Why Everton should go back in the market for Luis Alberto
Back in March, Italian outlet Corriere Della Sera (h/t Daily Post) had mentioned Everton among the potential suitors for Lazio playmaker Luis Alberto. It was claimed back then that Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti is a big admirer of the former Liverpool ace, who had also been linked with a move to Juventus in the summer.
However, a fairytale return to the Premier League with Everton never quite materialised and Alberto has continued to reach great heights in Italy.
A youth exponent of Sevilla, Luis Alberto featured largely for the club’s B & C sides in the lower divisions, making just 9 first-team appearances. He spent the 2012-13 season on loan at Barcelona, where he scored 11 goals in 38 appearances for the reserves before completing a permanent move to Liverpool in 2013.
However, Alberto’s career in English football failed to take off and he was frozen out of the set-up after making just 12 appearances in his debut season at Anfield. The 28-year-old excelled on loan at Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna in the La Liga over the next two seasons before Italian outfit Lazio came calling for his services in 2016.
Alberto has since established himself as one of the most effective playmakers in Italy, accumulating an impressive tally of 26 goals and 44 assists in 140 appearances across all competitions. The Spaniard was instrumental as Simone Ingazhi’s side finished 4th in the Serie A last season and qualified for the Champions League.
Alberto would add more depth to Everton’s attack
James Rodriguez has made an instant impact in the Premier League following his move to Everton from Real Madrid in the summer. The Colombian stalwart has chipped in with 3 goals and 3 assists in 5 league games so far, contributing greatly to the Toffees’ sensational start to the campaign.
Indeed, Everton rely heavily on Rodriguez to spark creativity and pull the strings in the final third. Richarlison, who remains a key cog in the attack, will also be expected to push for greater heights after plundering 26 goals for the Toffees over the past two seasons.
However, the lack of quality alternatives could well be a stumbling block in Everton’s pursuit of a top-six finish in the Premier League. The likes of Alex Iwobi and Bernard have seriously underperformed over the past 12 months while Theo Walcott and Moise Kean have been deemed farmed out on loan.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was once mentioned among the best attacking midfielders in English football but the Icelandic international seems to be past his prime at 31. He failed to make much of an impact last season. With less than two years remaining on his contract, Everton can look to cash in on him and bring in a replacement.
To that end, Everton reigniting interest in Luis Alberto would go a long way towards boosting their depth in midfield and attack. An out-and-out No.10 by trade, Alberto is versatile enough to operate out wide and also in a slightly withdrawn box-to-box role. That coupled with his proven track record of goals and assists in Italy should make him an ideal fit for Ancelotti’s 4-3-3 system at Goodison Park.
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Luis Alberto might have struggled to make the grade at Liverpool earlier in his career but he was hardly a finished article back then. The Spaniard has come a long way since his days as an Anfield flop with a productive spell at Lazio in Italy and he now looks ready to test his credentials in the Premier League once again.
The 28-year-old still has plenty of years remaining in his prime and Everton should definitely make a renewed attempt to sign him in January or next summer. It is a no-brainer that the Lazio star would represent a massive upgrade on Sigurdsson, Iwobi, and Bernard based on his current form.