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Yakubu: Saha & Co Will Help Bring Silverware

By Thomas Rooney :  08/09/2008 :  Comments (22) :
Everton striker Yakubu is confident that the new recruits David Moyes brought to the club during the latter parts of August will improve the club's chances of winning a trophy this season. Louis Saha, Marouane Felliani, Lars Jacobsen, Segundo Castillo and Carlo Nash were all brought to Goodison Park before the transfer window was slammed shut last week.

Everton have made a less than convincing start to the campaign with just one win from the opening three games leaving them in 17th position. The team certainly needed a fresh crop of players and Yakubu has welcomed the boost to the squad by saying it will make them "stronger" in their quest for silverware. This type of quote, I suppose, should always be taken with a pinch of salt. I mean, Yakubu is hardly going to say the new players won't strengthen the squad when asked is he?

What Yakubu's comments do is raise a topic for discussion: How will the new players impact Everton's season? Let's go through each new signing and attempt to predict how they will settle into life at Everton and how they will fair in David Moyes's team. It will be pure speculation and opinion, but that's what football talk is all about!

First up, it's Ecuadorian midfielder Segundo Castillo who has joined on a season-long loan from Red Star Belgrade. At this stage, it is difficult to judge how he will adapt to his new surroundings of England and the Premier League. He is traditionally a defensive midfielder, but during his time at Red Star Belgrade he proved he can get forward and score goals. Two things spring to mind about him though ? 1) Why are Belgrade allowing him to leave on loan? and 2) Why did Blackburn decide against signing him after the player had a trail with them?

It's a case of wait and see with this one I think.

Next up it is Danish full-back Lars Jacobsen. He seems like someone who should fit in quite comfortably. He has played in Europe all of his career and, like most Scandinavian players, should suit the Premier League. It is likely he will deputise for the injured Tony Hibbert in the coming weeks at right back.

Then there is the £15m transfer of Marouane Fellaini from Standard Liege. This has to be the most interesting deal of Everton's summer. The 20-year-old has already played 10 times for Belgium and is considered by some to be one of the most exciting prospects in European football. Obviously this is a big build up for Fellaini and I hope the Everton fans give him time to settle in. For a man of his age to move to a new country, it can be a lot to take in. Given time though, there is no doubt he can be a big success story.

Louis Saha is another player brought to Goodison Park by David Moyes this summer. Should he get himself fit, there is no doubt he can lead the line sufficiently. If he is anything like he was for Fulham a few years ago, I would put a lot of my football betting money on him pushing Yakubu as the top scorer at the club and this can only be a positive thing. Everton have been relying too much on the Yak and this has to change. Hopefully Saha can be the man to take some of the weight off his shoulders.

Finally, there was the signing of Carlo Nash. Not exactly a "crowd pleaser", but the 34-year-old signs to provide cover for Tim Howard. He is a huge Everton fan and is presumably delighted at the prospect of playing for The Toffees. I just hope he is ready to step into Howard's shoes when needed.

Overall, I am pleased with the business done by Moyes. These are a group of talented players. However, it is all a bit if and but.... There are doubts over how Castillo and Fellaini will settle into their new country, over whether Jacobsen can perform up to Hibbert's standards, and over whether Saha can recapture the form from his Fulham days.

With regards to Everton's fortunes this season, I don't think any football odds will be altered on the back of these signings. However, if Saha starts scoring goals and Fellaini turns out to be good value for money, Everton may just get the trophy that Yakubu is so desperate for...

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Reader Comments

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Peter Bradshaw
1   Posted 09/09/2008 at 05:55:48

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Reasonable post without saying or commiting to anything, have you ever spoken for the Labour party?

One comment that jumped at me was Castillo not being taken up by Blackburn, the fact is that they couldn't agree terms with them, everything else was rubber stamped. And to the second part of that point Everton and Red Star have agreed a price if they wish to continue the deal.

Jacobsen is a reasonable deal with no real drawbacks, if he doesn't measure up we just let him go at the end of the term, but I believe he will push Hibbert for the place anyway, in fact I think I could push Hibbert for his place.

Carlo Nash, I think he was signed for two years so the young guys can go out on loan to see whether they can cut it. Turner went to Sheffield and came back a better player until we played Man Utd, cue the easy catch and I will drop that on Fletcher's toe, therefore confidence gone.
Finally MF, looks so composed on the ball and comfortable in the position, this guys I believe will be a better signing than Moutinho.

Looking through all the deals that went through over the period except the silly arse money ones, who else would you have at Everton? There isn't that many that we could afford... maybe SWP. Moyes I believe has made some shrewd signings here and for my sake I hope they come off for him.

But the main question still is Moyes: why hasn't he signed? is he going to Newcastle, West Ham...??? Let's face it, they are run badly but they are both looking to sell, both are more sellable than Everton, and would Davie like to be in Mark Hughes position...??? Too right he would!!!

Andy Herb
2   Posted 09/09/2008 at 06:56:20

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It’s up to the players now that the transfer window is closed but I’m not expecting anything special this season.

I don’t know how you can say your pleased overall. I think we all went into pre-season on a high and this summer has been one big frustrating anti-climax. I don’t recall ever being as low as an Evertonian when we were beaten by Blackburn on the opening day of the season.

Where we all wrong to expect us to progress and push on! Certainly the soundbites by Blue Bill didn’t help with his infamous watch this space line. Well we did watch this space and were left feeling empty.

I think Moysey did his best in the end with the legion of loans. I think the signing of Fellaini was almost out of desperation and without it the fans would have been in uproar.

I don’t want to all negative as I think the players brought in will bring value to an already strong group of players and if Saha gets fit and pushes The Yak for leading scorer we could well be pushing for a place in Europe again. I just wish we could have got after the shite from across the park this year as we were in the best position in a long time to break the top four.
Trevor Lynes
3   Posted 09/09/2008 at 07:13:52

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The only player we signed that was wanted by other clubs was Fellaini so that is the downside.I am however, like everyone, optimistic that Saha will become fully fit and that Castillo solves the midfield position..these are of course the pro’ the cons...Gardner has come and gone staying unfit throughout his stay and he was a loan player..all the players except for Fellaini are at least doubtful of either getting fit or filling the gaps..we did not sign a real big name...Moutinho for instance..Im reserving judgement and just am staying optimistic with reservations..dont be stocking up on the champagne just yet.
Richard Parker
4   Posted 09/09/2008 at 08:31:31

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On paper I think we have a stronger squad than lasat season, with the only exception being up-front. The loss of AJ and Faddy, with only an unfit Saha brought in.

With the caveat that the new players settle, then Castillo should be decent enough to give an option off the bench at least. Fellaini should be good, although we may need to wait until next season to see the best of him.

Funnily enough, for this season the real key signing, and this statement is a big ’could’, full of ifs and buts, COULD be Saha.

The midfield is undoubtedly stronger on paper than last season, especially if Cahill can get fit soon and stay that way. All we’ve really lost is dead-wood from that area, with the possible exception of Manny, who at best had a negligible impact on our season.

Again, I would say steady progress made again on the squad front by Moyes, with the real down-side being the fact that we appear to be in a sell-to-buy situation now. And before I get attacked on all sides, I am writing this as objectively as possible, without thinking about the fact that for the sake of £20M or so, we’ve probably just thrown away the only opportunity we’re going to get for a very long time to get into the top 4 again.
Ciarán McGlone
5   Posted 09/09/2008 at 08:58:41

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I hope to god that these new boys keep Neville and Jags away from midfield...

I?m not overly impressed with the calibre of signings we made and they certainly weren?t indicative of the ?quality not quantity? cliché which mislead our expectations...

But it?s what we?ve got, so let's just pray that removing the two dummies from midfield has a cumulative effect on our play along with the increase in quality the new players MIGHT bring.

Fingers crossed for Sunday.. oh aye, and let's pray to god that Moyes has the fúckin sense for once to put them straight into the team on Sunday!

Tony Part
6   Posted 09/09/2008 at 09:02:20

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You know there is a familiar quote with people on the mailbags sometimes..Its that Everton only sign players that nobody else wants and that means they are shite..

But let me take you back to 2004, 2005 and 2006... How many people wanted to take a chance on Cahill? No Premier League club wanted to look at him apart from Everton... Joleon Lescott?? Was labelled a very big risk and the fact that only Everton were serious about him had a lot of people saying we should have signed Robert Huth instead... And of course how can we forget Mikel Arteta? Crept in during the January of 2005 expected to make very little impact at Everton because ?no other English club wanted him?.

So you see just because players are not always leading every club's shopping list it doesn't always mean they are totally useless, in fact let's be honest: how reassuring for Man City fans during Robinho?s first interview that he believed he had signed for Chelsea until someone had to timely point out it was Manchester he was in...??? Slip of the tongue maybe but let's not kid oursleves where his heart and head really is...

At least the players Everton have signed will be eager to do well and prove themselves at this level and as someone pointed out I think Fellaini could prove a better hit than Moutinho. Great player with silky skills and world class talent Moutinho is but let's be honest, he would have been another midget gem in our already lightweight midfield and certainly not the type of player to take a midfield battle against a big physical team by the scruff of the neck... He will be a great signing one day if he ever wants to join us but perhaps this summer wasnt the best time after all...

I don't think Everton will win a trophy this season but there has to be the belief amongst the players and no more defeatist attitudes, we are a long way off but, until we do get a backer in, then we have to stay around that top six, even if it is easier said than done...

John Dawson
7   Posted 09/09/2008 at 09:27:27

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Blackburn wanted Castillo but couldnt agree wages.
Sunderland & Wigan plus offers from the continent, according to Saha in his own interview but wanted to choose us.
Fellaini had 37 scouts watch him at 1 match this season with Bayern, Arsenal & Chelsea amongst them.
I heard that AC Milan were in for Nash & Jacobsen... well they did go for Senderos!
Danny Hanlon
8   Posted 09/09/2008 at 10:50:13

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Is Da Yak Havin A Laugh !?!
Nick Dommett
9   Posted 09/09/2008 at 12:30:09

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I'm not that bothered about only Saha coming in for the loss of AJ and McFadden. We?ll probably only play one up front most of time and with Saha (injuries permitting), Vaughan (umm injuries permitting), Cahill (hmmm) and Anichebe we should have enough cover.

For me the main problem is the acute lack of width in the team with only AvdM and Pienaar the only real wingers in the club, I really wanted to see us sign someone out wide to at least give us a different sort of attacking threat. Maybe Baines can do that on the left but a proper out and out winger would have been a real asset.

Anyone from the reserves/ youth team fit the bill?
Ciaran Duff
10   Posted 09/09/2008 at 12:58:48

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Obviously the proof will be in the eating but my gut feeling is that the guys we signed will come good. However, I think that we are still short of numbers given the number of competitions we will be in and also having a few injury prone players.
I am a little disappointed that we didn?t sign a couple of up & coming Championship type players for a modest fee in the hope that they may come good like Cahill or Lescott and also provide cover in the event of injuries.
Andrew Payne
11   Posted 09/09/2008 at 13:00:44

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Well said Tony Part. Couldn’t agree any more with your comments.
Anthony Jaras
12   Posted 09/09/2008 at 13:10:30

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To be honest, I think the Yak is more qualified to make that prediction than we are and I think it proves that the squad is confident in their own ability which can only be a good thing.
Marco Bonfiglio
13   Posted 09/09/2008 at 16:21:51

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I think Tony Part, Andrew & Anthony have nailed this one. Kroldrup & Gardner apart, Moyes’ late late shows have been pretty good. I appreciate that he’s not happy about having this new crew for pre-season and it’ll take time for them to bed in, but until they’re up to speed it’s going to be a case of getting as much out of them in the course of a game and using subs judiciously. (I know, I know ... )
Ciarán McGlone
14   Posted 09/09/2008 at 16:33:12

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Why is this constant referral to ’midgets’ allowed any relevancy to debates regarding our team?

Maradona was a midget. end of fúckin story. The problem with our midfield is not height, its quality!!!!!!!
Steve Edwards
15   Posted 09/09/2008 at 17:16:33

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I think David Moyes played Lescot at left back to get a bit more hight into the team. We looked vunerable at set pieces. I hope now the new midfield signings will address that. I don’t think the Argies played all migets in midfield when Maradona played!
Mike Allison
16   Posted 09/09/2008 at 18:25:33

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Ciaran, your point makes no sense at all. Maradona was exceptional. That something is true of him doesn’t mean it should be applied to everybody. He was also quite one-footed, that doesn’t mean its okay for any player to be one-footed.

He also played alongside some big, tough players. If all his teammates were the same size as him they’d have been easier to beat than they were.

The third point is that Maradona was built like an ox, and so his lack of height didn’t make him lightweight in the way that it does with Arteta, Osman and Pienaar.

All the Maradona example proves is that if you’re as good as Maradona then its okay to be a one-footed midget.
Ged Simpson
17   Posted 09/09/2008 at 18:27:59

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Whatever the reason we do them, I think loan deals are really wise.

There are so many uncertainties with new players and so many examples of clubs with "big" signings who then regret them and lose a few million when they move on.

Even if we had shed loads of money I would hope we still used the loan system.
Ciarán McGlone
18   Posted 10/09/2008 at 08:58:24

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It’s football, not boxing...there is such a thing as a foul.

The fact is that we constantly make excuses for our lack of quality - and height is the latest.
Trevor Lynes
19   Posted 10/09/2008 at 11:30:36

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I totally agree with the midget comments earlier. Maradona was indeed small and so is Tevez. Nearly all our past greats were small or medium sized: Young, Vernon, Collins, Harvey, Kendall, Ball, Kay, Gray, Sheedy etc etc etc. Most of our top scorers also eg; Cottee, Lineker, Vernon, Heath etc etc. We played our best football with small to medium-sized players in the team. We need biggish centre backs and one perhaps in midfield and one up front... BUT the best ball players are usually small or medium-sized.
Dave Griffin
20   Posted 10/09/2008 at 13:14:04

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"There are doubts......over whether Jacobsen can perform up to Hibbert?s standards" - quote from original article.

Please, God, tell me you are having a laugh?
Kevin Victor
21   Posted 12/09/2008 at 08:46:36

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Why don’t we all just sit back and enjoy the season, starting with tomorrow’s match. Our season starts now.
Phil Griffiths
22   Posted 14/09/2008 at 12:26:41

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We played some really good football last year with our minute midfield but on occasions we were completely out muscled, particularly away from home - Anfieid derby being a prime example and Reading and Blackburn at home further examples of big imposing teams who we struggled against - to play good football first you have to have the ball.

Set peices also becomes a problem, defensively and offensively, look how many goals Villa scored last year from set peices.

I thought an imposing central midfielder or two who can also play a bit was a must and hopefully we have now got some!

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