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Everton signing this 23-year-old Ligue 1 star would be a smart long-term move by Ancelotti

Zeki Celik has been consistent for Lille in the last two years (Getty Images)
Zeki Celik has been a consistent performer for Lille over the last two years (Getty Images)

Why Everton signing Mehmet Zeki Celik would solve right-back issues

According to the latest Twitter claims from reputed journalist Fabrizio Romano, Everton are interested in securing the services of LOSC Lille right-back Mehmet Zeki Celik in the January transfer window.

As per the report, the Toffees have made contact with the Turk’s agent over a potential switch to Merseyside this month. Everton initially had highly-rated MLS starlet Bryan Reynolds on their radar but with Juventus leading the race to sign him, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are now considering alternatives.

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Celik rose through the youth ranks of Bursaspor but never made a competitive appearance for his boyhood club. He had his first taste of professional football on loan at Karacabeyspor in the third-tier before completing a permanent transfer to Istanbulspor in the TFF First League – the second division in Turkey. 

The 23-year-old’s impressive form in his homeland prompted Lille to take a punt on him in the summer of 2018. Celik has grabbed his opportunities with both hands to establish himself as one of the mainstays of the club’s backline in Ligue 1. The Turk has bagged an impressive tally of 3 goals and 10 assists in 83 appearances for the French outfit in all competitions so far. 

Zeki Celik (Getty Images)
Mehmet Zeki Celik in action for Lille (Getty Images)

Celik’s rise to prominence in the French top-flight has also seen him establish himself as a regular at the back for Turkey at the international level. The right-back has earned 18 caps for his nation while also catching the eye in the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League over the past 18 months. 

A move for Celik makes sense for Everton

Meanwhile, Everton’s pursuit of a new right-back certainly makes a lot of sense. Seamus Coleman rolled back the years with a string of impressive displays earlier in the campaign but has found himself in and out of the side due to injuries in recent weeks.

With the veteran already 32 and into the last 18 months of his contract, the Toffees should definitely have one eye on younger alternatives in the market. Jonjoe Kenny is the other specialist right-back option available at Ancelotti’s disposal. But the Italian hasn’t shown a lot of trust in the youngster despite Coleman’s struggles with injuries.

Kenny has been restricted to just a solitary start in the PL so far this season. That the manager has called upon Alex Iwobi to play as a wing-back clearly indicates Kenny’s declining status at Goodison Park. 

Zeki Celik (L) in action against Strasbourg (Getty Images)
Mehmet Zeki Celik (L) in action against Strasbourg (Getty Images)

Putting things into perspective, Mehmet Zeki Celik ticks plenty of boxes for Everton. From starting his career in the Turkish third-tier to playing in the Champions League, the right-back has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past few years. The 23-year-old still has plenty of room for development, meaning he would offer real value for money as a part of the Toffees’ long-term plans. 

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Verdict

Celik fits the mould of an exciting young modern-day full-back and would certainly offer Ancelotti more options down the right-hand side of the backline. With the manager often switching between back-three and back-four systems, the Turkish international’s ability to operate at right-back and wing-back roles should make him a real asset to Everton’s ranks.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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