Such early confidence has turned to desperation

by   |   31/08/2017  36 Comments  [Jump to last]

I have only ever written one article on here before. The gist of it was saying that,, when Chelsea then Man City and others got new owners, it must have felt like dreamland for their supporters as they now shopped in Harrods.

At the time Everton had not really spent that much after Moshiri's arrival and my point was we don't have that same "kid on Christmas morning" feeling. Fast-forward to today and I don't know how I feel.

At the start of this transfer window I started to get excited. I went for a game of golf and was checking the Sky Sports News app between every whole as it felt like we could sign another player at any time.

It looked like the club had a plan, a real strategy and they went out and acquired the players that they wanted. However, everyone knew that Lukaku was leaving so as a fan you can only assume there was a plan for this also.

Early in the window the club got numbers in as we now have Europe. They identified young talent and acted quickly (investments for the future) and they recruited in key positions – goal, centre back, attacking midfielders, and a young striker (who I think will be a great buy).

Now, on the final day of the season, is my assessment still one of confidence, of watching a club with a plan and strategy? No; not at all.

It now looks just like Everton of old. Looking desperately for a striker, all kinds of has-been names being quoted. Why was it left this late?

Changing subject slightly, it has been great to see Everton up there with the big spenders but when you really look at everything that has gone on we hardy have any "marquee" signings.

Yes, Pickford is a lot for a young keeper - happy with that.

Yes, Sigurdsson at £45M is a lot of money (possible marquee signing), but in today's market £20M to £30M is normal.

I remember a few years back, Liverpool where spending £20M on just about anyone. Yet Chelsea spent £40M on Fabregas and one other who I forget – quality not quantity.

I feel we have gone the Liverpool route with these £20M or £30M signings – I would have preferred one less player but better quality in the others – so same budget was spent.

Anyway, back to the question... at the beginning of the window, I was impressed, proud even that my club were acting big. Like things had changed and the future would be different. Today, I feel like nothing has changed and this is typical Everton – I only hope I am wrong.

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 31/08/2017 at 15:36:45
Paul, I think maybe there's too much emphasis on a new striker, a 'target man'. We had one of those in Lukaku, and maybe the plan now is not simply to replace him with another, but to have a different style that is less dependent on a target man.

The recent signings were, to me, an indicator that this is maybe what Koeman is developing, faster passing movement with rapid interchanges. It fits with the styles of Rooney, Klaasen, Sigurdsson, and others. We saw glimpses of it in the home game against Split (1st half), but admittedly it's not very apparent generally at the moment. My hope is that time and gelling of the team will see this develop. Having a new striker to get better 'hold-up' of the ball can only help, but if we don't get that striker it's not necessarily a disaster, depending on how we gradually gel.

William Cartwright
2 Posted 31/08/2017 at 16:51:43
Stan, 100% agree and I am grateful to see not everyone is hooked don the instant gratification short appreciation mode.

I believe RK has gone, is going for a different playing style. Pressing with goals from all across the team is the mantra. Will it work? May do, let's hope so. Oh, I was forgetting, Evertonians' approach is blanket instant, impatient criticism with no positivity from the off.

Let's see where we are in the not too distant future, time when the team have gelled. I see an attacking assembly of Lookman, Rooney, Onyekuru, Vlasic, Calvert Lewin, Bolasie, Sandro, Siggurdson, Walsh and Dowell etc. capable of scoring more goals than the bottleneck that Lukaku used to be in many games.

Also if only Barklay would wake up and realize what an opportunity he has to play alongside Rooney. . . . . .

Joe McMahon
3 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:02:05
Guys - thanks you have put my mind at ease, as there was me worring about our annual Anfield mauling to look forward to.
Don Alexander
4 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:04:31
This might be a hat-trick of posts NOT slaughtering Koeman or the club at all (a rare thing indeed!) but Koeman has stated he wants another forward etc, etc. before the window closes and there is a Jim White (I know, I know!) proclamation that we'll be making a very significant announcement this evening.

Patience is required to see how his very new, enlarged squad gells. No guarantees of course but who knows, he and the club may be doing it right to progress into CL contenders by the end of next season, as promised.

And that's not a ringing acceptance of the quality of football seen thus far this season either, but it's early days.

Joe McMahon
5 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:08:53
Sorry Don, I've spoiled your hatrick. We have all known Rom has been leaving for at least 6 months, so why the hell are we fighting for scraps at the last minute. I may be wrong but I just don't see 40 goals coming from midfield, and Rooney is out of gas after 60 minutes.
Guy Hastings
6 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:20:56
Jim White's predicted EFC announcement - Bill Kenwright prefers Natalie Sawyer in a yellow dress rather than an orange one.
Brent Stephens
7 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:22:18
Cheltenham sign Scott Flinders. I'm so excited.
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 31/08/2017 at 17:22:39
And Torquay sign George Dowling!
Jamie Sweet
9 Posted 01/09/2017 at 01:25:17
Chelsea - Morata + Batshuayi
Spurs - Kane + Llorente + Janssen
Man Utd - Lukaku + Rashford + Ibrahimovic
Man City - Aguero + Jesus
Arsenal - Lacazette + Giroud + Welbeck + Sanchez
Leicester - Vardy + Iheanacho + Slimani

West Ham have Chicharito. Bournemouth have Defoe and King. Palace have Benteke.

We have Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

We can't pretend that this window hasn't been a big FAIL on the striker front.

Michael Williams
10 Posted 01/09/2017 at 07:25:35
It has been a total disaster on striker front .you can have all of the creativity in the world but you have to have someone who can wack it in the net
Stan Schofield
11 Posted 01/09/2017 at 09:39:38
It was always going to be difficult to replace Lukaku. If we need a target man, Everton need not have let Lukaku go. He had two years left on his contract, and his value to us in that time could arguably have been greater than the £75M fee Utd paid. We didn't NEED to let him , but we let him go, without a replacement in place.

Given that, it strikes me that the management is either (a) incompetent, or (b) focused on a different approach not dependent on a 'target man'. If it's (a), it looks chaos and the same old Everton, but if it's (b) then what's happened might be part of some 'master plan' where we play football like City and get goals through sweet passing movements involving more than just one goal scorer.

The cynic in me says it's scenario (a), but the hopeful side says it's (b).

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 01/09/2017 at 16:17:18
Stan #11, I'd say 'b' is definitely true.

I'm holding fire on 'a' because I truly believe Koeman/Walsh have been in for multiple top strikers this summer... not just three or four but 8-10... and none of them wanted to come here or weren't available for a rational price, which doesn't surprise me. Even decent goalscorers can pick and choose from CL teams these days and pull in massive contracts. My guess is we probably could have had the likes of Benteke and Bony any time, but Koeman/Walsh weren't willing to settle for that.

Personally I don't necessarily agree with their approach, but I certainly wouldn't call it incompetent. I can see their point about quality or nothing. I read an article earlier this year about Hammers having signed 32 strikers in 7 years and still haven't found even one that's been top quality.

Steavey Buckley
13 Posted 01/09/2017 at 16:31:48
When Everton lost Fellaini they also lost his 12 premier league goals, plus his domination of both penalty areas. When Everton lost Lukaku they lost 25+league goals a season. That's 37 league goals lost to Everton. The current team looks as though they have just 37 goals between them. For those who are looking to Rooney to make up for Lukaku's goals, he spends more time in midfield than upfront.
Stan Schofield
14 Posted 01/09/2017 at 18:26:18
Mike@12: Although my cynical side says (a), I agree that it's likely to be (b). So long as Koeman's team selections and tactics are on the nail, I can't see any reason why we can't score a bag of goals, and if we are dependent on a target man then DCL is making rapid progress as far I can see. I believe we have the skills, it's just making sure the tactics make best use of those skills, especially away from home.

Last season, a lot of folks on here were saying we were too 1-dimensional and predictable with the dependence on Lukaku. Surely now's the chance to set that right.

Don Alexander
15 Posted 01/09/2017 at 18:38:02
By the end of September there'll be little excuse for Koeman if we're not visibly playing a more "productive, pressing" game. That should produce results giving hope for a top six, not seventh, finish as a prelude to next season when, with another two or three major signings, we might just get the top four spot that the bloke in charge made his minimum ambition.
Robin Cannon
16 Posted 01/09/2017 at 20:34:06
The title of the article is a good demonstration of how we always think in extremes.

We had a good, encouraging start to the transfer window. We had a disappointing end. It's not desperate, it's disappointing.

I think the squad is better than last season. I think we still need to strengthen. I'm curious, and mildly (not strongly) confident that we can maintain a good start to the season and have a threat from more players than we did last season, where we were very reliant on Rom.

Bill Gienapp
17 Posted 01/09/2017 at 21:27:51
The biggest issue re: the striker situation, in my opinion, is depth. It's a big ask to expect Calvert-Lewin and Sandro to shoulder the burden, especially given that both are young and relatively untested.

However, I'm not terribly concerned about replacing Lukaku's goal-scoring output. People keep asking "Where are his 25 goals going to come from?" Well, just throwing out a conservative estimate --

Rooney - 10
Sigurdsson - 8
Klaassen - 5
Sandro - 5

That's 28 right there, all from new additions to the squad, and, like I said, I don't think any of those estimates are an overly optimistic reach (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Klaassen scored more than that). So while striker is definitely a concern, I'm not sure it's the season-crippling catastrophe some are making it out to be.

John Raftery
18 Posted 01/09/2017 at 22:17:48
Bill (17) That is 28 goals from four positions which leaves us needing another 34 from elsewhere if are going to reach last season's 62 in the league. If Gana and Schneiderlin get their usual one or two each per season, the centre backs about half a dozen between them, Baines a handful if he takes the penalties and maybe a handful from the rest of the team, it still leaves us short of the 62 we scored last season.

More worrying is the fact we have nobody to frighten an opposition defence. Teams usually stuck two men on Lukaku which left some space for others to play in. Now they can throw people forward safe in the knowledge we have no pace or strength up front.

Our best option may be to play a 4-5-1 as we did in the first half of the 04/05 season with DCL playing the Marcus Bent lone striker role and the others working their socks off to nullify the opposition and grab 1-0 wins. Playing to our defensive strengths will not make us popular with the media or with the TV audiences but we won't care if Ronald's Robots take us into the top six or even better win a trophy. A few uninspired wins will do nicely.

David Booth
19 Posted 01/09/2017 at 22:33:40
Jamie (9): perspective in a nutshell!

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 01/09/2017 at 23:05:33
I have been disappointed with Everton's performances since the start of the season, except for the first half against Split. Yes, we will miss Lukaku's goal but, to be perfectly honest, I would take Pickford, Keane and Klaassen for the price of Lukaku, I think we have got a great deal there.

I also think we should have done more to get another striker in but I do not know how many No 9s they have tried to sign, we certainly need a big strong player up front.

Peter Dunne
21 Posted 02/09/2017 at 06:25:29
I write this with very mixed feelings over the transfer deals we achieved and what we failed to achieve. On a scale of 1 to 10, it would have to be around a 7.

Some great early deals, players being sought by the major clubs now playing for us. Great potential for the future... but I can't help but feel that the squad is not right.

If we cannot break a team down through passing, we do not have a real option of our big striker holding the ball and allowing the play to build that way.

It was a bit like Man City when Dzeko went – they only had small forwards and lost out on the title. I do not feel we are stronger; we are just going to tread water this season and I feel Barkley has sucker punched us!

Philip Ashton
23 Posted 02/09/2017 at 13:41:50
Desperation? Dear me...

Get a grip, lad.

Alan McGuffog
24 Posted 03/09/2017 at 09:03:50
I agree with you, Peter. The thing is, we have been treading water since 1989 or thereabouts.
Clive Rogers
25 Posted 03/09/2017 at 15:55:03
Joe (#5), "Rooney is out of gas after 60 mins". Should have told Laura Simpson that before she picked him up!!!
Gary Edwards
26 Posted 04/09/2017 at 11:49:19
Peter & Alan, I couldn't agree more.

I also think that it's right of the fans to question Steve Walsh's competence as surely he must be responsible for delivering on the strategy, and probably principal in developing it.

Koeman seemingly wants to play 3 a at the back, I don't know why but we simply don't have the personnel to do that unless Schneiderlin drops into the '3' a la Eric Dier at Spurs, even then I would question if we have the quality at wing back to play the '3' and I also question Williams's and Jagielka's ability to play in a '3' frankly they can't.

We need a striker. Calvert-Lewin impressed mightily against Man City and must be played in the No 9 role with others feeding off him. However it's not fair to expect him to carry that burden on his own but who else?

Koeman needs to bite the bullet and bring Niasse back into the fold. He fared reasonably well at Hull and, if nothing else, drags the game deeper into the opponents' half. Regardless what the TV pundits spout, Rooney is not capable of playing a No 9 – he's not strong enough nor does he possess the required speed.

I agree with the OP, the strategy was either flawed or Walsh, Kenwright (?), Moshiri, or A N Other failed to deliver on it and it's difficult to see progress when you can't see where the goals will come from.

David Ellis
27 Posted 04/09/2017 at 12:30:16
Goals are scored by the team – they are rarely magically created by a striker.

We are short in the striking department. Maybe we'll get someone desperate for first-team football in a World Cup year.

In the meantime, our best ever finish in the Premier League (4th) was with Marcus Bent upfront. We just need to adapt to the squad we have.

James Marshall
28 Posted 04/09/2017 at 12:55:19
I think we'll be okay – yes, we could do with a striker, but we have Calvert-Lewin, Rooney and Sandro who all know where the goal is and can all play up top.

Note: the goal is at the end, lads.

James Marshall
29 Posted 04/09/2017 at 13:03:35
Oh yeah, and let's not forget Niasse has a shirt number and presumably a locker this season!
Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 04/09/2017 at 13:13:02
The depression has set in with me. We did hit some targets with players still in their early to mid twenties, but what if the big boys come calling in a year or two? They will surely be off to bigger things.

It is all such a gamble, but we have failed to land the most important target – the replacement to Rom.

If we therefore fail to improve on 7th place the sharks will come circling for the likes of Keane and Pickford. There has been a cock-up and the Plan B must have been cocked-up too.

I wonder if Barkley's aborted transfer (and injury) put the money side in some jeopardy, resulting in this unholy mess?

Tony Marsh
31 Posted 04/09/2017 at 14:14:08
Clueless ineptitude right across the board this year. I am still scratching my head on why Lukaku was allowed to leave so quickly and so cheaply. We didn't even haggle. Man Utd came in one day, the next day Lukaku was gone. Liverpool and Arsenal both knocked back bids for their star men last month; we just rolled over and let Man Utd pull our slacks down again. £100 million plus we should've stuck out for on Romelu with the Rooney deal nothing to do with it. Either United accept or we keep our guy – it was that simple.

Truth is, I think Kenwright is taking the piss out of us again. I doubt Moshiri is going to make any difference financially and I am certain Bramley-Moore will not happen unless the City of Liverpool is awarded the Commonwealth Games. If we were doing an new stadium off our own backs why haven't we started it yet.?

While fans are up in arms about Rooney out on the piss shagging birds, thing like the Barkley and Lukaku fiascoes are over looked. The lack of cement being poured at the so-called new stadium site isn't mentioned. We the fans get shafted every season one way or the other and I think the new stadium is about to be the next chapter.

Ah well... Moshiri will pull us out the shite won't he? We can always put a new tier on the Park end if all else fails!!! The club is rotten to the core it's just some of us can't see it.

Jack Convery
32 Posted 04/09/2017 at 20:06:29
We should be run by Paul Daniels – at least he's an expert with smoke and mirrors... or he was.
Jack Convery
33 Posted 04/09/2017 at 20:09:24
Do we have scouts watching the Slovaks? They are taking the piss at Wembley so far.
David Barks
34 Posted 04/09/2017 at 20:17:34
Tony,

And I predict we'll see some more player departures after the club were shocked to miss out on the Barkley and Niasse transfers.

It seems like we were all ready to have the usual last minute failed deals reports come out. It would have left us with basically zero net spend in this window that has been filled with misleading stories about our big new spending. But now that they've missed out on that money, I think it's going to be interesting to see how they react.

And yes, selling Lukaku for that amount with zero negotiation was insanity.

Paul Ward
36 Posted 05/09/2017 at 08:21:46
Tony Marsh @31,

You are spot on, another "Bullshit Bill Production".

Just when we think Moshiri is the governor, out comes the fucking devil puppeteer, Bill himself. As many fans have said in the past, the club will never prosper until he is gone forever.

Tony Everan
37 Posted 05/09/2017 at 10:07:00
If we don't score more than the 62 from last season and don't finish higher than 7th, it would be fair to say we have regressed. With the current striking options and the increased demands upon them, we will fall short.

The failure to reinforce will come into sharp focus, and signing a striker will be done first thing in January. I just hope Mr Walsh can land the right man.

Chris Stone
38 Posted 06/09/2017 at 09:49:59
Problem is, come January, we may be too far off the pace and maybe out of Europe. Hopefully not, especially with the latter, but I think we definitely needed another striker.

What if Sandro & Calvert-Lewin are both injured? Then it's most likely Rooney up front and the opposition play an extremely high-line against us...

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