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Building the Squad

By Glen Strachan :  08/01/2008 :  Comments (19) :
The mostly un-loved January Transfer Window is currently being discussed on these pages. Do we need to buy? More to the point who /what position should be added to the curret squad?

Maybe we should look at things a tad differently and look towards May 2008. Who will be leaving Goodison then? End of current contracts will likely see the end of Wessels , Stubbs (maybe to an EFC coaching roll ?) , Valente, Boyle, Vidarsson, Anderson on free transfers.

If a settlement can be reached over outstanding wages for the last year of his contract Van dr Meyde looks destined to join these others at the front door and surely Gravese will be returned to Celtic on completing his ill-fated loan spell.

Turner looks highly unlikely to ever be a first team keeper and will probably go back to Sheffield Wed where he did well a year ago. That would leave us with a squad of 19 players ?and that includes the presently 'on loan' Pienaar and Lee Carsley who will be out of contact but is surely likely to be offered a new deal.

The joker in that pack will then be James McFadden who is understood to be reluctant to extend his Everton deal that extends to May 2009. Will he stay or will he go? Ask Joe Strummer or even Davie Moyes.

Break that 19 man squad down and it comes out at:

  • 2 keepers (one very young and inexperienced)
  • 6 defenders
  • 5 midfielders
  • 6 strikers .
If we take the 9 'dead men walking' out of the current lot (and after the Oldham farce who wouldn't?) the squad does look a bit bare although there is undoubted quality there in a measure that we have not seen around Goodison since the mid-eighties and our glory days.

Injury free, I believe that squad is good enough to keep us in the top six or seven but we would be blind not to recognise how very far we stand behind the current squads at Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea. Now... can we change that?

Reader Comments

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David Moore
1   Posted 09/01/2008 at 09:45:18

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If we had that squad i would at least be looking for 2 new midfielders and 1 defender
Peter Laing
2   Posted 09/01/2008 at 10:19:56

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Good analysis Glen, I would add that we definetely need to acquire a goalkeeper as cover / competition for Howard as Wessels is clearly not up to the job. Its been well documented that David Moyes has had both time and money to strenghten the squad during his tenure, although pain stakingly slow and arduous this has been tempered by stability and undoubted improvement. The jigsaw has slowly been assembled and the crucial piece missing from the picture would appear to be that of an all action and combative Midfield player. It is essential that this must be the next big signing and I’m sure Moyes has his target’s, many names have so far been bandied around but someone who can make us tick, keep posession and drive on would be desirable and hopefully take us to the next level. COYB - FTRS
Paul Lenehan
3   Posted 09/01/2008 at 10:35:58

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Diarra and Fernandes and I really believe we could have a proper go at 4th place.
Peebs Noble
4   Posted 09/01/2008 at 10:50:21

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Colin Moore
5   Posted 09/01/2008 at 11:12:17

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All I hope is that Moyes moves in good time to bring in some quality.Haggling over a few paltry thousands has cost him good players in the past and left him with having to sign the last minute dross such as VdM and Gravesen.
I suppose he is waiting for Manny to get out of nick before sealing another loan but what will the registration boys at Soho make of it?
Peter Jones
6   Posted 09/01/2008 at 12:16:32

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You state "Haggling over a few paltry thousands has cost him good players in the past". Are you able to elaborate with any qualifcation? Is this a perception?
I await your response with interest
Jon Livesey
7   Posted 09/01/2008 at 12:04:55

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Ideally, I think every Premier League squad needs three keepers. One should be the obvious first choice (in our case Howard), one to act as cover should have some relevant experience and the other should be a young keeper with potential. Like you say there is a chance that Moyes will let Turner go and if he does, I think there is a chance Wessels will get another year as cover. It depends how much Moyes rates Turner and how ready he thinks Ruddy is to move up to first team cover.

We will need 4 centre halves, all of whom are good enough to play in the Premier League and in Europe (hopefully we’ll be there again). We will have the definite three in Yobo, Lescott and Jagielka and if Stubbs does move on, we will have to buy another. We have been heavily linked with Simek and Beevers from Sheffield Wednesday, but it will be interesting to see whether Moyes thinks Rodwell is ready next year to make the step up. I suspect he will wait another year for that though.

If we assume Boyle will be leaving, that will leave us with only one recognised left back in Baines who also appears to be injury prone, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Valente gets a year extension.

Midfield is the area in which we need to strengthen the most. I agree that Gravesen, Anderson and Van Der Meyde will all leave, but there may be a chance Vidarsson gets a year extension. It will depend on how much Moyes thinks his development has been restricted by his adolescent physique and will also depend on how his imminent loan spell at Preston goes. He is only 19. Nevertheless, we need to sign three or four midfield players. Will Moyes also bring Kissock through?

6 strikers is arguably too many. There is no way you can keep all of them happy, no matter how good the morale is in the squad. Anichebe and Vaughan will no doubt think they are ready for regular spots now and could grow tired of warming the bench for another season. I would take 3.5 million for McFadden, which I think we could get, send Lukas out on loan again and that would leave us with four recognised strikers. I have a feeling Moyes will be in the market for another though.

I think this summer, Moyes will have to be quite active in the transfer market, buying and selling in order to restore an element of balance to the squad.

Scott McKinney
8   Posted 09/01/2008 at 13:48:22

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I like the idea of building with an eye on the future. One thing I don’t understand is why Johann Vogel isn’t already in. He is available on free, experienced, and could be good cover or even competition for Carsley plus he is 3 years younger. The only thing I can figure is that Moyes has had second thought or maybe they have had him in on the sly and weren’t impressed.

As for Anderson de Silva going away on free. It seems he won’t be getting a game here. It also seems that Barnsley was interested in buying. Why not sell now?

Yes, building for the future is a the way to really build long-term success. But I am frustrated how poorly we built the current squad to cope with the ANC and a couple of injuries. Hell, against Oldham we almost had to play a 1-5-0-5 we had so few midfielders available or trusty enough in the eyes of DM. The ANC has been on the calendar and injuries and suspensions happen. Poor planning. That or an abject lack of trust and development in the youngsters.
Scott McKinney
9   Posted 09/01/2008 at 13:58:56

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And agreed with the selling of McFadden. His value could go higher but it it won’t at EFC when he is arguably the 5th best striker. Sell, sell, sell. His value is at an EFC peak not because of his play here but because of his Scotland play. Sell, sell, sell.
Craig Ashford
10   Posted 09/01/2008 at 14:06:14

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Disagree with selling McFadden, but agree with the fact we need to bolster in a few areas A new midfeilder or two, same with defence Stubbys a true blue but getting on, as is the same Hibbert and baines is up and down. Cant (normally) fault Jags and Lescott but i think a new Neville Southall wouldnt go a miss either!! Let Howard be his no. 2 and fight for a position he currently walks into!
Jay Harris
11   Posted 09/01/2008 at 14:23:21

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Midfield has to be a major priority then watch the defence become better as they?re not under so much pressure.
I would love to get Fernandes,Arshavin,Diarra and give the mighty midgets a break
Jon Livesey
12   Posted 09/01/2008 at 14:24:22

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I completely disagree with your views on Howard. Yes he does currently walk into his position of first choice goalkeeper, but that is because he is by far the best one we have. I don’t think the fact that he walks into it has had any negative effect on his performances. He has never looked complacent and he strikes me as being very professional. Howard is a very good goalkeeper and has been consistently brilliant since he signed for us. He is athletic and commands his area and defence well. In fact, I can’t think of many better in the Premier League. Cech, Van der Saar, Friedel perhaps?
Glen Strachan
13   Posted 09/01/2008 at 16:08:27

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Hey Craig

A new Neville Southall ??????????

The big man was one of a kind and was probably the best keeper I have ever seen.

What about a new Pele and Maradona while you are making up that list of players for DM to seek?
Brian Finnigan
14   Posted 09/01/2008 at 19:06:26

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I am surprised that anyone would consider offering a coaching role to Stubbs. He is among the worst in the Club for ballooning the ball forward (resulting in possession being given away most times) and technical coaching roles should be offered only to those who will improve the quality of football that Everton play. Could you seriously imagine Wenger considering such folly?
Jon Livesey
15   Posted 09/01/2008 at 19:39:09

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I agree that Stubbs does tend to think he is Franz Beckenbauer sometimes and attempt a 60 yard, cross-field pass, but there is nothing to prove that good players always make good managers or the other way around for that matter. Wenger, Mourinho, Ferguson, Hodgson, Moyes are all successful managers, but none were great players. Brian Robson, Keegan, Souness were all good players, but are all poor managers in my opinion. I had the displeasure of seeing Moyes play at least 50 times for Preston and he was not a good player at all. His distribution was terrible, but he now manages a side that play some good football at times.
Glen Strachan
16   Posted 09/01/2008 at 23:37:27

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Jon is dead right , David Moyes was always the big un-cultured defender who favoured Row Z .

Hope that explains some of his coaching decisions and the fact the he invited Stubbs to take the reserve side recently.

Never confuse coaching with playing style or the lack of it.

Jock Stein was a very ?basic defensive player? in the old centre half role but he was also as astute a football coaching thinker as ever graced this earth.
Craig Ashford
17   Posted 10/01/2008 at 08:31:52

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Jon, i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one then, i personally dont think he commands his area that well at all, (e.g The last minute howler at Stamford Bridge with the lack of communication with Lesscott) Dont get me wrong when we first signed him i was not happy at all but he has proven me wrong on many occasions and i hope he continues to do so. I’m not calling for a publing hanging of the guy just saying a little competition would tighten up his game which can only possitively affect his game and the progress of EFC.

Glen, My comment about Big Nev was ment as light hearted joke, i know the Legend that is Big Nev will never in my life-time be bettered
John Taylor
18   Posted 11/01/2008 at 03:21:49

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Got to agree with jay harris on this 1 fernandes, diarra & arshavin. all young talented & hungry for success
Kevin Tonks
19   Posted 11/01/2008 at 21:34:27

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This would be a great team:Howard
Neville Yobo Lescott Baines
Arteta Fernandes Peanut

Heres to a much needed win against city!!!

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