Why Everton Should Pip Newcastle To Sign Bristol City’s Joe Bryan
It appears Newcastle United still very much have Bristol City’s star man Joe Bryan in their sights for their summer recruitment drive and I’ll not be surprised to see Rafa make a move as soon as his budget is known.
Everton, however, also appear keen on Bryan, who when playing on the left of midfield, started and brilliantly finished an excellent move against Manchester United when Lee Johnson’s side knocked Jose Mourinho’s side out of the League Cup this season.
Capable of playing at left-back or further forward, the 24-year-old Bryan has drawn praise when performing in either position and it means he could be a target for these two Premier League clubs for two very different reasons.
At Newcastle, Rafa very much trusts left-back Paul Dummett and his contribution to the Toon’s cause cannot be underestimated since his return from injury in the winter. What Rafa wanted was an attacking left-sided player and having signed Chelsea’s Kenedy on loan, it seems like he is looking for a replacement in that role should, as expected, the Brazilian be recalled by Chelsea rather than signing on permanently.
For Everton though, they have not yet found a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines, a left-back who gets forward really well and supplies quality ball both from open play and from set-pieces. Joe Bryan fits that profile perfectly. A lot depends then a) on where Joe Bryan wants to play and b) where he gives his best.
According to the stats alone, this would be Everton in the driving seat as in 24 Championship starts at left-back, Bryan has managed an average rating of 7.53 (out of 10) on whoscored.com, which is a very impressive figure. Compare this to the 7.03 he has gained by playing further forward and it seems like being an attacking left-back is his true vocation.
That’s not to say Bryan cannot perform further up the field in the Premier League though and having done what he did against Man United in particular, maybe Rafa sees him as an ideal replacement for Kenedy and the fact that he can more than competently fill-in at left-back means a new player would not be needed in the squad as cover for Dummett.
Everton though will miss what Baines has brought to the party over the years and allowing his career to go by without directly replacing him could mean them slipping another rung down the Premier League ladder.