The AFCON earlier this year was probably a big reason why AC Milan signed Ismaël Bennacer from Empoli. The Algerian won the tournament and while Riyadh Mahrez was the chief destroyer, Bennacer was the player of the tournament. That could be a big reason why the Rossoneri would want Everton Soares.

The Gremio man did draw links with Arsenal after Brazil’s triumph earlier this summer. But a move never came to fruition. During the Copa America, Everton caught hold of many eyeballs, Deservedly so, the 23-year-old had a tally of three goals and two assists in the tournament. He played in every game.

Those performances could well be a reason for Milan’s recent interest in him. There was interest in the summer too, but the club did not pursue a potential move for the forward. But the fresh reports state that Milan will try again next summer and are hopeful of signing their man.

By then, it won’t be a surprise if other clubs come into the equation too. This past season in Brazil, Everton had a hand in 22 goals in all competitions for Gremio including the Copa Libertadores.  This is an improvement from the last year when Everton contributed to 19 goals in all competitions.

Those are very impressive numbers- impressive enough for where AC Milan are now. On the other side of the city, they have a club that have Gabigol even though he is on a temporary loan deal at Flamengo. The Rossoneri would certainly look at that and want a similar sort of Brazilian.

While Lucas Paquetá was brought in last January, the lack of a system isn’t bringing the best out of him. Since joining, he has a hand in just five goals. And he deserves time to settle in and have the right system to play in.

Everton is a left-winger by trade but can play on the other side too. Not just that, but the 23-year-old can also play as a striker- even though it is a rare occurrence. But his main position has always been the left-wing- where he played for the Seleção.

Being a flair player, he enjoys space, freedom and time on the ball. This past season, he completed 3.1 dribbles per game and took 2.8 shots per game. While he could play only 1 key pass per game, he is still maturing as a player. There is still room for improvement. But Milan will allow that, considering where they are themselves.

As things stand, Hakan Calhanoglu has faded off after a little spurt after Stefano Pioli came in. The Turk’s move to Milan has been a failure. Since joining from Bayer Leverkusen, he has contributed to only 24 goals in the Serie A in three seasons. That isn’t an impressive number by any means. Even though Hakan has done well in some individual games- like the Lecce one recently.

He is more technical than quick. Giacomo Bonaventura is finally getting some game time after a bad spell with injuries, but the has been playing in midfield too. In the previous game against Parma, Bonaventura played in central midfield.

Rafael Leao is a genuine option on the left-wing. He has the pace to scare the opposition. Having joined in the summer, he is settling in still. He has found the back of the net once. He will take his time and will probably become a starter, as the season wears on.

But the pace he brings is what Milan need. Çalhanoğlu isn’t as quick. Neither is Paquetá himself. Everton brings that directness to the plate and he would be the sure-shot starter at 23. With Çalhanoğlu’s future far from secure, Everton could be the man to replace him.

 

 

Kaustubh Pandey