Forget it Ancelotti – Everton don’t need this 18-year-old Dutch starlet right now

Why Ryan Gravenberch need not be a priority for Everton

According to ESPN, Everton have been credited with an interest in rising Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch as they bid to bolster their squad.

The Toffees’ links with the 18-year-old Dutch prospect comes through their director of football Marcel Brands. He has spoken highly of Gravenberch while also revealing that he would jump at the chance to sign the teenager anytime soon. Brands, though, is afraid that Gravenberch would opt for a move to an elite club in Europe if he were to depart Ajax.  (h/t ESPN)

Gravenberch’s rise at Ajax

Ryan Gravenberch joined Ajax’s youth system in 2010 and rose through the ranks as a standout talent. He made his senior competitive debut in the Eredivisie against PSV Eindhoven aged just 16, surpassing Clarence Seedorf as the club’s youngest league debutant.

Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch (left) vies for the ball with ADO’s Crysencia Summerville during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between both the sides in December last year. (Getty Images)

The 18-year-old assumed a bigger role in Ajax’s first-team in the previous campaign. He featured 12 times in all competitions before the season was brought to a premature end due to the pandemic. Gravenberch has gone from strength to strength to establish himself as a regular starter for the Dutch heavyweights this term.

The highly-rated central midfielder has already made 24 appearances in all competitions for Ajax so far this season, contributing with 3 goals and 4 assists in the process. Besides catching the eye with his potential in the Eredivisie, Gravenberch also found the net in the group stages of the Champions League back in November.

Another midfielder?

Everton have spent millions of pounds in the transfer market over the past two summers to bolster their midfield. Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Fabian Delph, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes have all come through the door at Goodison Park, either under Carlo Ancelotti or his predecessor Marco Silva. 

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – OCTOBER 21: Ryan Gravenberch of Ajax in action during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at Johan Cruijff Arena on October 21, 2020, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

All the aforementioned players have enjoyed varying degrees of success in the Premier League. While Allan and Doucoure have flourished as the mainstays of the club’s midfield alongside Gomes, Delph has only played a bit-part role in the set-up.

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Meanwhile, Gbamin has spent the majority of his time at Merseyside on the treatment table following his £25m move from Mainz. However, it has been reported that Gbamin is still very much in Ancelotti’s plans, despite not featuring at all this season.

The Ivorian international is still very much on the comeback trail, with Everton not prepared to risk him until he’s 100% fit. With Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson also vying for places, Everton look more than well-stocked in the middle of the park.

Gravenberch is not needed at the moment

Make no mistake, Ryan Gravenberch is a fine young talent and his early potential at Ajax certainly points to a bright future in the game for the teenager. That he has proven his worth in the Champions League speaks volumes.

However, it’s hard to see how Ancelotti would be able to accommodate him into his plans.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – OCTOBER 21: Ryan Gravenberch of Ajax runs with the ball under pressure from Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at Johan Cruijff Arena on October 21, 2020, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Given such stiff competition for places in Everton’s midfield, Gravenberch would hardly be a regular starter at Goodison Park. In truth, the 18-year-old needs a stepping stone before embarking on a journey in the highly-competitive atmosphere of the English top-flight. That would work wonders for his development moving forward.

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As for Everton, they already have pressing concerns in so many other areas on the pitch. Having said that, the Toffees would be better off looking at other options in the market, and reinforcements for other positions.

Sayan Chatterjee

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

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Sayan Chatterjee