Marcel Brands must seal a deal for Everton to retain goalkeeper Robin Olsen beyond the end of the season, after Carlo Ancelotti praised the impact that the AS Roma loanee has brought to Goodison Park.
Reports earlier this week by TuttoMercatoWeb claimed that the Blues are still in contact with the Giallorossi hierarchy over a permanent transfer for the Sweden international, having seen Olsen find a home for himself on Merseyside.
The 31-year-old was allowed to leave the Stadio Olimpico on deadline day in October after being unable to establish himself as Roma’s first choice in two years with the Serie A outfit, and has featured nine times across all competitions since joining the Toffees.
Should Everton sign Roma’s Olsen permanently?
Yes, he’s been brilliant
No, he isn’t good enough
Olsen had been resigned to a backup role for much of the season and only featured twice in the Premier League before the turn of the year, but was given a run in the side throughout early February while Jordan Pickford was sidelined with an abdominal injury.
The Roma flop excelled between the sticks as Everton beat Leeds United 2-1 at Elland Road last month, with Olsen producing a string of sublime saves – including a rapid triple effort – to deny the Whites a comeback.
His efforts off the field had already impressed Ancelotti as much as those on the pitch, too, with the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss stating aspirations of retaining the £4.5m-rated shot-stopper this summer after talks with the Giallorossi fell through in January.
“No news but the idea is the same to keep him permanent,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo, when asked for an update on Everton’s pursuit during the winter transfer market. “In the next few months, we are going to talk with Roma about this.”
It appears that has been the case, with TuttoMercatoWeb claiming that discussions are ongoing over the £20k-a-week ‘keeper‘s future at Goodison Park, and Everton’s Director of Football Brands must see that those talks result in a deal being agreed.
Ancelotti has frequently praised Olsen for the levels that the 42-cap Sweden international brings to his game and his ability between the posts, noting at the end of January how he considered the Roma loanee to be not too far off Pickford.
“This is true. It is not always the same situation,” he said, via quotes in The Telegraph. “Honestly, when there is a big difference between the first and the second goalkeeper, I was not used to rotating the players. But when the quality of both of them is quite the same, I was used to rotating. Like I did in Real Madrid and in Napoli and like I am doing here.
“In this case, Jordan and Olsen, I have a lot of confidence in them. Jordan is younger but he plays a lot of games in the Premier League. Olsen is more experienced, maybe with less individual quality.”
Ancelotti also seems pleased with how Olsen’s form has forced Pickford to up his game, having rarely been challenged in previous seasons by the likes of Maarten Stekelenburg, Jonas Lossl, Joel Robles or Joao Virginia.
“In goal, Jordan is doing well, because I take him out [to rotate the goalkeeper] it removes a little bit of pressure. Robin Olsen is injured, when he is back, he can play some games to keep Jordan fresh and good like he is in this moment,” the Italian said on Thursday.
Pickford certainly seemed to be at the top of his game during last month’s Merseyside derby win over Liverpool, with the England shot-stopper proving his doubters wrong by producing a superb showing at Anfield.
If displays like Pickford’s against Jurgen Klopp’s defending Premier League champions are what the £100,000-per-week shot-stopper is capable of producing with a bit of pressure from Olsen, Brands and Ancelotti must ensure the Roma loanee stays at Goodison Park.