The prospect of Kieran Tierney joining Everton from Celtic is an intriguing career move for the 21 year-old Scottish international, as it would mean leaving his boyhood club & regular Champions League football behind for the vision pitched Marcel Brands & Marco Silva (as well as a boost to the bank account for that matter).
However, a young fullback with the promise of Tierney is somewhat of a rarity in this current market, as they are often allured by a top 6 club, or a European superpower overseas. So, if the deal of Tierney to Everton falls through or is at any point hijacked, here are 5 options at left-back that could solve Everton’s longstanding problem in that position.
1. Joe Byran- Bristol City
2017/18 can be considered a fairytale season for Bristol City particularly in the EFL Cup, claiming wins against Premier League sides Watford, Stoke, Crystal Palace most impressively Manchester United where standout performer Joe Byran found himself on the scoresheet after bombing his way up the pitch & slamming an impressive strike into the top corner against David De Gea.
Bristol & their 24 year-old left-back also gave a good account of themselves against eventual PL champions Manchester City falling short 2-1 at the Etihad & 3-2 at Ashton Gate as their cup run came to a close in the 2 legged semi-final. Byran’s value may as risen as a consequence of good form, but it should not deter Everton from going in given the deal for Tierney fails.
2. Ryan Bertrand- Southampton
Formerly a Champions League winner at Chelsea, Ryan Bertrand is in somewhat of a similar situation to Everton’s own Theo Walcott & Micheal Keane, in spite of their previous inclusion with the England national team they have fallen out of Gareth Southgate & Steve Holland’s new look side which operates with 3 central defenders & wingbacks.
At 28, Bertrand may not be “one for the future” & he could easily continue his current venture at relegation dodgers Southampton where he is now captain, however, Bertrand has always presented himself as a player with uncovered potential & a move to Everton would be in keeping with the Blues’ predominantly English speaking backline so integrating into the defence may be a lot more seamless than the likes of Eliquim Mangala & Cuco Martina,
3. Diego Laxalt- Genoa
Diego Laxalt would provide Everton with a completely different skillset than what they currently have down the left, particularly at left fullback. With pace & physicality which is custom to the Premier League, Laxalt played a key role in Uruguay side that made it to the quarter-finals in World Cup, conceding just 3 goals in 5 games.
His praises are not entirely predicated on his impressive World Cup performance either, as the former Inter man notched 3 goals in 3 assists in rather underwhelming Genoa side last season. Despite being more utilised as a left-midfielder, his physical attributes may show a position change to left-back may be good for him.
4. Jetro Willems
Jetro Willems will be a man Marcel Brands is very familiar with, after all- Brands was at the helm of PSV Eindhoven when overseeing Williams departure to Eintracht Frankfurt in July last year.
24 years-old & brimming with pace, Williams was part of Niko Kovac’s Frankfurt team that disrupted the balance of power in Germany, pipping FC Hollywood Bayern Munich to the Pokal last season. Welcoming silverware in a first season at Everton would be just as welcomed.
5. Philipp Max- Augsburg
Though interest in Hertha Berlin’s Marvin Plattenhardt has thought to have run its course, there is another left-back in Germanys’s top division who could be valued on par with the likes of Kieran Tierney.
Racking up 12 assists, more than anyone in the Bundesliga in 2017/18, Philipp Max is a second generation footballer after his father Marvin was a prolific goalscorer for 1860 Munich. That would explain the natural athleticism his son showcases on the pitch,
Max was heavily involved in terms of contributing to goals last season & is a menace when it comes to putting the ball into the box. He has renewed his contract as recently as last year, but he would certainly be an option to explore if the deal for Tierney stagnates.
Max Carlyle (@Max_Carlyle)