Everton fans will remember that last January one of the hot topics in the transfer window was our reported interest in Charlton Athletic’s young centre-half Ezri Konsa. It actually stemmed from reported interest back last summer, but ultimately nothing came of it.
Whatever the truth of the matter may have been back then about our interest in the player, manager at the time Karl Robinson was quoted as saying “If a price comes in for Ez that is right, I don`t think you can say no. That`s not being negative or a lack of ambition. If an offer comes in for anybody that is well above our valuation then you have to seriously think about it. But we haven`t had one.”
This week the 20-year-old player and England Under 20 international completed a move – Sky Sports – to Championship side Brentford, signing a three year deal, for an undisclosed fee but it’s reportedly in the region of £2.5million which would be half the reported rate of a deal last January.
Now this summer, I’ve not noticed him back on the radar and that’s understandable when you consider the message from Marcel Brands and Marco Silva is sales first, then we strengthen as we look to trim the first team squad size.
Having seen talk of Everton dropping the ball by not getting the deal done and reuniting him – whether in January or this summer – with former teammate Ademola Lookman, I’m not really sure that’s an accusation or claim that should be thrown at the club.
Konsa clearly has talent for his tender age, but you can’t treat centre-halfs the same way as young attacking players. There’s more riding on their errors, so the pressure more quickly magnifies.
I can’t state with any certainty that he remains on our ‘watch list’ but let’s presume he does.
The lad has 77 starting appearances to his name, and that number rises to 86 when you factor in substitute showings. A 20-year-old with 86 professional appearances isn’t ready to be thrown to the wolves of the Premier League – even for only £2.5million.
Couldn’t we have simply decided that with a bloated first-team, allowing for the fact that Under 23 football now serves no purpose for him given he played 47 times in 2017/18 – there was little point bringing him in, even for that fee, in case we couldn’t then arrange a suitable loan out so he could continue his development and not stall.
Brentford now take the risk. A risk they benefit from if he continues improving and if we still want him down the line, the mark up most likely won’t be that considerable that it gets looked at as a mistake in hindsight in any event – it was more sensibly hedging our bets for future reward.
A mistake in hindsight is Manchester United letting Paul Pogba go as a youngster then deciding he’s worth over £80million a few years later.