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The Mori the merrier?

Byline: SHAUN DRISCOLL

EVERTON remain interested in River Plate centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori in a deal worth around PS5.5m. The 24-year-old would join the Blues' on the back of a successful four years at the Argentine giants, winning the Argentine Primera Division, the Copa Sudamericana and the most prestigious trophy in South American football, the Copa Libertadores.

Mori scored a header in the 3-0 victory against Mexican Liga MX side Tigres in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final at the Estadio Monumental earlier this month, he was also man of the match in the final. He will need to acquire a work permit before he can play for Everton.

What can the Blues expect from the Los Millonarios defender? STRENGTHS The defender has been an important figure at River Plate under manager Marcelo Gallardo, earning his spot in the team at the expense of Colombian International Eder Alvarez Balanta, despite Balanta being one of the best young centre-backs in the South American game, Mori was able to move in front of him in the pecking order and form a solid partnership alongside Jonathan Maidana, indicating the talent that Mori possesses.

His performances for River Plate earned him a call up to Gerardo Martino's Argentina squad for a friendly game against El Salvador, in which he played the full 90 minutes.

Mori is a powerful defender, Standing at 6 foot 2, he holds a serious aerial threat, both defensively and offensively. Mori has scored six goals in 72 appearances for River Plate, the majority coming from set pieces.

Not only is Mori a threat in the air, he also has a powerful left foot - he demonstrated this by scoring an outstanding free kick against Temperley in Argentina's top division. Mori is also a very mobile defender and his ability to move, combined with the physical aspects of his game, would make him an exciting match for the Premier League.

Playing from the back is a big feature of Roberto Martinez' Everton side, and Mori can certainly adapt to that style of play as he is comfortable on the ball and has a good eye for a pass.

Mori also has experience of playing in big games - the defender scored a late winner at La Bombonera against arch rivals Boca Juniors in a 2-1 victory last year.

If he joins, Everton fans will be hoping he can deliver the same result in a Merseyside derby.

WEAKNESSES As a South American defender, there is no surprise that he can lack concentration at times, resulting in sloppy mistakes.

Defenders from the continent are often caught out due to their eccentric style of play and unfortunately he is in the same category.

However, playing and training alongside England internationals Phil Jagielka and John Stones will certainly help Mori grow as a defender, and hopefully it will iron out the mistakes that he can be prone to make.

The fast pace and the intensity of the Premier League may take a while for Mori to adapt to and it may result in the odd mistake, which could prove to be costly.

HIT OR MISS? The Argentine defender is a gamble, but it is a gamble worth taking for Martinez.

The ability is there in Mori and he has the potential to be a good signing for Everton.

He may only be brought in as cover for the Blues' established centre-back pairing to begin with, but he could grow into the perfect replacement for 33-year-old Jagielka and form a solid partnership alongside Stones.

Being Argentinean, Mori is a fighter and a battler, that normally bodes well with the Everton faithful, so there is every chance that Mori will be popular with the fans at Goodison Park.

Mori is replacing the void left by Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz, who were released by the Blues over the summer, and he is an improvement on both of them.

At PS5.5m, the defender could be a real success on Merseyside.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2015
Words:664
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