Premier League clubs Everton and West Ham United are reportedly set to battle it out in the transfer market for FC Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet, as both clubs look to reinforce their squads before the start of the new season.
FC Barcelona, who are in the midst of a financial crisis, are looking to sell and loan players as they look to reduce their wage bill and are reportedly open to listening to offers for about but all players and the Frenchman is one of the potential assets who can drive in major liquidity.
Lenglet had previously played for French side Nancy, where he developed through their youth rank before joining Spanish side Sevilla during the 2017 winter transfer window, where he was eventually snapped up by Barcelona after his release clause of 35millioin Euros was triggered by the Catalan giant in 2018 summer transfer. He is an exciting silky left-footed defender who has an impressive record of pass completion coupled with his constant progressive passes and progressive carries. Incredibly, he adds shot-creating actions and the intelligence to make threatening moves from the defense to his numerous traits on the field.
Here we take a look at how Clement Lenglet would fit into the squads of Everton and West Ham and how he could help their playing style:
The Merseyside club suffered a blow in June when manager Carlo Ancelotti resigned from his position to take up the vacant manager’s job at his former club Real Madrid. However, soon after Ancelotti resigned, the Toffees wasted no time to bring in another experienced manager in the form of Rafa Benitez, once the manager of their bitter cross-town rivals Liverpool. He is all set to take charge of his first season in the Merseyside Blue and is looking to make signings that he feels will add quality to the team. Rafa, according to reports off late, wants to replace Yerry Mina with Lenglet in order to add defensive stability.
Benitez wants a leader and an experienced defender to partner with either Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, or Mason Holgate and has set his sights on Lenglet to fill that position. Lenglet at the age of 26 is in the prime of his career right now and has the experience to take on the Premier League. Although he has had a torrid season in 2020/21, a move away from the La Liga could benefit him greatly.
Though Ben Godfrey had filled the LCB position with eye-catching display whenever he’s called to action, but the integration of Lenglet alongside the experienced Michael Keane will not just add more quality to their defense but it’ll surely give Merseyside Blue the platform and option to build a quick (counter) attacking move from the defense, with Lenglet being the main distributor of the ball either with a through pass or long diagonal ball (a trait none of the current defender could do as seamlessly as Lenglet).
Everton conceded 48 goals in the league last season, with only 2 more teams in the top 10 of the league conceding more. Lenglet has the quality and is composed on the ball. While he had a poor 2020/21 campaign, he still completed 92.1% of his passes in his 48 appearances in all competitions, which is higher than any Everton player. He is good in the air too and won 1.8 aerial duels per game last season. His stats make him a desirable player and Rafa Benitez, who is known for his defensive style of play, will need a strong defender like him to put his philosophy into action at Everton.
WEST HAM UNITED:
At West Ham, there is an urgent requirement for a defender, with Fabian Balbuena leaving the Irons this summer. He was a regular in the first half of the last season but was left out of the squad after he tested positive for the virus and found it hard to get back into the starting eleven after.
West Ham had an amazing season in 2020/21 and were unlucky to miss out on the top 4 places. However, they qualified for Europa League and will be looking to go as deep as they can into it. David Moyes’ side is light on centre-backs and will need a young yet experienced defender to help them through what is going to be a long, very tough, and competitive season.
Lenglet could be an excellent and smart signing for the Hammers, and he has the ability to start attacks if they look to play out from the back. He averaged close to 70 passes per game last season and is also known to dribble out of pressure and get the ball forward. David Moyes could use a good ball-playing centre-back to shore up his defence, after last season saw them concede 47 goals in the league. The Frenchman’s arrival will no doubt bolster their squad, but it will also give them a boost to continue last season’s form into the new season and challenge for the UCL spots.
France National Team manager Didier Deschamps has praised Lenglet on a few occasions saying, “He has a lot of serenity, assurance and technical ease. He’s calm on the ball. Without being very big, he is also effective in duels and knows how to anticipate. He’s still improving but he gives off a lot of confidence.” For either West Ham United or Everton, he will certainly be a statement signing, and with Barcelona in financial difficulties and looking to get players off their wage bills, he could be easily available.
Reports state that both the PL clubs are looking to explore a loan option, and it remains to see if there is any ground to these rumours. With Barcelona still looking for ways to reduce their wage bill considering their financial crisis, a deal could be done to move Lenglet out this summer, so as to ease the club’s wage bill.