Everton opinion: Toffees should sign Karim Rekik as Zouma alternative
According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton have set their sights on Hertha Berlin centre-back Karim Rekik this summer, with the report claiming that the Toffees have lined up the Dutchman as an alternative should a permanent deal for Kurt Zouma fail to materialize.
Zouma, who spent last season on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea, played a key role at the back for Marco Silva and was amongst the standout performers at the club.
However, the Toffees are yet to finalise a permanent deal for the Frenchman and they might find it difficult to do so in the coming weeks given the current transfer embargo at Stamford Bridge.
Everton have already made a strong statement of intent by signing Barcelona loanee Andre Gomes permanently following his successful loan spell last season.
However, Marco Silva has plenty of other problems to address before the transfer deadline in August, with a new striker and a centre-back being the need of the hour.
Zouma continues to be one of the top targets but Chelsea’s transfer ban means that the Blues might be reluctant to lose any players this summer.
Rekik is not a completely unknown entity in English football given that the Dutch centre-back had spent his formative years in the youth ranks at Man City.
However, he never really shot to prominence in the Premier League and made only a handful of appearances for the Citizens in the 2011-12 season, spending time on loan at Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth in the Championship.
Interestingly, Everton’s Director of Football Marcel Brands is likely to know Rekik, who he signed on a two-season loan deal from Man City during his time as the director at Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, the Toffees’ links with Rekik might have something to do with Brands’ knowledge of the player.
Rekik made a total of 27 appearances in all competitions last season, as Hertha Berlin finished 11th in the Bundesliga. The 24-year-old has been a regular starter in the German top-flight since his move from French club Marseille in 2017 and the Dutchman has amassed 58 appearances for Hertha over the course of the past couple of campaigns.
Standing at 6ft 1in with a towering and well-built frame, Rekik is not only adept at winning aerial balls inside his own penalty area but he is also more than capable of keeping the opposition at bay with his sharp anticipation, agility and athleticism.
An aggressive defender with incredible passing attributes, Rekik is largely about pace and power, although he would be expected to improve on his positioning and composure in the years to come.
To put things into perspective, Karim Rekik presents a viable alternative to Kurt Zouma in the market and while the Toffees are likely to push hard to get a deal over the line for the Chelsea loanee, they can as well start keeping close tabs on the Dutchman.
Hertha Berlin recently signed Dedryck Boyata on a free transfer from Celtic, meaning that the German club might be tempted to cash in on Rekik should the Toffees put a suitable offer on the table.
Also, Rekik has considerable experience of playing in three of the top five leagues in Europe, so he would certainly be worth a punt for Everton.
Everton only secured an 8th-place finish in the Premier League last season but the Toffees showed strong signs of promise under Silva, with the club registering some impressive performances against the big-six sides.
The likes of Andre Gomes, Zouma, Richarlison and Lucas Digne, who came through the door last summer, played a key role in their success and keeping that in mind, new arrivals could once again go a long way towards deciding Everton’s fortunes next term.
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That said, they shouldn’t hesitate to strike a deal for Rekik should Chelsea refuse to let go of Zouma permanently.