Everton could well be plotting a move to bolster their defence in the near future, with recent reports suggesting that Frank Lampard could maintain his long-held interest in Manchester United ace Luke Shaw.
Despite having overseen a vast summer overhaul, welcoming in eight new faces to Goodison Park, it was believed that in the full-back area the Toffees were well covered.
Ruben Vinagre came in on loan to offer much-needed protection to Vitaliy Mykolenko, who had stumbled through his first six months on Merseyside but shown flashes of his talents.
However, with just four short appearances for the Portugal speedster thus far, it is clear that he has not earned the trust to deputise for the Ukraine international.
That would therefore explain the report made by journalist Jacque Talbot, who wrote on Twitter earlier this month: “Told Luke Shaw did have talks with Leicester City and Everton over the summer – plus one more side. Everton manager Frank Lampard remains keen on the England LB…”
Having only been signed in January there is little expectation that Everton would completely abandon the ongoing project they have with Mykolenko, especially with 43 months left on his £58k-per-week deal.
However, offensively he has been less-than-impressive, and it has affected the philosophy Lampard has been trying to enforce.
For fullbacks, the 23-year-old ranks in the bottom 7% for assists and the bottom 13% for progressive passes. He may offer some defensive security, but when the ball finds its way to his feet, the attack is virtually over.
Meanwhile, for Shaw, his statistics could not be more antithetical when compared.
The former Southampton machine conversely ranks in the top 4% for assists and the top 14% for shot-creating actions of out of his positional peers in European football.
He is willing to accept the ball and looks to build play from the back with a confidence that has seen him earn 23 caps for England. The addition of someone of his ilk would be a huge boost to a Goodison Park dressing room that has likely been downbeat of late.
Tyrone Marshall even outlined some of the qualities that had made Shaw such a dependable asset for the Red Devils over the years: “Fit, aggressive, popular with his teammates, confident and an unassuming leader”.
The 27-year-old would mark an instant upgrade on Mykolenko, who clearly still has so much to learn in the English game.
Although exiting Old Trafford would be a huge step-down, the allure of working with legends such as Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines could persuade him, whilst the competition between him and the 5-foot-9 stalwart could benefit them both transcend their ceilings.