Why Everton should go back in the market for Andrija Zivkovic
According to Record (h/t Liverpool Echo), former Everton target Andrija Zivkovic is trying to cancel his contract with Benfica after growing increasingly frustrated at his lack of regular minutes.
However, as per the report, the Portuguese giants are set to snub the Serbian’s attempts to terminate his deal and leave for free, with his present contract not expiring until the summer of 2021. But they will definitely consider a loan or permanent offer if Zivkovic wants a way out of his misery.
The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Goodison Park numerous times over the past year or so, with the Liverpool Echo claiming that the Toffees had been quoted a price of £31million for the winger’s services back in the summer transfer window.
The diminutive 5ft 7in winger, who rose through the youth ranks of Partizan Belgrade in his homeland, racked up 24 goals and 13 assists in 93 appearances in all competitions before earning a coveted move to Portugal with heavyweights Benfica in 2016.
Having struggled to establish himself as a regular fixture in the playing XI at Benfica over the course of his first three seasons, the Serbian star has found himself completely lost in the cold this term, with manager Bruno Lage yet to afford him a single first-team appearance so far.
Returns of just 4 goals and 24 assists in 84 appearances for Benfica in all competitions suggest that Andrija Zivkovic hasn’t really gone on to fulfil his full potential in Portugal, but his lack of game time has been a major stumbling block, nevertheless.
To put things into perspective, Andrija Zivkovic continues to be a fine young developing player at 23 and Everton need not think twice before trying to capitalise on his unsettled scenario at Benfica.
It is very evident from the report that he is trying to force a move away from Benfica to greener pastures in search of more first-team involvement, and the Toffees should be open to the prospect of offering him an escape route to showcase his talent in the highly competitive atmosphere of the Premier League.
Essentially a left-footed wide player, Zivkovic is at his best when deployed as an inverted winger down the right flank, although he has illustrated the versatility and the skillset to play out wide on the left and also through the middle in a No.10 role behind the central striker.
Notwithstanding the fact that Everton need to dip into the January window for a prolific centre-forward to put an end to the mediocrity of Cenk Tosun, they could possibly do with another creative player to add more firepower to their attack, with Bernard currently damned to a spell on the sidelines for an indefinite period.
Despite showing some signs of resurgence in recent times, Theo Walcott’s switch from Arsenal hasn’t really paid rich dividends for the Toffees, and while Alex Iwobi and Richarlison are more than capable of playing down the right, it is not difficult to see how Marco Silva would benefit from having a specialist left-footed attacker like Zivkovic in his ranks.
The 17-cap Serbian international is still right up there with the best rising talents in Europe and Everton going all out in their pursuit of the 23-year-old would be quite understandable given that Silva and Sporting Director Marcel Brands have shown an inclination to build a squad around young and developing players.
In Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean, Everton already have some exciting young attackers in their ranks and Andrija Zivkovic could find it easier to fit into the club’s setup in the Premier League.
Also, with Silva illustrating his proficiency in extracting the best out of young talents, Everton could have a gem on their hands if Zivkovic goes on to fulfil his promise at Goodison Park.
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With that in mind, the Toffees need to reignite their interest in the Serbian international and make an official approach for his services when the transfer window reopens in January.