Leeds United underwent a busy January transfer window as Jesse Marsch was granted substantial funds to bolster several key areas of the squad.
With the additions of Max Wober and Diogo Monteiro, it was clear that strengthening the defence was certainly high on that list.
The deal for the former was tied up just three days into the month as Victor Orta clearly sought to strengthen an area which had shipped 33 goals in just 19 games in the Premier League.
Considering the club’s eagerness to strengthen defensively, it perhaps gives credence to reports which noted their interest in Everton’s Mason Holgate.
The 26-year-old had struggled to force his way into Frank Lampard’s thinking in the first half of the season, with James Tarkowski and Conor Coady almost always preferred.
With Sean Dyche having now taken charge at Goodison Park, that could bolster the selection prospects of his former Burnley defender Michael Keane, alongside the returning Ben Godfrey.
It would have made sense for Holgate to seek an exit from Everton, but the Whites have certainly dodged a bullet by missing out on a move for him.
Just four league appearances for a Toffees team wallowing in the relegation zone is indicative of his declining fortunes; and even when he featured last season, he was part of a squad which nearly got his club relegated for the first time since 1951.
Featuring 25 times in the 2021/22 league campaign, he was deservedly handed a meagre 6.65 Sofascore rating as he offered a shaky presence with little finesse about his play. He could only manage a 68% pass accuracy and kept just five clean sheets across a season in which the Toffees conceded a whopping 66 goals.
His poor displays are not a new phenonemon either, as at the back end of the 2020/21 season he was lambasted by Sky Sports journalist Ron Walker for a “really bad decision” which lost his team a match against Aston Villa.
The unreliability of the £70k-per-week Englishman is one of many reasons why he would likely have been a misjudged signing by Orta if Leeds did put their reported interest into definitive cation.
The Elland Road sporting director avoided a huge transfer howler by neglecting to pursue the 26-year-old.