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Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has emerged as a shock transfer target for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, according to reports from Don Balon.
Atleti’s current first-choice goalkeeper, Jan Oblak, is on the radar of Arsenal and Chelsea, who are reportedly set to battle it out for the Slovenian. Diego Simeone is reportedly preparing for life without Oblak and has identified Jordan Pickford as the replacement.
Amidst interest from the Los Rojiblancos, should the Toffees retain the player or look to cash in on him?
The 24-year-old came through the Sunderland academy and after going out on loan to a number of clubs, he managed to nail down a place in the Black Cats first-team in the 2016/17 campaign. Pickford was Sunderland’s best player of the season despite the team’s relegation from the English top-flight.
Following the relegation, Pickford signed for Everton last summer for an initial fee of £25m and has established himself as one of the most promising custodians in the Premier League. So far, the 24-year-old has made 39 appearances in all competitions for the Toffees, managing just 9 clean sheets. However, the major reason for this is the leaky defence in front of him.
Someone with sharp reflexes, composure and extremely high levels of concentration, Pickford has made himself as the top contender for the No.1 spot in the England national team for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. He only made his debut for the Three Lions in November last year.
This season has been a roller coaster ride for Everton, starting from the disappointment in the early stages that resulted in the sacking of Ronald Koeman, to the improvement under current manager Sam Allardyce that saw them get out of the relegation battle, before getting into a run of poor form again.
Amidst all this, Pickford has been a bright spot for Everton with reliable displays between the sticks on a consistent basis. There have been a few blips but on the whole, the 24-year-old has demonstrated his skills and composure throughout the season, showing he has what it takes to become a top-class goalkeeper. This is why Everton must not sell him.
No matter what the offer might be, the Toffees must stay strong and hold on to their huge English asset that Jordan Pickford is. Keeping hold of him is the best way forward for the Merseysiders and it would send out a strong message to their rivals.