A combination of poor form and injuries allowed the Toffees to finish in 12th place, and next season’s improvement will be the bare minimum for the Everton manager.
Reshaping his current squad will be the Italian’s first task, with new arrivals hopefully well ahead of the 2020/21 big kickoff on September 12.
Everton fans have seen signs of improvement in the seven months that Ancelotti has spent at the club, but it’s clear that signings will need to be made – and the manager’s brilliant reputation will no doubt see the club linked with many big names.
However, one name that has already cropped is former unannounced Chelsea winger Jeremie Boga. He reportedly caught Ancelotti’s attention when he was Napoli manager and Sky Sports claim interest was retained at Everton.
The Blues are expected to face fierce competition for his signing, with figures like Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund reportedly also interested. Still, it’s worth watching why Ancelotti holds 23-year-old Boga in such high regard.
An obvious starting point is his scoring record, which has improved year on year in the senior game.
After scoring just seven league goals in the four seasons leading up to 2019/20, the French winger has scored 11 times for Sassuolo in Serie A this season.
Naturally, such a record means there are question marks as to whether his improved marksmanship is durable or just an oddly shaped vein.
According to the Wyscout website, his 11 goals came with an expected goals (xG) value of just 4.78, meaning Boga has scored six more goals than he planned to do this season. .
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While this can be seen as a positive, it’s also a strong indication that we could see a drop in his goal scoring as his career progresses, but there are other aspects of his game that need to be looked at as well. .
Considering that Boga has only played a few full seasons in one of Europe’s top leagues, using xG to measure his true quality is too focused, especially since he’s a winger.
In fact, it’s his impressive ability to carry the ball that best shows how he could be a useful player in Ancelotti’s 4-2-2-2 (or 4-4-2) preferred system.
Playing in a large attacking midfielder role would see him tasked with advancing on the pitch when in possession and supplying players like Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Boga is ranked first in Serie A this season in dribbling attempts – 10.48 every 90 minutes – and third in progressive races at a rate of 5.48.
Recording high numbers in those categories suggests he would be a valuable asset in an Ancelotti side looking to advance the ball over wide areas.