Why Nikola Maksimovic to Everton would bolster their defence
The report suggests that Napoli are willing to part ways with the centre-back for €20m. But Everton could face competition to secure his service as Serie A sides AS Roma and AC Milan are also keen on signing Maksimovic, whose contract with the Naples outfit is set to expire at the end of the next season.
Born in Serbia, Maksimovic spent time at three academies in his homeland before rising through the ranks Sloboda Uzice’s youth system. From there, he went on to represent Red Star Belgrade and Torino before joining Napoli initially on loan. In the summer of 2017, his move was made permanent but the defender spent the 2017/18 campaign on loan with Spartak Moscow.
Since his return, that following summer, he has been a key figure at the back for Napoli. He has also made 24 appearances for Serbia till date and has got immense experience under his belt. However, with just one year left on his contract, Everton should make a move for Maksimovic and bolster their backline ahead of the new campaign.
Maksimovic could be a leader for Everton in defence
Carlo Ancelotti’s men did fairly well since the Italian’s arrival but they have been inconsistent. One of the major reasons for their struggles is the lack of stability at the back. The Toffees conceded 56 goals throughout the 2019/20 campaign, which is quite poor for a team aiming for a top half finish.
At the moment, they have only three established centre-backs in their ranks. Michael Keane and Mason Holgate have been regular starters but Yerry Mina has been completely out of form and spent the majority of the times on the sidelines due to injury.
Apart from that, they have Jarrad Branthwaite, who just broke into the senior team but is too young to be depended upon. Thus, they need an experienced centre-back in the summer.
In that regard, signing Maksimovic would pay off well for the side, which has lacked depth in central defence. The Serbian has been of immense help to Napoli and also played a key role in their Coppa Italia win this past season. He has already made 261 career appearances at a higher level and can be a crucial member under Ancelotti next season.
His presence would provide them with some much-needed depth to their backline. He would also bring in healthy competition within the squad. Given his experience and proven pedigree, he ca also go on to be their leader in defence and help them tighten things up at the back.
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With Mina completely out of form and Everton lacking numbers at the back, it is clear that they are in dire need of centre-backs. And, Maksimovic, who is 28, has a few more years left to play at a higher level. And if he is able to replicate the good form, he can help the Toffees stabilize their defence.