Everton may have found answer to problem position £31m . . .
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Everton may have found answer to problem position £31m outlay failed to solve

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Everton are linked with a potential summer signing for AZ and Japan right-back Yukinari Sugawara.

Many have tried and failed, but might Yukinari Sugawara emerge as Everton’s first-choice right-back, succeeding Seamus Coleman?

Coleman has played more Premier League games for the Blues than anyone else (currently 363) and needs only a dozen more appearances in all competitions to join Dixie Dean and Leon Osman in the club’s top ten, both with 433. The Republic of Ireland international has only appeared 11 times in the Premier League this season, his lowest tally for a full season, but with his contract set to expire this summer, he has been offered a new one-year agreement.

Although he remains in peak condition, Coleman will be 36 in October, and at times this season, manager Sean Dyche has chosen an even older player in his position in the form of his own former Watford teammate Ashley Young (38) or £20 million man Ben Godfrey, who prefers to play centre-back. Everton paid Rangers £11 million for Nathan Patterson in January 2022, but the Scotland international’s time on Merseyside has been hindered by injuries, and the current manager’s reluctance to start him implies that he does not fully trust the 22-year-old.

Sugawara could fit the bill. According to Munich-based Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg, the Japan international could leave his current club AZ this summer, with many teams interested in the €6 million-valued player, including Everton, Brighton & Hove Albion, Internazionale, and Wolfsburg.

So, what kind of player is he? Well, Comparisonator’s similarity According to comparison, the closest Premier League match to Sugawara is Brentford’s Vitaly Janelt, who has a remarkable high score of 97%m, which is intriguing given that the German is occasionally deployed as a full-back by the Bees – over on the left side – but is primarily a defensive midfielder. Next up is Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson, who has a 76% likeness, followed by Ecuadorian international Pervis Estupinan of Brighton & Hove Albion on 71%.

We can also utilize Comparisontor’s Virtual Transfer tool to compare Sugawara’s Eredivisie statistics this season to players who are already playing in the Premier League in his position. Like Coleman, who scored half a dozen goals in a Premier League season a decade ago, the player from Toyokawa in Aichi Prefecture, who became the second youngest debutant in Japan’s top flight when he played for Nagoya Grampus in 2018 before moving to Alkmaar two years later, has a goal-scoring eye.

Sugawara has four goals in the Dutch top tier this season, averaging 0.14 goals per 90 minutes. This ratio matches the Premier League leader in his position, Chiedozie Ogbene of Luton Town, and is higher than Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 0.12. His 1.02 rating for playing in scoring attacks is also higher than the top three Premier League players, Manchester City’s Kyle Walker (0.87), Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier (0.85), and Alexander-Arnold (0.81).

Set-pieces are also in his arsenal, and the 23-year-old, whose second goal in a 4-0 thrashing of Volendam on March 17 came from a direct free-kick, has 36% of direct free-kicks on target, which is higher than Trippier (25%), and Alexander-Arnold (17%), his only Premier League contemporaries. Sugawara’s distribution is also good, and his 52.61 passes per 90 minutes would rank him sixth in the Premier League in a category where Alexander-Arnold leads with 64.36.

He would rank seventh in terms of successful passes (44.35), trailing only Chelsea’s Axel Disasi (58.15), and his figure of 0.75 is only surpassed by Chelsea’s Malo Gusto (0.79) and Trippier (0.77). Indeed, Sugawara’s short pass accuracy of 87% is comparable to that of Premier League leader Ben White of Arsenal.

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