Everton interested in signing 30-year-old Mali international – is he the right choice by Benitez?

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Transfer News: Everton in competition with Newcastle United for signing of Al-Hilal star Moussa Marega

According to transfer news from journalist Ekrem Konur (h/t ESPN), Everton are eager on signing Al-Hilal ace Moussa Marega. The striker has been decent for the Saudi-Arabian side this season, scoring 3 goals in 11 games across all competitions.

Quite the journeyman, Marega has been to several clubs in France and Portugal. However, he came to prominence during his loan spell at Vitoria Guimaraes before excelling with Porto. After nearly half a decade at the Portuguese club, the Mali international decided to join Al-Hilal this summer. But he is already being lined up for an exit.

Could Marega leave Hilal so soon after joining? Should Everton consider a move for the centre forward?

Everton need to invest in younger and better-proven strikers

Since joining the Saudi Pro League side in the summer, the striker has featured in nearly every league game but has not been able to shine. He has played second fiddle to former Swansea ace Bafetimbi Gomis, who has scored 8 goals for the club this season. Marega has been played slightly out of position at times but has not been able to adjust to the system.

Everton are looking to sign Moussa Marega, who left Porto to sign for Al-Hilal in the summer.
Everton are looking to sign Moussa Marega, who left Porto to sign for Al-Hilal in the summer. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Everton are now thought to be lining up a move for the Malian. The Toffees have struggled for goals this season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is often expected to lead the charge and get into double figures to ensure respectable finishes in the table. The Englishman has done his job well so far but succumbed to an injury at the start of the campaign.

Richarlison has not been able to single-handedly carry things, with Alex Iwobi, Glyfi Sigurdsson, Salomon Rondon, Cenk Tosun falling across the board. Andros Townsend, Anthony Gordon, and Demarai Gray have been good but have had moments of inconsistency. Calvert-Lewin has returned from injury but is now linked with a move away.

Thus, it makes sense that Benitez and co might be looking for a striker. However, Marega might not be the answer to their problems. The striker may have fared well in his Porto days, but that has been his only successful stint in a 12-year career. He is also set to turn 31 this year and is finding it hard to shine in the Saudi Pro League, which one could argue is not one of the toughest leagues in the world.

Instead, the Toffees would be wise to invest in younger talent. It would also help if they are playing in one of Europe’s Top 5 Leagues, if not in the Premier League. Signing young reinforcements could go a long way, given that Tosun and Sigurdsson shall be out of contract in the summer. Rondon and Townsend also have only 18 months left on their respective deals at Goodison Park. Thus, bringing in a striker is essential, but Marega is perhaps not the man for it.

Everton need somebody to build a project around

Since the departure of David Moyes in 2013, the club has been stagnating. There has not been a single manager that has proved his worth or built the club with a long-term goal. During this time, clubs like Southampton and Leicester City have built considerably well and have a sound foundation today. The Foxes, in particular, have done really well over the years.

Moussa Marega has only scored 3 goals in 11 appearances for Al-Hilal this season.
Moussa Marega has only scored 3 goals in 11 appearances for Al-Hilal this season. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Toffees need to do something similar, but they also need a player to build around. Calvert-Lewin could be that man, but there needs to be assurances that he will stay for a long time to come. But in the meantime, it will not hurt to sign another centre-forward. The club craves goals, evident by the fact that 9 teams in the league have outscored them.

But signing Marega is not going to solve many issues. He is on the brink of his twilight years and could just about agree to come to England to earn one last big pay-cheque. Additionally, Newcastle are also keen on signing the Al-Hilal ace, and the Toon Army are a massive financial force to compete with. The Mali ace might also be good for one season, but the Merseyside outfit needs to prioritize long-term success rather than short-term profits

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Young strikers are hard to find in today’s market, but it can be done. The Bundesliga has always produced exciting attacking talent, while La Liga has its fair share of ruthless strikers. With a sound plan, Everton can achieve a lot. They need a man who can spearhead their frontline for years to come and one who stays loyal to the club. 

Marega is not the most potent scorer in the world and could be a name to fill the team sheet in the short term- especially if Everton want to tackle a tight fixture list. But beyond that, it may not be the smartest investment they make.