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Would Dwight be right for Blues?

Byline: IBRAHIM MUSTAPHA Sports Reporter

THE coronavirus crisis has impacted clubs enormously up and down the leagues and across various countries.

Premier League sides may see their summer spending restricted due to limited financial resources after a threemonth period of inaction. One of those sides could be Burnley, a club who are not blessed with the immense wealth of a Russian oligarch or Middle-Eastern commodities tycoon.

Everton's majority owner and billionaire Farhad Moshiri's pockets are generously-lined, but even he is facing a summer that may be dominated by swap-deals and loans.

Nevertheless, could a player on Marcel Brands' radar be Burnley's Dwight McNeil? The young England winger is without doubt the Clarets' most influential attacking player, and boss Sean Dyche has admitted candidly that the 20-year-old will most likely leave the club.

McNeil could certainly be a player high on Brands' agenda; he is homegrown, based in the North West and would add a certain level of dynamism to Everton's midfield.

The 20-year-old is an extremely hardworker, and forward-thinking. He has completed almost three times as many dribbles as any other Burnley player this season, beating his man on 41 more occasions than the next best Claret, as per WhoScored.com.

Formerly of Manchester United's youth setup, McNeil has started all 31 of Burnley's Premier League games this season, proving himself to be indispensable.

While McNeil has excelled on the left, on the opposite flank at Goodison Park, Richarlison has proved to be an equallytiresome presence for opposition fullbacks, and more recently centre-backs as he has graduated to a more central role.

The Brazilian is much like McNeil in the sense that they are both some of the league's hardest-working attacking players.

Under Carlo Ancelotti, Everton tend to have operated in a 4-4-2 formation, often using a double-six in the centre of midfield to anchor the side. That has allowed the likes of Bernard on the left and Alex Iwobi on the right to utilise their natural attacking talent to link midfield and attack.

A concern for Everton will be that Bernard has struggled with injuries and consistency this term and the Toffees' attacking from the left predominantly relies on marauding left-back Lucas Digne.

With McNeil, a player accustomed to playing in a 4-4-2, he could undertake much of the creative burden, whilst also utilising his excellent work ethic to cover Digne whenever the Frenchman overlaps.

Similarly, McNeil is a great deal more physical than Bernard. In defending from the front, McNeil would help Everton in hassling and pressing opponents in the middle and final thirds.

According to FBRef.com, McNeil is one of Burnley's most active pressers high up the pitch, which is another dimension he could add to Everton.

On the whole, there are few clubs who will not be admirers of McNeil. Those in the market for him know he is a player who could potentially be worth twice as much in a year's time if he continues to be a creative ever-present at Burnley and makes his senior England bow.

McNeil is familiar with being his side's creative hub, however at Everton he would be helped greatly on the left-hand side by Digne's overlapping runs. He is also very adept at going both backwards and forwards, as would be expected in a Dyche outfit.

Under the tutelage of esteemed coach Carlo Ancelotti, McNeil could prove to be an incredibly astute addition, and one who will help the club fulfil their homegrown quota. The only question that remains is at what price?

CAPTION(S):

Burnley's Dwight McNeil battles for possession with Watford's Will Hughes at the weekend POOL
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IBRAHIM MUSTAPHA Sports Reporter
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 29, 2020
Words:601
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