Why Josip Ilicic would be a smart acquisition for Everton
Back in February 2018, the Calciomercato (h/t The Liverpool Echo) had claimed that Everton were keeping tabs on Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic with a view for a move at the end of the season. However, a deal didn’t go through and he stayed with Atalanta.
Josip Ilicic, 31, has been in really good form for Atalanta this season, scoring four goals and making three assists in 14 appearances. He stood out for the Italian side in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City in the Champions League, impressing with his hold-up play.
With the Slovenia international having already proven himself for the Bergamo side since joining back in 2017, Everton must rekindle their interest in the forward during the January transfer window.
Everton are lacking a potent goalscorer in their ranks despite signing the talented Moise Kean from Juventus in the summer. Kean seemed poised to build on his successful season with Juventus, a prediction that has fallen flat in the first three months of the season. The teenager’s English adventure hasn’t gone according to the plan, with the Italian yet to open his account for the Toffees after 11 games.
Cenk Tosun hasn’t done enough to prove he is the answer to Everton’s problems in front of goal, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still in the development stages of his career. Marco Silva has also tried Richarlison through the middle but the Brazilian is at his best when operating down the left flank as it allows him to cut inside on his right and have a pop at goal.
It’s safe to suggest the Toffees do need a new striker and Silva would do a good job by signing Josip Ilicic.
Ilicic, capable of playing on the wings, as a No.10 or a striker, could be a really smart addition to the Merseysiders. The Slovenian has been somewhat of a late bloomer, virtually coming into prominence after joining Atalanta in 2017.
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The 31-year-old is an experienced Serie A player, having played for clubs like Palermo, Fiorentina and now Atalanta. He has been in fine form this season and caught the eye for his performance against Manchester City in the Champions League.
Ilicic is a technically gifted and tactically versatile player who has an eye for the spectacular and can pick out a pass from seemingly close to nothing. In the video below, one could see the forward’s ability to score goals from different areas of the pitch.
Ilicic turns 32 in January but his all-round abilities would make him a fantastic fit for Everton, whilst helping Silva in getting the best out of Alex Iwobi, Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Theo Walcott.