The sale of AJ is a strange one but he was increasingly out of touch with the new style of Everton?s play with Pienaar and Yakubu being missing pieces of the jigsaw to play in an attack with Cahill, Osman and Arteta. AJ was perfect for when we were a defensive team but now the nature of our game (especially at home) is to get forward in numbers with short range and long range passing in the final third at a high tempo. Johnson didn?t fit into that aesthetic, wasn?t a reliable regular and became a nice alternative to bring on when you were defending a one goal lead. The guy was a journeyman striker before he came to the Blues so another move doesn?t amaze me. I liked his work rate but if he has chosen to go from the brink of Champions League Football to a team who nearly got relegated last term then I think that tells you he might?ve given up all hope of ever being in the England set up and wants regular first team football and a settled family life. You cannot criticize him for that and it gives Everton a few more quid to use.
So to this season. Well some of the fans appear to have forgotten how we went into previous campaigns. In 2002/03 we had a squad of inter changeable players lacking top class ability and DM could only top up the ageing squad with Yobo. They finished seventh and were higher than that for most of the season. It wasn?t just Rooney who made the difference (and some people have the mis-perception he scored a lot more than he actually did). It was DM?s ability to get the most from a mostly mediocre set of players who probably had their best ever season that year (Steve Watson, the Rad and Pembridge). The following year proved to be the only real back up to current trend of gloom when last minute dealing (which was hardly inspiring nor expensive) meant we had a squad which finished 17th. Then came the most disheartening summer I can recall for many years: 2004 where we sold Rooney at the eleventh hour in the transfer window and bolstered the squad with Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill. We were relegation favourites and finished fourth having sold another top player on the way in Tommy Gravesen. Nobody could have predicted that! The following summer was a simple case of Moyes not being supported by BK so that he went out mostly looking for bargains so our European dream became a nightmare and we finished a very limp eleventh.
For the last two seasons there has been panic (especially in the lead up to last season) but we nearly always seem to confound the critics and beat the rest. I?m sick of being told by Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle fans each Summer that we?ll not finish in the top 8. They seem to become very quiet by the Winter. I am sure they will again this Winter. Everyone keeps piping on about our rivals strengthening. I?m not sure they?ve strengthened, many have just bought whoever the flavour of the month is. Spurs have bought well but they have changed the team so much that I do not accept them being wildly superior to us. Keane has left as has Defoe (both of whom were regular contributors in the goal stakes in a side that struggles for a decent goal spread across the whole squad unlike us). Pompey look strong but their centre backs are creaking. Even the esteemed Villa?s signings are nothing to be scared of. City look well set but their lack of structural stability makes me dubious.
So that would, in my mind, leave me thinking if we strengthen by five players then we can end up in fifth or fourth and win the UEFA perhaps. I?ll get laughed at for this but let?s remember a few things. Cahill was missing for a lot of last season. He bagged ten when he was playing. If he?s fit for most of the season we?re looking at maybe fifteen goals and he tends to score key goals as well so maybe we?ll be able to nick some points off the bigger sides. Arteta was muted all season but still ran the show at points. I full expect him to be pulling the strings so we can turn Goodison into a fortress. Pienaar will have a full run without the ANC and I expect more goals from him. I would also expect Jagielka to really develop this time out. I think we?ll see less hoofball and some heroics in the defensive and final third. The nature of the game means one or two players will be hampered by injury throughout but surely Messrs Baines and Vaughan won?t be so unlucky and we might see the best from the pair (which might result in that long awaited glut of goals from the latter).
The signings I am about to mention I feel are likely to come in the next few days as the sources are reliable in the press and not just from ?NOW? or ?SSN?. If Mountinho joined them it would be great but I think that one is unlikely. So add to the squad M?Bia who hopefully will be a dynamic Carsley and mean all our midfield are mobile from box to box. Then there?s Wagner Love who seems a strange one as he?s an all round goalscorer who might find himself second fiddle to Yakubu. But what a second fiddle he might be. And this leads me to Alan Smith.
Smith fits DM?s profile as he?s a hard working player who is technically sound and can play in a variety of roles. Everyone bemoans DM?s penchant for utility players but why have three players all specialising in one position, one of whom never gets a game over a season? Surely it?s more frugal and better for a tight squad to have this flexibility. It will worry me if Smith gets played up front regularly when Cahill and Yakubu are fit but I expect him to be in the centre. He?s had experience at both ends of the Premiership and at the top in Europe. It worries me a little that he?s coming to Everton after turning us down twice. The first time was acceptable but last time was plain stupid. But at this knock down price I am intrigued and hopeful.
So maybe with a youth player making the senior team regularly (I suspect it might be Gosling) and Manny Fernandes coming on board for a third flight, we should simply accept that we will not start the season on fire but our defence should ensure we?re in a decent enough position come October to go on a run when the attackers get going. Maybe in November we?ll all be wondering what all the fuss was about. Just like in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
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1 Posted 11/08/2008 at 01:50:05
If the signings that you refer to come to fruition (especially with the addition of Johnson or Moutinho) I?ll be one happy camper .... a Brazilian like Wagner working with The Yak, oh my........too much excitement.....I can?t wait for the first game!
As to other teams....here?s what I think:
Villa....about the same, weaker if they sell Barry.
Man City....stronger but stuff going on behind the scenes may hinder them, plus the new manager needs time.
Newcastle....no real change.
Portsmouth...stronger (still suspect in defense aside from the goalie).
West Ham...stronger than last season due to the massive injuries they had.
Spurs....potentially our rivals for the top 4 (or the 5th spot). I think losing Keane actually hurts them even with all their signings but if they gel quickly as a team (their pre-season games are ominous) we could be in trouble there.
I still don?t understand why it?s taken so long to get anybody (and as we speak we still don?t have one!) but it looks like there?ll be signings, good ones, soon and I really do trust Moyes to get the best out of them.
As to Cahill, Arteta and Baines........one "could" almost see these three as new signings.........I?m not being flippant when I say that......as Andrew said...all three were injured for most of last season...I actually thought Arteta was rubbish on the occasions I saw him....Baines is still really an unknown and we really do rely so much on Timmy..........so if they can stay fit and healthy that bodes well for the entire team.
Three points next Saturday!! COYB!!!
2 Posted 11/08/2008 at 02:45:15
The names that I was most excited about were M?Bia and Moutinho...seems like we may well get the former after the Olympics.Alan Smith seems to be on his way to Goodison too and although im not a big fan of his attitude, I think that Moyes can make him a worthwhile buy. If reports are true,Vagner Love is coming on loan now this year with view for a permanent deal next year.
I agree that if we can have Tim Cahill fit for a large part of the season, a renewed Arteta pulling the strings in midfield with a few of the youngsters like Gosling, Rodwell, Baxter making first team appearances then we should do ok this year. After seeing the returns from the UEFA cup last year its not as exciting to me and the league must take first preference..although id love to win either the FA/Carling Cup this year.
Either way, the season is nearly upon us and I hope and pray that we can get these necessary buys in time and get Moyes roped in for a long-term deal so we can continue to progress steadily upwards like we have been doing in the past few years..COYB
3 Posted 11/08/2008 at 03:08:00
4 Posted 11/08/2008 at 03:37:49
5 Posted 11/08/2008 at 03:36:44
6 Posted 11/08/2008 at 04:51:47
7 Posted 11/08/2008 at 05:09:30
8 Posted 11/08/2008 at 05:08:26
Fast forward today, almost every of our "senior" squad will easily make it into the first team of 80% of the Premier League teams and it would fair to say some (i.e. Cahill, Arteta, Lescott) can make it to the first team of the so called "Big Four" as well.
So we have a wonderful situation, a "core group" that is of high quality and we supplement them with young players who have very good potential. I hope we do not take a step back and get "squad players" to beef up the team simply for the sake of feeling "secure that we have the numbers".
Will Rodwell be any worse than Bosnar? Or perhaps Gosling be any worse than Anderson? Moyes is correct, every player we sign must be someone who can add to the squad and improve it.
Can you imagine(and I think it possible if he wants to do it) that Moyes decides to bring back Kilbane, McFadden, Bosnar, Li Tie, Anderson, Pistone and Naysmith? Maybe Marcus Bent even. We will have a well stocked up squad but will the fans be any more happy?
Life has to go on as an Evertonian, let’s choose a happier existence.
9 Posted 11/08/2008 at 07:45:54
10 Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:28:02
Are you Doddy ? Are You Doddy ?
Are you Doddy in Disguise ?
Are You Doddy in Dis - guise ?
( Sorry Andy, just finding my singing voice for the new new season but you do sound like one very familiar ’Calm downer’ )
Don’t want to spill any of your ’half full’ glasses but I think its hilarious you acuse those moaning about our current parlous state as having ’ short term memory’ loss.
Surely its you lot that have quickly forgotten :
1/ How are paper thin suad tailed off badly at the end of last season as we ran out of steam & options in midfield ( before we lost 7 more players including our linchpin !!! )
2/ Lescott having to play up front after we were left short by selling ’jimmymac’.
Perhaps this season we’ll play Baines up front doing a
’ Midget gem’ TC impression.
We’ll certainly need to do something now we’ve sold AJ as well.
11 Posted 11/08/2008 at 10:49:17
12 Posted 11/08/2008 at 12:29:18
Would you be happier if he had given up on Moutinho and bought Darren Fletcher instead?
Give the man until the end of the transfer window before you criticise. He has set his stall out and is sticking to it. If he can pull in 2 out of M’Bia, Love and Moutinho then this will have been a successful summer as they were amongst his earliest, supposed, targets wich suggests that he has been working on them all summer. Don’t forget they are all at clubs who don’t want to sell.
13 Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:02:00
We have lost Johnson, McFadden, Ferrnandes, Gravesen, Stubbs, Wessels and most of all Carsley from a squad that limped into 5th last season.
We need 4 or 5 signings not just 2 or 3.
I dread to think what will happen if Howard gets injured.
I also worry that throwing the young lads into a weakened team will destroy their confidence.
Money or no money questions have to be asked why it has taken us months to get to this situation when it was known about before the end of last season.
Spurs have signed Modric,Bentley,Dos Santos and 5 other players with the minimum of fuss.Happy Harry has gone out and bought new players and we end up reducing our squad by 7 players.
14 Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:38:10
I might just go into hiding until 1st September as I can’t take much mroe of all this worrying.
15 Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:58:03
16 Posted 11/08/2008 at 13:52:40
Now, it is true that Everton are a shambles off the pitch. An utter fucking disgrace actually, but Kirkby, merchandising and PR are not really going to matter when the team steps onto the pitch.
If you look at who has left and who the replacements are or are likely to be you can say that we have a squad stronger in QUALITY if not quantity than 12 months ago:
Carsley ( 34 and a very influential player, but had to go sometime sue to his age ) replaced by M’Bia who is 22 and can replace Super Lee and add a bit too.
McFadden ( the most infuriating Everton player since Beagrie who didn’t play that often and did better fr Scotland than Everton ) replaced by Alan Smith. Smith may have a point to prove and with 19 caps and lots of big match experience can be more use than Jimmy Mac.
Wessels ( hardly needed, but let in a howler against Oldham and will not be missed ) replaced by ??. We’ll probably get a Kasey Kellar / Anti Niemi type in on loan.
Stubbs ( a great leader, but too slow and had run out of time ) replaced by Gosling and Rodwell who both show plenty of promise and a decent turn of pace. You could also argue that Jagielka is his replacement.
Johnson ( a player I liked, but not a goalscorer and did not seem to partner anybody well apart from James Vaughan ) replaced by Vagner Love who has 20 Brazil caps and a good scoring record as well as being 3 years younger.
Gravesen ( a complete disappointment and hardly played at all ) or Fernandes ( never actually our player and another one who did little to impress last time ) replaced by Moutinho or similar ( Cana perhaps ). Should this happen we have clearly gained a lot!
Additionally Arteta was affected by an injury from November onwards last season, Cahill missed two big chunks, Vaughan will hopefully be fitter whilst Baines must surely figure more.
You can also add in that, compared to 12 months ago when we had just signed Yak, Jags and Pienaar and did not know if they would succeed, it’s now shown that they did.
No ACN this season either.
Only downsides are Hibbo being injured ( although virtually everybody on here slagged him last season) and Big Vic missing 1 or 2 games through being at The Olympics ( although again he is now an International player which he wasn’t 12 months ago ) and Neville signing a 4 year deal (!! :) ).
Of course, the timing has been crap, but again it’s the off the pitch influence at work there. At least Fatboy has gone there though and DK has
been called in.
David Moyes signing his contract, no new injuries, 9 points and the signings we need by Aug 31. It’s not so unlikely and if it all happens we’ll be in good shape come Sept 1 on the pitch anyway.
17 Posted 11/08/2008 at 16:10:26
As I said, best laugh I’ve had for a while.
18 Posted 11/08/2008 at 16:12:02
Carsley should never have gone but that is history now.
A fit Cahill is like a new signing IMO.
19 Posted 12/08/2008 at 00:38:16
Hibbo, VDM and now Pienaar are long term injuries, Cahill will not be match fit until September (official EFC quote). At present we have 4 Africans who will miss games during September. That leaves... wait for it ? Howard, Neville, Baines, Valente, Arteta, Jags, Lescott, Osman, Vaughan if he is not suspended. The rest of the squad is made up of our youngsters. Untried at the top level...
Out of this group above, Baines and Arteta are lately back from long-term injuries so it's not certain that they will last full games in the Premier League week after week. I am an EFC fan for over 50 years and this is the most parlous state I have seen us in at the beginning of a long and hard season.
These are the absolute facts and not the empty bravado I've read above. We need not one or two players we need replacements of all those we have lost... now the other small squad teams like Villa have already bought 4 new players and still held on to Barry so far... this season is supposed to see 7 subs allowed...???