Everton have invested heavily in their midst third over recent seasons however if reports are true, it’s still an area of the pitch they wish to improve.
The Toffees spent over £50million on André Gomes, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Fabian Delph in the summer, but accidents have curtailed their influence on the group.
With Carlo Ancelotti is putting plenty of inventory in the midfield, it is logical that the Italian tactician wishes to improve what he has at his disposal at Goodison Park. Not only in terms of reliability but quality, also.
Liverpool Echo asserts the Toffees are on the market for a speed setter in midfield and among the names who might possibly be on their list is former Liverpool, Bayern Munich and West Ham United transfer goal Marc Roca.
The 23-year-old impressed at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship last summer, stealing the show together with Napoli’s Fábian Ruiz at the centre of the park for Spain.
This is a midfielder who has it all and has been drawing attention from beyond the Iberian Peninsula. Bayern were one team allegedly interested, having lost out to Manchester City from the struggle for Atlético Madrid’s Rodri.
After stepping into a Spanish side littered with possible stars, Roca revealed that when surrounded by a quality he does not look strange. Performances of the ilk will certainly be attractive to some of Europe’s elite sides, who can be secure in the knowledge that he is not merely a huge fish playing nicely in a little pond.
Interest at the Catalonian has died down a little lately, possibly because of Espanyol’s struggles in LaLiga. Due to this, his inventory and price label have dropped, but with Abelardo Fernández’s men rooted to the bottom of the table, the chance of Roca moving is possibly greater than ever before.
The midfield maestro was connected with transfers from the RCDE Stadium ever since making his debut as a then 19-year-old. However, the kid penned a new deal with Espanyol and went on making himself a crucial cog in the Periquitos midfield.
Primarily left-footed, he is not averse to using his right foot and this adds yet another dimension to his game.
Though not a ball carrier, his ability to make angles for moves and use either foot means he is press-resistant. He’s a player that’s usually able to get a pass and advance the ball.
Roca is an instigator and a facilitator; a perfect combo for a modern-day midfielder.
His heatmap (above) is a perfect manifestation of these traits on the pitch. He is somebody who dictates play from the middle third and does not venture too far forwards or into broad areas (like others who function in a similar function ). Maybe in a more expressive group, he would obviously find himself in those more advanced positions and is only restrained by his current side’s struggles.
Roca is accustomed to seeing a good amount of the ball. The 23-year-old is averaging 50 moves per 90 this term. Everything is moving through him. Roca may not a dribbler, but his use of ownership and the rate at which he works means he does not need to be. Of his 50 passes, 38 percent going forward.
He’s diligent defensively also, involving himself in 3.3 tackles and interceptions per 90. Perhaps the most impressive stat, however, is that he has recovered possession 6.55 occasions this term. This is a player who puts out fires with wonderful regularity.
The under-21 international is precisely the kind of player Ancelotti enjoys at the core of his team. With Milan, he’s Andrea Pirlo. Ancelotti knows how to get the most out of those midfielders and he knows how to build his team about these individuals.
Everton might have Gomes back from injury, but the Portuguese global continues to divide opinion with his performances. Bringing in Roca could really aid Gomes in adding a degree of consistency to his game. The Espanyol man could change the middle third at Goodison Park.