Why Sheffield United star John Egan would be a real coup for Everton
Playing at the heart of Chris Wilder’s preferred back-three system alongside the likes of Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham, John Egan has been instrumental in Sheffield United’s early-season success in the Premier League this term.
As a result, the 27-year-old’s dogged displays at the back have put him on the radar of Everton.
Born in Cork, Ireland, Egan started his footballing education at Greenwood FC in his homeland and spent nine years over there before earning a move to the north-east of England with Sunderland in 2009.
However, he never made a senior appearance for the Black Cats and spent time on loan at Crystal Palace, Bradford City, Sheffield United and Southend United before settling down at Gillingham in the third-tier.
Egan’s impressive rise in the League One paved the way for a move to the Championship with Brentford in 2016. After carding 71 appearances for the Bees in all competitions across two seasons, the Irishman completed a return to Bramall Lane last summer and starred in the Blades’ promotion-winning campaign in the second-tier.
Having proven his mettle as a solid tough-tackling centre-back in the Championship over a number of years, Egan has excelled in a defensively-sound Sheffield United side that has surpassed all expectations in the Premier League this season.
The Blades, who currently sit 5th in the standings, boast of an overly impressive defensive record of 9 goals conceded in 12 games so far.
Egan has been an indispensable component of a Sheffield United backline that has made even the deadliest of attacks in the Premier League sweat for goals.
As far as Everton are concerned, Phil Jagielka’s departure to Sheffield United on a free transfer in the summer, coupled with the failure to secure a permanent transfer for Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma, have come back to haunt Everton badly. The likes of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane haven’t been consistent enough to keep things tight at the heart of the defence.
A defensive record of 18 goals shipped in 12 games so far is enough to suggest that the defenders haven’t really been at the top of their game in the first quarter of the campaign.
Suffice to say, the Toffees have left a lot to desire with their displays at the back. The arrival of an in-form centre-back like John Egan could go a long way towards shoring up a brittle and vulnerable backline that has been one of the main reasons behind Everton’s undoing this season.
As per whoscored, Egan has averaged 32.8 passes per game at an accuracy percentage of 81.7, including 3.3 successful long balls, 3.7 aerial duels, 1.3 tackles, 2.1 interceptions and 5.7 clearances per game in the Premier League this term.
Realistically, it’s hard to predict whether or not John Egan would be able to replicate those numbers if a move to Goodison Park does materialize.
However, the 27-year-old is a player in the right age bracket for Everton and the Toffees have every reason to look at him as a potential option after his raging success in the Premier League.
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All in all, John Egan to Everton in January makes perfect sense, although it remains to be seen whether the Blades would want to part ways with one of their most consistent defenders midway through the campaign.