a plethora of attacking options upon which to draw, including Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Stirling, Stewart Downing, Fabio Borini, Suso, Coutinho, Aspas and Luis Alberto, making the Toffees the best fit.
Everton have a thin enough squad to ensure regular playing time – as short-term movers such as Landon Donovan have found in the past – and lack the financial clout to be choosy about how they bring quality into their squad. In addition Roberto Martinez – who followed the road-less-travelled from Zaragoza to Wigan in 1995 – would aim him in adapting to life in English football.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.