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  RICHARLISON IN RED: A WORTHY GAMBLE
This century has seen Manchester United and Everton form something of an exchange programme. Over the past three years alone, Romelu Lukaku has joined United (and since left), while Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin have gone the opposite way. It is an intriguing relationship and one which may well continue in the next transfer window.

December's rumour mill saw Everton forward Richarlison linked to an Old Trafford move, but it never came to fruition, even with a reported £70m on the table. Close to the sum paid for £75m flop Romelu Lukaku three years ago, such a price may be seen as excessive by most United fans. Nonetheless, the rumour is unlikely to go away any time soon.

 

Richarlison: Repurposed and renewed under Carlo Ancelotti
Since joining Everton from Watford in the summer of 2018, Richarlison has proven himself to be a genuine matchwinner and finished up as the club's joint-top goalscorer in his first season at Goodison Park. Despite standing at just 5'10, Richarlison is noted for being a formidable combatant in the air.

If he improves on his ability at the end of set-pieces, that trait might be worth a few extra points a season. Everton will need his match winning ability if they want to finish in the European places as they are six points off the pace and were not seen as one of the favourites for the top six in the football betting prior to the break.

There is no doubt that Richarlison has become Everton's 'big-game' player. By the end of February, the Brazilian had notably scored against four of the regular top-six sides, and such a fearless approach was exactly what United needed in the run-in of 2018/19.

Holgate and DCL – currently under the radar
Alternatively, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to diversify his expenditure during the next transfer window, he may entertain the idea of a double-swoop and address two key areas simultaneously. In lieu of Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be the first component of such a daring extraction. He has enjoyed a huge change in form and fortune under Carlo Ancelotti on Merseyside, with eight strikes in his last ten league games, after scoring in bizarre fashion against United in March.

Meanwhile, fellow Yorkshire boy Mason Holgate has been Everton's most improved player outright since the start of December. He was also the standout figure against United at Old Trafford that same month, slotting into midfield and performing impeccably.

 


Though the arrival of Bruno Fernandes appears to have improved the midfield's overall fluidity, increased depth in the defensive half of midfield is still a necessity. With Holgate also able to play at centre or right-back, he will have multiple suitors over the coming months.

Players will not come quietly Naturally, if Solskjaer should chase any of Everton's standout talents with real interest, he will be dealing with a very different Everton from the one that sold Rooney back in 2004.
It will take negotiating skills of 'Sir Alex' proportions to lure any of the Merseyside club's crown jewels to Old Trafford. Yet – as the great Scot himself always demonstrated – where there's a will, there's a way.

 
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