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Alex Iwobi, Bernard and Joshua King raise major Everton transfer question for Marcel Brands

A common question among Everton fans over recent weeks and months has centred around the transfer window.

Namely, what should Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands’ priorities be over the summer?

When you look at certain positions in the Blues squad, honestly there’s still a lot to be desired. Injuries in March and April particularly enhanced that point, proving there’s not much depth to pick from.

Those issues should have been long gone by the time Aston Villa visited Goodison Park on Saturday evening, however. Everton had essentially a full strength squad barring the long-term absences of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jean-Philippe Gbamin.

However, one issue was enough to expose a gaping flaw that the Blues need to address in the summer.

Ancelotti’s pre-match comments ahead of this weekend’s game eventually took on much more meaning than he might have envisaged.

When James Rodriguez picked up a knock in the warm-up and confirmed that he would not be able to take to the pitch on Saturday, Alex Iwobi was the man to step into the Colombia international’s shoes.

Handily, the Blues manager had already shared his most recent thoughts on the 24-year-old earlier in the day.

Ancelotti remarked: “He [Iwobi] is not a frustrating player because he is really professional, really serious, always ready, not at all is he a frustrating player, because he is a really good professional with a fantastic attitude.”

The winger’s ability to always be ready was seriously tested on Saturday evening.

On short notice the Nigeria international was called in to play on the right side of Everton’s midfield in the absence of Rodriguez. In an attacking sense, he was there to be one of the more creative players in the side.

It wasn’t the most easy situation to come into, but his performance still left a lot to be desired.

One key pass and two dribbles completed is not what Everton needed from their winger as they tried to break down what eventually turned out to be a resolute Villa defence.

Most of the creativity from the hosts was instead coming from Lucas Digne bombing forward down the left flank. That’s not an unnatural sight, of course, but it still leaves questions for Ancelotti to answer.

When Rodriguez was confirmed as being out of the side, those in contention to replace him in the side all still had major questions hanging over their heads.

Iwobi was the one eventually chosen but his display was evidently not as effective as the Blues desperately needed it to be.

He’s not the same type of player as his Colombian teammate, but Everton supporters often still don’t know what attributes he does bring to the side when he’s in the team.

The 24-year-old is not consistently effective as a creator, he doesn’t take on his man often enough to cause many problems in that sense and his final ball into the box is often wayward.

On numerous occasions in the first half particularly on Saturday, when Everton were looking to hit their opponents on a quick counter attack, things were slowed down as the ball came to Iwobi and he turned back inside rather than getting down the flank.

It’s not his natural instinct to get to the byline and get a ball into the box. The Nigeria international wants to get himself central to try and affect matters in that way.

That’s all well and good, if he pulls it off. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin thriving on good delivery, however, Everton were severely lacking down the right hand side of the pitch.

Of course, Iwobi is not the only player that the eye is drawn to from Saturday’s display.

When Ancelotti needed to change the game and go for more goals, he turned to two stars who in all likelihood will probably not be at Goodison Park next term.

Bernard was close to leaving the club in January, but was still required from the bench in an attempt to spark something among his teammates.

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Bright as he might have been, playing more centrally than out on the wing, the Brazilian didn’t really have much time to provide the kind of impact the boss required.

Then, of course, there’s Joshua King to consider.

The forward, signed in January, had been suffering from a back problem recently – but Ancelotti also confirmed on Friday it was a “technical decision” for him to be left out of the side.

Many have wanted to see the former Bournemouth man in the side rather than Iwobi on occasion, and that argument was still relevant following the full time whistle on Saturday.

Again the Norway international was given a rather thankless task. He had around ten minutes to try and inspire a goal and pull Everton back level.

He drove a shot just wide of the post shortly after his introduction in what was another fairly bright cameo, but again it wasn’t the right quality in the end to eventually earn the Blues what would have been an undeserved point.

In what is a rather damning statistic, Everton have had just one goal scored by a substitute this season.

That came when Sigurdsson coolly slotted away a penalty at Anfield to finally secure an away win over Liverpool.

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But to have no other strikes from the bench is probably the biggest sign that Everton’s depth of attacking options in particular has not been good enough.

An injury to one player, even someone as technically gifted as James Rodriguez, should not have been such a detrimental one to the Blues.

But, it was. And that surely makes those areas the biggest priority for Ancelotti and Brands in the coming transfer window.

Everton have shown that they can play in a defensively solid manner even with injury issues, but regularly breaking down sides has been another issue in itself.

Attacking options, whether that be up front or on the wing, are absolutely essential this summer.

Aston Villa ruthlessly exposed that weakness this weekend.

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