Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has identified Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a potential target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer.
Calvert-Lewin, 24, has been in stellar scoring form this term, notching 14 Premier League goals — and a further five in domestic cup competitions — to bolster Everton’s chances of challenging for a European place.
The Toffees, under the revered auspices of Carlo Ancelotti, currently sit just six points off Chelsea in fifth and with a game in hand, but momentum has just started to fizzle out in recent weeks.
Everton squandered the chance to close the gap after their threadbare squad collected just a point against Brighton on Monday night, their fourth winless game in a row, while Calvert-Lewin was kept on ice despite travelling with the Merseysiders to the South Coast.
Having fired a blank at the Amex, Ancelotti will now be relishing the return of his leading marksman, who currently sits joint-fourth in the Golden Boot race, with only Bruno Fernandes (16), Mohamed Salah (19) and Harry Kane (19) netting more this term. In fact, excluding penalties, he is second only to Kane for goals scored.
Such has been Calvert-Lewin’s form that he has become a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, so far netting four goals in just seven international appearances, while he has also scored more headed goals (six) than any other player in the Premier League this campaign.
With debate up in the air at Old Trafford regarding the No. 9 role and whether Edinson Cavani extends his current deal, which expires in the summer, or whether Anthony Martial is seen as a viable long-term option in the central forward berth, Solskjaer may be tempted to explore the market in just a few month’s time.
Erling Haaland has naturally been generating plenty of interest from across Europe, while Kane could be another option if Tottenham fail to reach the Champions League, but Ferdinand believes his former club should be looking closer to home, and Calvert-Lewin would be the optimal solution in his eyes.
“Listen, Dominic Calvert-Lewin for me, I love him,” he told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“I’ve watched a lot of Everton this year and he’s one that unnerves defenders. He’s not one you want to play against week in, week out. He’s aggressive, he attacks the ball.
“I was speaking to Carlo Ancelotti earlier this year and he mentioned [Filippo] Inzaghi and said he didn’t need many chances to score goals and he scores goals in and around the six-yard box.
“I look at Calvert-Lewin this season and he’s listened to that, he’s taken that on board. Obviously, he seems a real good student of the game and he’s started putting that into his own game.
“We’ve seen the rewards he’s had, he’s got into the England squad by scoring loads of goals in and around the six-yard box, scoring those ugly goals. I think he’d be a fantastic signing for Manchester United.
“It’s one out of left field a little bit but I think he’d have a big impact. He’d get on the end of the things created by Fernandes, Pogba, [Marcus] Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood, etc.”
‘He’s like Inzaghi’
As a three-time Champions League winner, Ancelotti has naturally managed some of football’s finest players, and one, Filippo Inzaghi, was the architect behind AC Milan’s 2007 triumph over Liverpool, in which the Italian notched a timely brace to beat Rafa Benitez’s Reds 2-1.
Such a feat of goalscoring brilliance has firmly etched Inzaghi’s name in European folklore, and Ancelotti believes Calvert-Lewin shares similar traits to the Milan legend, heaping praise on his current marksman last year.
“I had a fantastic striker in Inzaghi, who scored 300 goals and 210 with one touch,” the Italian coach told reporters.
“A striker has to be focused in the box and I think Calvert-Lewin understands really well because, in the box, he has speed, he jumps really high, he has power.”