Why This Croatian Midfielder Could Be The Man Everton Are Looking For?

Everton were a disaster last season, which resulted in the club sacking Roberto Martinez. There is no doubting the Spanish manager’s abilities as a manager but he definitely missed a trick here as his team conceded way too many goals and squandered too many leads. Everton flexed their financial muscle and brought in Ronald Koeman from Southampton and have a budget of around £100million to take Everton closer to Champions League qualification. Koeman main task will be galvanizing his troops and getting them ready to mount a proper challenge for the top four places next year.

He must bring in necessary reinforcements to strengthen his team again, there are rumours indicating that he might be tempted to raid his former club, however that seems unlikely given how both the separated. The Dutchman did a wonderful job with the Saints last season, as they finished with their joint record points tally and in the process qualified for Europe too. The latest name being linked with a move to Everton is Milan Badelj. While Axel Witsel and Juan Mata are much fancier names to be considered, it must be said that Badelj would be a much more realistic target.

It’s difficult to get the limelight when you’re playing alongside Luka Modric, German midfielder Toni Kross just about manages it for Real Madrid. Badelj was part of the Croatian team that took part in the Euros, where he was brilliant screening the back, while showcasing his creative talents. Badelj made 35 appearances for Fiorentina last season, and is known for his tough-tackling and a combative display. This season he picked up 11 yellow cards and one red card for his club side.

One of the main problems that Everton faced last season was the inability of Gareth Barry to shield the top four, which often looked fragile to start with. Everton desperately need a defensive midfielder who can cover for Barry and Badelj seems like a perfect fit. The 27-year-old joined Fiorentina in August 2014 for a modest £3 million fee after two excellent seasons with Hamburg in the Bundesliga and, after struggling for a bit to cement his place in the starting XI, he soon became a star following the appointment of Paulo Sousa last summer.

Having showcased his talent for Zagreb, Hamburger SV, and Fiorentina, the Croatian is also very good in adapting to the style of the different leagues across Europe. Positionally aware, the Croat knows where to be and how to use his body to repel and diffuse opposition attacks. He is a dogged defensive shield when needs be, though he also possesses quick feet, refined technique and a smooth passing game.

With a contract that runs until 2018, Badelj will come at reportedly somewhere from £8-12 million. That, however, is small change for a club with ambitions like Everton. He will definitely add a lot of quality to the squad and give them that Solid to push on forward from.

Written by Anurag Singh

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