Football

Everton looking at Federico Fazio as a replacement for John Stones

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Following John Stones' formal submission of a transfer request, Everton are looking at replacements in central defence, and they have submitted a bid of £5 million pounds for Argentine central defender Federico Fazio. 

Fazio has been at Spurs for one season after a move from Sevilla last summer, and has averaged a match rating of 7.14 over 26 starts in all competitions, per whoscored.com. His rating was much higher in the Premier League - a 7.39 over 20 starts - but for one reason or another he was often criticised for being part of the problem with Spurs' defence.

Everton lost both Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz at the end of the 2014-15 season, so targeting Fazio is a step in the right direction in terms of restocking their center backs.

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Misleading Statistics for Fazio?

If you look at Fazio's defensive contribution over the past year in North London, his numbers look great. He is averaging two blocks per game, and 36 tackles won over just 43 attempted is a great ratio in the Premier League. He registered more than eight clearances every match - a statistic perhaps too high - which was the highest among Premier League defenders last season.

The reason that so many clearances per game is a red flag is that when you watch Fazio defend, he looks a bit scared when the ball comes directly to him on the ground. 

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Fazio is a presence in the air, winning 96 of 131 total in only twenty games. For a Premier League side like Everton who need to be getting three points against lower sides, having someone to deal with crosses expertly is essential to your defence.

The problem is not with Fazio's heading ability at all. The real issue with his defensive game is that his concentration lapses can lead to massive defensive errors, possibly even goals - and that is why he has been criticised by pundits this past season.

Something that makes John Stones so appealing to Jose Mourinho is that he is collected while in possession in his own half. This trait is uncommon among young defenders, especially English ones, and that combination of factors makes his price tag so high. 

Fazio is not the same - in a Tottenham team that likes to play out of defense, he is more of a limited defender who is there just to stop attacks.

This might not be such a bad thing for the Toffees, who play attacking football, but less oriented around possession. Fazio could operate as a limited defender as he wished, alongside a similar partner that Everton would likely bring in following Stones' departure. That, of course, hinges on whether Roberto Martinez would be able to get a new defense to work well as a unit.

Price Tag

Fazio is a much cheaper buy for Everton than one might expect, especially for a move between two Premier League sides. Fazio joined spurs for 8.5 million pounds just a season ago, so Pocchettino would actually be losing money from this transfer.

There is every chance the fee could go up, but while it is cheap business it's also risky business. Spurs' defense was leaky at times last season - they conceded at least 3 goals in seven matches - and Fazio, while having good statistics to show, has also made some costly errors at the back.

If Martinez can make him a resolute defender who is not panicky, it seems like a bargain buy in the long term. But don't be surprised if a 16-year-old centre-back is starting in a random game in February because Fazio made a terrible error the previous game.

Do you think Fazio can replace John Stones?

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Topics:
Everton
Football
Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League

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