Everton transfer news: Robin Olsen signing good news for Jordan Pickford – Robert Green analysis

If I was Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, I would not feel too threatened by the arrival of Robin Olsen on deadline day. When you consider Pickford has been in poor form and is seen by some fans as the Toffees’ weak link, you might think this is a scenario similar […]

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If I was Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, I would not feel too threatened by the arrival of Robin Olsen on deadline day.

When you consider Pickford has been in poor form and is seen by some fans as the Toffees’ weak link, you might think this is a scenario similar to the last time a goalkeeper moved from Roma to Merseyside – Alisson’s switch to Liverpool in 2018.

But it is totally different. The Reds paid £66m for the Brazilian and he was clearly brought in to replace Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. Liverpool had a problem position and – bang – they got the answer, for a then world record fee for a keeper.

In stark contrast, this is the last-minute loan signing on deadline day of a guy who has been training on his own for the past few weeks and spent last season out on loan too.

New Everton keeper Robin Olsen
Robin Olsen has played for clubs in Sweden, Greece, Denmark and Italy. He spent last season on loan at Serie A side Cagliari, where he played 17 games.

Olsen only joined Roma in 2018 – as Alisson’s replacement as it happens – but failed to hold down the number one jersey and it does not seem like there has been a scramble by clubs to sign him while he has been out of favour.

For me, he’s not being brought in with the thinking he is going to be Pickford’s replacement. Instead, he is a solution for another part of the goalkeeping equation at Everton.

I will be very interested to see what happens to their other senior keepers, Joao Virginia and Jonas Lossl, now. A loan in suggests to me that one of them will be loaned out for the season – I assume it will be Virginia because he is only 20 and needs games.

This way, they can send him out and Olsen is a sensible choice to bring in. At 30, he has already played for clubs in four different countries and he has a great pedigree with Sweden.

He had a very good World Cup in 2018 that got him his £11m move from Danish side FC Copenhagen to the big time in Serie A, so he is far from being untried at the top level.

And it is easy to see why a move to Everton appealed to him, even though he needs first-team football to keep his Sweden place for next year’s European Championship.

I am sure he had a conversation about that with Toffees manager Carlo Ancelotti, but his situation at Roma did not exactly put him in a strong position. Even if he is on the bench at Goodison Park, it is better than being stuck at Roma until January, training on his own.

So, it’s a good move for all parties – including Pickford. It is not as if Everton have gone out and signed a new number one, and having a fresh face come in could actually help him.

Jordan Pickford fumbles the ball versus Brighton. His mistake led to a Seagulls goal.
Jordan Pickford’s error against Brighton on Saturday led to the Seagulls scoring. It was his 11th error leading to a goal since he joined Everton in 2017, more than any other Premier League goalkeeper.

Why Olsen signing makes sense

Rather than seeing this signing as an instant replacement for Pickford, I see it more as Ancelotti improving options within his squad and also giving the club’s entire goalkeeping department a different perspective and new impetus.

Olsen’s arrival will still have an effect because he will provide competition – not so much in terms of Pickford not knowing who is going to play, but in terms of having someone new coming in and raising the bar a notch in training.

Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen
Olsen, who has 38 caps for Sweden and played in the Champions League for Roma, was linked with a move to Championship side Watford before joining Everton

I’ve seen it happen myself and you always see other people respond because of it.

The new guy is going to be thinking: ‘I’ve got a point to prove here.’ He will want to show he is better than Pickford, because he is not just playing for his Sweden place, he is playing for his future. His parent club don’t want him, they have made that pretty clear.

So he brings a fresh dynamic, when otherwise Everton’s only back-up is a young lad in Virginia and a more experienced professional in Lossl who has never played a first-team game for the club.

Olsen will bring a fresh spark to the place and I would be surprised if Pickford doesn’t react.

So, it makes sense for Ancelotti to sign a keeper like Olsen. What he wants is Pickford at his best and this could be a way of addressing his form issues without dropping him.

England can give Pickford a boost

Pickford saves a penalty in England's shootout win over Colombia at the 2018 World Cup
Pickford, shown here saving a penalty in England’s shootout win over Colombia at the 2018 World Cup, has 26 England caps. He is in the squad for Thursday’s friendly against Wales and the Nations League matches that follow against Belgium and Denmark.

If Pickford keeps making errors then Ancelotti will have to act. But he is a confident lad and he has come through these situations before.

As well as this new signing being beneficial for Pickford, I think the international break comes at a good time to give him a lift before the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on 17 October.

I saw Pickford’s frustration when he made the basic error that cost his side a goal against Brighton on Saturday, belying the confident start he had made against Tottenham on the opening weekend.

I thought it was interesting that Pickford had looked full of belief when he kept two clean sheets against Iceland and Denmark in September and England can help him get that back.

I think he thrives in the environment of the England squad, where he is clearly well-liked. It might be that his time away provides a bit of an escape from club life at Everton.

Gareth Southgate is the manager who gave him his chance for his country and has always backed him. As Southgate would probably point out, Pickford has never let him down.

Pickford doesn’t just fit the bill for England in the way he is comfortable playing out from the back, he has produced big performances and big saves for them at the big moments.

With England qualifying so comfortably for the European Championship, and limited international game time between now and next summer, there seems no reason to change things now.

Robert Green was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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