Carlo Ancelotti will be without Lucas Digne for between two to three months, according to the Liverpool Echo.
That’s a big blow for the Italian and the big question is – who’s going to replace the Frenchman?
Summer signing Niels Nkounkou is the obvious choice. He’s shone at left back in the EFL Cup and is a natural left back.
But he is inexperienced and with Ancelotti trying a five-man backline at Fulham last weekend, different possibilities begin to open up.
Alex Iwobi played at right wing back in that 3-2 win, which was a surprise for a player who is most comfortable as a winger or a creative midfielder.
He looked good going forward, although Nigel Martyn told HITC he was unconvinced by some of his defensive work.
Ancelotti told his pre-match press conference he believes Iwobi could play at left wing back too, in the absence of Digne.
“We are thinking about this,” he said. “Three centre-backs can be an option still, we have Niels Nkounkou who is young but has a lot of quality. I think Iwobi can play on the left as a wing back, in my opinion. So we will see.”
When Iwobi signed for Everton for a reported £34 million in 2019, he likely didn’t envisage being talked about as a wing back option.
That’s a sign of how his Goodison Park career is still yet to ignite. Ancelotti has seemingly settled on his front three of Richarlison, James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Iwobi hasn’t been able to force his way into midfield either, and may need to fill in out of position until Digne is back next year.
It would be a risk to play him at wing back on his weaker side as well, but Ancelotti is a seasoned tactician. Maybe he sees something we don’t!
Nigel Martyn speaking to Everton News: Archive