Everton enjoyed a 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon, but they had to do it without Mason Holgate and Jarrad Branthwaite. Yerry Mina and Michael Keane started at centre-back as Carlo Ancelotti had no other defender in the matchday squad. But why was that?
What’s the latest on Holgate?
Everton confirmed ahead of Saturday’s victory that Holgate was still sidelined with a serious toe problem. The 23-year-old had been ruled out for up to three months after injuring himself going in for an innocuous challenge in Everton’s pre-season friendly win over Preston North End (September 5). He had to be substituted inside of half an hour and isn’t expected to return until December.
Holgate’s absence is a loss. Last season, the centre-back missed 11 games in all competitions. We won only twice (18%) and lost seven times (64%) without him. That being said, we’ve got this season off to a perfect start with five wins from five (3/3 Premier League, 2/2 EFL Cup) across the board.
What’s the latest on Branthwaite?
Branthwaite is out of action with an ankle injury and has been ruled out for up to five weeks. The 18-year-old suffered the knock in our EFL Cup win over Salford City (September 16) and had to come off after 25 minutes.
Branthwaite has only made one appearance in all competitions this season and may have to wait until November before returning, so it’s a blow for all parties. Lewis Gibson being loaned out to Reading means we don’t have any reliable cover to call upon either.
Will we sign a centre-back before October 5?
That’s the plan. Ancelotti has said as much, but it remains to be seen who.
We’ve been linked with John Stones, Unai Nunez, Mohammed Salisu, Branislav Ivanovic, Jean-Clair Todibo, John Stones, Wesley Fofana, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mykola Matviyenko, Morata, Thiago Silva, Gian Marco Ferrari, Kristoffer Ajer, Marash Kumbulla, Christian Luyindama, Issa Diop, Dael Fry, Fiyako Tomori, Nikola Maksimović, Diego Godin and Tosin Adarabioyo this summer, but time is running out and not a lot of progress has been made.