Noel Whelan urges Everton to bring a player to replace James Rodriguez, throwing in Jesse Lingard’s name in the mix.

There was very little fuss about James Rodriguez leaving the club for Qatar well beyond the transfer window was shut. With the attacking midfielder showing no intent towards playing for Everton again since the shock summer departure of former manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Merseysiders had no option but to let him go.

They might have saved plenty on his massive wages; Everton might be missing his creative influence dearly. Since Rafael Benitez’s arrival at the helm, the Spaniard seemingly prefers a wide approach to his attack. The signing of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend might have worked well so far but they miss a player who can creatively influence proceedings.

Rodriguez was that player who gave the Everton attack another dimension to their play while in the final third. However, the club is feeling the effects in recent games, having lost consecutive matches at home to West Ham and Watford, where a lack of attacking firepower was evident.

Jesse Lingard’s name has been thrown in the mix by Noel Whelan, who told Football Insider how the Manchester United man could become an influential signing for Everton. The attacking midfielder’s contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the current season.

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He could have easily moved to in the summer to West Ham, who still holds an interest. He remained at Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promised him regular time. But that has hardly been the case so far for the England international.

Whelan said, “I think Everton are missing that number 10, absolutely. Now that Rodriguez has gone, you’re missing that X factor, that one player that can produce, that can open up the doors. Think about the players on either side of what he could have as well, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. It’s a mouthwatering prospect thinking about the front four they could have.

“Jesse Lingard could be that missing piece of the puzzle. He could bring the best out of that front three. There’s no doubt in my mind if he did go to Everton, West Ham, wherever, he would be a success. He’s one of those players that gets you on the edge of your seat, can make something out of nothing. His link-up play is fantastic, but you also know that he will come up with assists and goals through the season.

“He probably should be knocking on double figures when you look at his stats.”

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