Date: 8th June 2022 at 4:39pm
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Everton are close to signing Burnley defender James Tarkowski.

That is according to Football Insider, who are reporting that the 29-year-old is to complete a medical this week after having agreed a deal with the Toffees. The England international’s contract expired this summer, making him a free agent.

The Football Insider report that the Merseyside club have beaten Premier League rivals Newcastle and West Ham to the signature of the  £70k-per-week centre back.

This move naturally leads to questions around how this will affect those currently at Goodison Park.

Michael Keane was the most consistent presence in the Blues’ backline this season, making 32 appearances.

So how does Tarkowski compare to Keane?

Michael Keane

The 29-year-old is a key defender for Frank Lampard’s side, making more interceptions, clearances, and blocks per game than anyone at the club that made more than ten league appearances, as per WhoScored.

His job has been made harder by the lack of a consistent partner. The England international has made ten more starts at centre back than anyone else.

The former Burnley stopper’s reliability was praised by Lampard when he played with a fever during their loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

“The thing that people don’t see about that situation is that, whilst he was feeling below-par, we needed him and he played in the game. I remember doing that as a player myself. You don’t always get the plaudits and sometimes after the game you wish you hadn’t played.

“The beauty of it is he is dedicated and professional and he wanted to put himself out there.”

James Tarkowski

The £19.8m-rated colossus has not only been one of the leading defenders for the Clarets, he has arguably been one of the leaders in the Premier League.

According to the FBRef, the key defensive man for Burnley leads the league in clearances and is second in aerials won and blocks.

The 6 foot 1 centre back also contributes at the other end, being in the top 15% in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for assists and passes into the penalty area.

At his best, Tarkowski has been described as having an “array of qualities” and being a “super player” by pundits Matthew Upson and Danny Murphy on Match of the Day after one particularly impressive performance.

“He showed an array of qualities today,” Upson said.

“He was very calm and composed as well, knowing when to hold him up, it was good footwork to show the player where he wants him to go.

“He makes good choices and he put himself in good positions to deal with the ball.”

In addition, the Manchester-born tackler’s average WhoScored rating of 6.97 is the highest at the Lancashire club.

Our Verdict

Everton have conceded 66 goals, an amount that only four other teams in the league can beat.

The Toffees have also been reckless, with the most red cards in the Premier League this campaign.

This makes it difficult for any defender at Goodison Park to leave this season, and they look even worse when compared to a defender at the top of his game like Tarkowski.

The former Brentford rock has 92 blocks, 216 clearances, and 143 tackles and interceptions this year (via FBRef). No defender at Everton can match those stats, including Keane.

Lampard must be praying that the medical goes through smoothly.

AND in other news, Everton monitoring “quality” £10.8m-rated dynamo with “huge potential”…


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