Seasoned observers of Everton's transfer deadline-day dealings will have felt an annoying sense of déjà vu last Thursday when the transfer window closed without the club being able to land much-needed striking and defensive reinforcements before the deadline.
The need to sign a goalscorer or target man capable of if not directly replacing Romelu Lukaku then at least offering the potential of a decent enough return to support the Blues' bids to go far in the Europa League and, perhaps, challenge for the top four was viewed as urgent enough that it was almost unthinkable that the window could close without someone experienced being signed to strengthen the attack.
That Ronald Koeman jetted off to Portugal for a break evoked memories of the time 12 years ago that David Moyes spent deadline day on the golf course even though Everton were crying out for another striker with a possible Champions League campaign ahead. But things work very differently at Finch Farm than they did under the Scot.
Steve Walsh's much-vaunted acquisition from Leicester City, coupled with the arrival of Farhad Moshiri and Sacha Rayazantsev have changed the management, recruitment and negotiation structure at Everton to the point where the manager's job is done before it's time to finally close the deals for players.
Given the speed and efficiency with which the club began the transfer window, spending what could end up being £85m by the time pre-season training started, it looked and felt as though there was a clear plan in place that was being impressively executed. Some even dared to imagine Evertonians with their feet up watching the yellow-tied hype safe in the knowledge that our club's business was safely done.
At the very least, with so much money flying out the door this summer before Lukaku's departure had been confirmed, it was hard to imagine Moshiri would allow the summer to finish in such a partially-baked manner.
Long term, the future is bright but it might not be over-stating it to say that the club's failure to bring in a recognised striker has cut any realistic chances of qualifying for the Champions League this season off at the knees.
That is if you believed that Everton could be serious top-four contenders without the injection of some genuine creativity and pace in the side. Based on the evidence of last season, particularly away from home, it was unlikely but improving on seventh place and pushing for the top five was perhaps within reach with a good summer's transfer business behind them.
As the first few games of the season have demonstrated, scoring was always going to be an issue for Everton, just as it was at times last term — even with Lukaku in the team. Just six shots on target over the first three games of the Premier League season — zero against Chelsea last Sunday — tells it's own story and it would seem that, having shattered the club's transfer record to bring in Gylfi Sigurdsson primarily for his service from dead balls and crosses, Koeman could end up having to play a completely different way without a target man up front.
Sigurdsson would, it would seem, have been a terrific signing to marry with a striker in the Olivier Giroud or Fernando Llorente mould — someone with aerial presence and the ability to hold the ball up. No wonder then that the Blues were linked with both players but lost out on the Frenchman to his girlfriend's desire to stay in London (if rumour is to be believed) and the Spaniard once Tottenham and Chelsea entered the equation.
The failure to add that kind of striker isn't the end of the world but Koeman had explicitly spelled out that was what he is after and there was definitely a case for drafting in more Premier League experience than Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sandro Ramirez offer.
Along with Wayne Rooney (assuming he can keep his head amid his latest personal embarrassment), those two players will be charged with the responsibility of putting the ball in the net but there will be a general imperative to spread the goals around enough to keep the Blues in top-four contention between now and January when, presumably, we get to do the whole transfer window dance again.
Drafted into the first team earlier than expected last season, Calvert-Lewin has come of age in these early stages of the 2017-18 campaign but a significant burden will be placed on his young shoulders and those of Ramirez in the coming months.
While not possessing a typical centre-forward's physique, Calvert-Lewin's energy, running, and hold-up play so far will have convinced his manager that he can be an important component of the side this season, even if the Dutchman was hoping not to have to rely on a 20-year-old to lead his line.
It's obviously too soon to know how good or prolific he can become but he has certainly shown than he can score goals for club and England youth teams when played in his natural, central position. There has to be much less of sticking him out on the flanks, even if he was the provider of both of the Blues' League goals so far this season.
Sandro, meanwhile, simply needs time — time to get fully fit, time to adapt and time to win over that element of the fanbase, however small, that seems to have written him off already after barely playing three matches. He scored 16 times in La Liga last season, more than Neymar, but he is clearly not suited to playing the lone and isolated striker role that was asked of Lukaku so often away from Goodison in recent years.
He should, in the right system, eventually settle and, like he showed in the friendly against Sevilla, score goals in the Premier League but he will need a partner. Calvert-Lewin would be that partner in a striking duo sitting in front of the No 10 position but that would likely entail Koeman having to make a decision between Rooney and Sigurdsson which he is unlikely to do. That will probably mean the continuation of a forward three and — fingers crossed — more support for the two young strikers and not them struggling in wide roles.
The level of frustration at the failure to draft in a new striker is understandable. The club had known about Lukaku's impending departure for months and had plenty of time to scout his successor. That it came down to the wire and ultimately they weren't able to sign anyone is pretty damning on the face of it but it's the very scarcity of reliable goalscorers that pushed the Belgian's value up to a potential £90m in the first place and also prompted Tottenham to spend £12m on the 32-year-old Llorente. There just aren't that many around… and yet you'd have thought that, with Walsh's network, they could have unearthed somebody.
The same goes for the left-sided defender that Koeman was also after. The lack of a new face in that area of the pitch means that the Blues are a Leighton Baines injury away from a significant problem at left back. Antonee Robinson and Callum Connolly are out on loan (although the former is only at Bolton until January and might be eligible for recall if necessary).
Those two missing acquisitions, while not the silver bullet that could have blasted away the glass ceiling, would have capped an otherwise enormously successful transfer window for Everton. The spine of the team has been greatly fortified with young players that are still some way off their peak and yet look quite at home in a side that could be challenging on four fronts by January and pushing for repeat qualification for Europe.
In Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez, Koeman has drafted in players who could, potentially, be with the club for the next decade if all goes well. Added to savvy signings like Calvert-Lewin, Nikola Vlasic and Ademola Lookman and further supplemented by the rich crop of young players emerging from the Finch Farm academy and you have a foundation for success at Everton that is pretty exciting. Many of those young players are now out on loan in the Championship gaining valuable experience that will hopefully prepare them to support the first team in the coming years.
Koeman was fairly open when he first arrived at Goodison in laying out a three-year “project” for getting Everton into the Champions League and, while he didn't overtly say so, he saw a rebuilding job on his hands to get there. Just two of Roberto Martinez's signings, Mason Holgate and Muhamed Besic, were in the matchday squad for the season opener against Stoke and neither featured in the game.
There's little doubt that, had Koeman been able to keep Lukaku, the Belgian would have been leading the line this season. The same might have gone for John Stones and if Ross Barkley weren't injured, he would probably have been on the bench at least but the fact remains that of Martinez's “fab four” of Lukaku, Stones, Deulofeu and Barkley, only the last of that quartet remains at Goodison Park and he looks to be on the way out as well.
So, within the context of that three-year plan, things are very much on track but, in failing to sign at least a goalscorer, you can't help but feel that the here-and-now has been severely undermined, compromising Everton's ability to not only capitalise on the chaos at Arsenal and how unsettled Tottenham are in the comparatively unfamiliar environs of Wembley but to perhaps qualify for the Europa League again for next season.
Supporters have flocked to buy season tickets in droves since the spring in the anticipation of big-money signings, entertainment and a season where a tilt at the top-four was more than just a possibility. But it's hard to escape the feeling that Evertonians will be watching much the same fare as last term — a side that is strong at home but which will struggle to win games away from Goodison Park until pace, a counter-attacking threat and a prolific marksman can be acquired.
Can that be done in the notoriously difficult January market? And what of the demanding schedule of League and Cup fixtures between now and then that will largely determine the direction of this season long before the next transfer window opens? Blues fans once again have to be patient. Nothing new there — it's been demanded of them for many, many years.
Reader Comments (95)
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1 Posted 05/09/2017 at 07:32:06
I don't see us finishing above the likes of Arsenal, who are some what in crisis, and Spurs who now play there home games at Wembley. They both have proven goalscorers in their sides.
Difficult to buy quality players in January let alone get in a good striker. Look at it this way we won't need to buy 8 or 9 players next summer, perhaps 2 or 3 to add to the squad.
It does seem every summer the club is always 2-3 players short of really challenging. For once, it would be nice to have that real go and challenge for a Champions League place.
2 Posted 05/09/2017 at 08:01:57
That could make a difference and improve two of the glaring deficiencies of width and pace, if true and he returns in good health.
He doesn't score so often though, so that is still the major issue for all to see.
Vlasic may also help with pace and width, but he's got to acclimatise first you might think, although he seems confident enough.
It's hard to envisage a situation where the quality of football is going to meet the expectations of many of us, certainly from what's been on offer so far with most of our new signings in place.
One of our issues last season was conceding too many, so maybe that will improve and reduce the requirement for us to score as many, but it feels a bit like clutching at straws.
I'm hoping that once this tough start to the season in both the Premier League (quality) and Europa League (quantity) is done with , and players settle in and achieve full fitness, we might get an idea of the sort of team we have, and how they might play. I'm not sure we know yet.
As always, fingers crossed and hope to be pleasantly surprised.
3 Posted 05/09/2017 at 08:02:21
He did quite well a few years ago subbing for Baines but doesn't seem to have been considered since then, having had spells on loan and injured. Anyone seen him play recently?
4 Posted 05/09/2017 at 08:24:20
5 Posted 05/09/2017 at 10:39:23
Not what Koeman envisaged; we can live in hope though that these two players can make important contributions.
6 Posted 05/09/2017 at 10:51:00
7 Posted 05/09/2017 at 11:15:17
I think Calvert-Lewin has really surprised all of us as he has come on leaps and bounds during the last couple of months, and Sandro said that against Stoke he injured his ankle so he will need a bit of time to settle in.
Hopefully before the next window, both Seamus and Yannick will be back playing again in some capacity. This will certainly enhance our attacking options, and by this time we can see how much Calvert-Lewin and Sandro have coped.
8 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:22:09
I thought the club were waiting to confirm a Europa League group place so that they could attract a good striker that would at least push us on, but no.
9 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:25:00
A positive 4-4-2 settled team is what I want. What was the point in signing all those flair players in the summer to just roll out 3 central defenders and a defensive team against Chelsea, which yet again didn't work?
10 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:26:09
Brian, fair point about Coleman and Bolasie coming back into the side by Christmas. Those two plus Lookman and Vlasic (despite us not knowing his true quality yet) should provide us some pace on the break away from home.
I was disappointed to say the least to not get a Giroud or Benteke, but maybe Unsy can tell his charges it's a great chance for them to show their worth and look at Calvert-Lewin for inspiration.
11 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:38:31
12 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:39:37
13 Posted 05/09/2017 at 12:48:12
Likewise Mirallas I know he is prone to sound off when things aren't going his way, but again, a manager who understands what makes different characters tick could perhaps be more successful at getting the best out of him without provoking such a negative reaction.
And as for Niasse, at a time when we need all the attacking options we can get, Koeman has shut the door on him and it is probably his pride that prevents him from giving the player an opportunity.
While I think there is much to admire and value in Koeman as a manager, I see this lack of understanding and flexibility as being a shortcoming which could unfortunately cost us.
14 Posted 05/09/2017 at 13:28:35
15 Posted 05/09/2017 at 14:54:37
What flair players???
16 Posted 05/09/2017 at 15:09:05
Moyes's "knife to a gunfight" and Roberto's blue-sky thinking well and truly a thing of the past now that we have a very straight-talking former world class player as our manager, and a rich benefactor.
The Neymar signing for PSG and its knock-on impact have moved the goalposts again out of our reach. Man City being rebuked with a £70M bid for a player in the last year of his contract; Barcelona struggling to sign unproven players for over £100M when we sold our best striker for £90M to a rival. The landscape is indeed changing and it looks like we are still treading water.
17 Posted 05/09/2017 at 15:47:16
Talking about the landscape changing, I think we will find that, in 2019, it will change even more when the new Sky overseas deal is negotiated.
I was listening to a journalist the other day saying that he believes that the top 6 will no longer be happy for all the overseas money to be shared by all of the 20 Premier League clubs. He says they will argue that its the top 6 sides who attract overseas money, and they want the distribution of that money to reflect that.
He says that if the Premier League don't agree to what they want they will pull out and do their own deals. Which no doubt will mean a much bigger pot for the top 6 and a greatly reduced pot for the other 14 clubs. He didn't actually say who the top 6 are but I can imagine it will comprise of the teams who finished in the top 6 last season.
18 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:14:43
By this, I mean unless we get significant improvement quickly, rather than patiently waiting another two years before expecting to be in the Champions League, we can be left behind.
That's a general thought, but on specifics, for example we could have kept Lukaku, on the basis that his value to Everton over the next two years could well have exceeded the price received from selling him now, and it would have been a big statement that we are indeed financially powerful, both important factors in attracting increasingly better players.
Especially in addition to the signings we've made, it would have been a real signal of fairly rapid progress, or at least substantial intent towards that. But we didn't do that, so it's difficult to see clearly a path to improvement that won't get bypassed by the changing landscape.
19 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:37:38
I'm betting we'll be in a new stadium before we 'crack the top-six ceiling'.
20 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:38:54
7 Jul 2017 Josh Bowler Queens Park Rangers £1.5m
5 Jul 2017 Boris Mathis Metz No Fee
30 Jun 2017 Henry Onyekuru KAS Eupen £6.8m
5 Jan 2017 Ademola Lookman Charlton Athletic £7.5m
31 Aug 2016 Dominic Calvert-Lewin Sheffield United £1.5m
1 Jul 2016 Bassala Sambou Coventry City No Fee
I got the above list off our transfer page, but it doesn't include the new lad from Fulham. Then there is a list (my own) of the best academy players (playing at U23 level):
If you want to break into the top 4, but you don't have PSG money, because Man City money is not enough anymore, and you want to work within FFP, then you have to sign the best talent at a young age.
The signings we have made, particularly when you see Calvert-Lewin making progress in the first team, before our very eyes, gives me hope that we can do this. The success of the England U20s with 5 Everton players, and a sure fire 6th in Liam Walsh missing out due to injury, and Tom Davies who was left out for obvious reasons.
I hope the manager works with Unsworth to bring these guys through, if good enough, and having had 8 Englishmen on the pitch in a few games now (not including Barkley who could have made it 9 or Ashley Williams who is actually English and not Welsh), I'm optimistic.
21 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:45:40
22 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:52:57
Does it matter anymore as to whom the fixtures belong? If so then it might not be quite so easy and I wonder if any deals done last year are for quite a few years. Then again, I don't know if any Premier League teams can/are allowed to sell their own games by subscription, either at home or abroad.
23 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:58:28
24 Posted 05/09/2017 at 16:59:13
I think it depends how far we go in the Europa League, which will determine how well we do in the Premier League, Phil, because I don't think our squad is big enough to be challenging for Europe in both.
I do expect things to change now the window has closed, because surely Koeman can't keep boring us forever... and now all the forward players are his signings, then a shrug of the shoulders will no longer be enough for most fans.
25 Posted 05/09/2017 at 17:29:43
IMO therein lies the problem, Koeman's limited tenure. Given the mess of a team that he inherited, Champions League in 3 years was always going to take a mega investment in ready, proven talent ... or he would get lucky like SAF and Finch Farm would give him his very own 'class of '92'. Now we're betwixt and between as Moshiri seems not to want to splash the cash that's required and Koeman seems not to trust his luck.
I still dare to dream of a return of the halcyon days of the mid 80's realistically Koeman will leave Everton in 21 months and achieved no more than Martinez.
Great article, Lyndon.
26 Posted 05/09/2017 at 19:30:53
How many more goals are going to be conceded by Baines turning his back on shots and not stopping crosses coming into the box? Good player in his day, but IMO his day ended 3 years ago.
27 Posted 05/09/2017 at 19:40:06
This is the side he inherited:
1 Joel Robles (age 27)
24 Tim Howard (age 38)
2 Tony Hibbert (age 36)
3 Leighton Baines (age 32)
5 John Stones (age 23)
6 Phil Jagielka (captain) (age 35)
23 Séamus Coleman (age 28)
25 Ramiro Funes Mori (age 26)
27 Tyias Browning (age 23)
30 Mason Holgate (age 20)
32 Brendan Galloway (age 21)
38 Matthew Pennington (age 22)
4 Darron Gibson (age 29)
8 Bryan Oviedo (age 27)
12 Aaron Lennon (age 30)
15 Tom Cleverley (age 28)
16 James McCarthy (age 26)
17 Muhamed Bešić (age 24)
18 Gareth Barry (age 36)
20 Ross Barkley (age 23)
21 Leon Osman (age 36)
22 Steven Pienaar (age 35)
9 Arouna Koné (age 33)
10 Romelu Lukaku (age 24)
11 Kevin Mirallas (age 29)
14 Oumar Niasse (age 27)
19 Gerard Deulofeu (age 23)
28 Leandro Rodríguez (age 24)
Now the ages are the ages now, not 14 months ago. Of course, Howard and Pienaar were retiring or leaving. Stones was being sold, and Lukaku was looking to leave. Also the morale was at rock bottom, but new manager excitement would cure that for the short term.
Now consider that Martinez got 72 points, the 4th most we have ever got (all-time, not just Premier League), and the only players missing from the above who played in that glorious season are Distin, Mirallas, Osman, and Jelavic. I will also give you that Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Barry and Pienaar were considerably worse. Barry was a massive part of that first season but, other than that, are you telling me Martinez was such a genius that he took Moyes side, and added Lukaku and brought through Stones (who only started 15 league games) and Barkley and suddenly made us challengers for the top 4?
Of course Martinez is not a genius. The reality is that was a good side, a very good side, one that deserved to be 7th at least. And Koeman inherited a side that needed to replace Stones (he bought Williams), Howard (he bought Stekelenburg), Barry (Walsh brought in Gueye), and he still had plenty left over from the Stones money and from Moshiri's riches. So, was it really a mess? Or is Koeman just getting an easy ride because of how badly Martinez cocked things up?
28 Posted 05/09/2017 at 19:49:20
29 Posted 05/09/2017 at 19:55:48
Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines
Lennon, Barkley, Cleverley
Should have still got 7th, and that's without spending a penny of the Stones money, the TV money and whatever Moshiri made available. Walsh was coming in regardless and he signed Gueye, and Unsworth / Martinez had agreed the Calvert-Lewin signing. That side will have still got 7th.
30 Posted 05/09/2017 at 20:10:11
It's a squad game now, especially if your team is playing in Europe, and until we fatten it out with more quality, then I'm sure it's just going to be more of the same...
31 Posted 05/09/2017 at 20:13:30
Koeman is not inheriting a proper mess like Moyes did. He had a good side that was dramatically under-achieving by finishing 11th! Surely, it follows that the side should be at least 8th, or why the hell did Martinez get sacked?
32 Posted 05/09/2017 at 21:09:34
The players looked like they went on strike. That's why Baines said what he said about 'chemistry'.
It's clearly not easy to find a really decent manager who can inspire and organise players effectively.
33 Posted 05/09/2017 at 21:29:26
They were unfit. They were disorganised. They were demotivated. The home form was nothing short of shameful. To simply state that they would have got 7th regardless of the 24 months of shite that had gone before is disingenuous.
I assume that you also believe that Leicester will finish no lower than top 3 this season? Afterall, they did win the league only 15 months ago.
34 Posted 05/09/2017 at 21:35:12
Last season, we were more or less where we should be and but for a few defensive calamities, would have been, in Martinez's last season.
How much Koeman has improved the squad this summer will become clearer as the season progresses. From what I've seen so far of some of his signings... not much. :(
35 Posted 05/09/2017 at 21:42:46
The side was pretty much unchanged except for those few additions. It was a very good side and finished 5th because it was that good.
All that was gone from the side was a fading Barry, Osman who had been a bit part player, same for Pienaar, Howard who hardly produced any Man of the Match performances, and Distin.
So either Martinez was a genius, or it was a decent side?
36 Posted 05/09/2017 at 22:17:39
37 Posted 05/09/2017 at 22:22:20
Arsenal probably but not clear cut.
38 Posted 05/09/2017 at 22:46:21
39 Posted 05/09/2017 at 23:02:21
40 Posted 05/09/2017 at 23:04:20
I hope he doesn't hide behind the club's failure to land a centre-forward. Between the end of the Chelsea game and his forthcoming press conference for the Spurs game, he will have been paid about £200k – he needs to start earning it.
Things I would like to hear from him are:-
"I hoped we would sign a striker. We haven't. Okay." (Please look enthusiastic here, rather than shrugging shoulders.)
"It's my job to coach the excellent attacking players we have to score the goals we need to win matches."
"Ross Barkley will be considered for selection as soon as he is fit. We will talk with him, and then look at his contractual situation. That's enough about that for now."
"Wayne Rooney has been very foolish, and has not set the example to our young players I hoped he would. He has let the club down, and will apologise for doing so."
Then, I would like him to send out a side set up to beat Spurs. If he chooses to select 7 defensive players as he normally does that might be tough but, even so, 7 plus Rooney, Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin and Lookman could do it.
41 Posted 05/09/2017 at 23:24:47
The top six clubs cannot pull out of and create their own deals for overseas TV money in 2019 as your journalist predicted because the Premier League requires a majority of two thirds to make any changes to its constitution.
42 Posted 05/09/2017 at 23:53:50
Kenwright's continued involvement, along with Moshiri's annual bizarre deadline day comments give an uneasy impression, to me at least, that nothing has changed and we are still a crackpot club. It's always season tickets today and jam tomorrow. It's always ring fenced. There's always big plans when in reality all we can see is blue cladding and loan deals.
What is the project? As far as I can see, it's to continually sell our best players to provide the illusion of a transfer pot while screwing the council for commonwealth games money and infrastructure while trousering the huge TV money. Things have changed but not enough for me.
We finished 7th last year but we're light years away from where we should be. The shite would have run Kenwright out of town and we call them gobshites.
43 Posted 06/09/2017 at 08:33:01
44 Posted 06/09/2017 at 08:33:18
There will be people seeking to keep the status quo and as we have found out over the years (when we helped to instigate the Premier League) things change. Nothing lasts forever and we need to keep the pressure on the top six.
At the end of the day, the teams above us will be doing everything to prevent another "Leicester" from happening.
45 Posted 06/09/2017 at 08:40:51
We've got 6 games coming up in the space of 19 days and I'm a bit concerned if Baines can take that so early in the season given he's not far off 33. Last thing we need is for him to get injured and I can't see how Koeman can easily rotate to rest him. Almost all the other positions we can rest people but we don't have another left-back in the squad.
Otherwise I don't think the squad is as bad as some people make out. We have a back 5 to match almost any side above us and our central midfielders are very decent. We just lack the usual pace and width up top. Hopefully Mirallas and Lookman can step up.
Also, the one stat that surprised me in the article was that we only managed 6 shots on target in the opening 3 league games. This is not a new issue and one that really needs to be sorted out. We simply don't shoot enough and have had far too many games where we don't even test the 'keeper.
Not 100% sure where Rooney's supposed to fit into the side as Sigurdsson really needs to play through the middle. But as we have loads of games coming up, he won't be able to play 6 games in 19 days anyway.
It's going to be a tough September, fingers crossed we can scrape together a few results and then kick on from there.
46 Posted 06/09/2017 at 09:01:09
The other lot suffered a similar but short interlude of bullshit from their owners but they responded with marches and mass demonstrations with pipes and drums through the city centre. They wore explicitly worded T shirts by the thousand while newspapers and talk-back shows were overloaded with their complaints.
While all that was going on, Evertonians who were ‘born not made' and ‘worth 20 times more than each of them' foolishly believed they were a part of a "People's club" while the directors not one of whom had put a penny of their own money into the running of the club first of all failed us over Kings Dock then told us that Kirkby was the only option for our future.
Oh' what fools we were to accept without meaningful protest all those regular loads of tripe they dished up.
Under Moshiri we have a chance of reaching for the stars and to live up to our motto. Don't let it slip!
47 Posted 06/09/2017 at 09:32:15
This is like 'Peter cried wolf', and it's well past the stage of lacking credibility anymore. Everton raise us up, then let us down, whilst securing season ticket sales.
Everton's bark is much bigger than its bite. What we'd like to see is a bite that's much bigger than the bark.
48 Posted 06/09/2017 at 10:12:26
49 Posted 06/09/2017 at 11:07:21
What is really needed however is an excellent result against Tottenham and most of the conjecture about transfers, the shortage of willing and able bodies in the squad and the off-field antics of the players will disappear.
You can only pick eleven to play on the pitch at any time and much of the expressed disappointment is about back-up players, not the first XI. I see some logic and progress in the management and ownership of the club but not the revolution we hoped for.
I still think that our best hope of a successful future lies in the success of the Academy and in the players who are already at the club, not a Fantasy XI. A good, never say die team spirit and incremental progress might propel us into another European campaign and some excellent cup runs.
I live in hope and it could be worse imagine being an Arsenal fan right now, they most likely will finish above us and that will still be thought of as a disaster.
50 Posted 06/09/2017 at 11:34:23
I also wonder how Galloway and Garbutt fell out of favour so quickly when they were allegedly so promising such a short time ago. I hope that Davies isn't marginalised and is developed rather than left to sit on the bench, playing int he League Cup and the less important Europa matches.
Koeman seems to very much want his own men and not the ones he inherited; this is understandable, but it has cost us Barkley and I fear that Davies and Kenny will suffer a similar fate.
51 Posted 06/09/2017 at 11:55:39
I assume the inference to be that money is being extracted from the Club by persons other than the usual paid employees (ie players, management and administrative staff etc). If my assumption is correct, would you care to say exactly who in your opinion is "trousering" the money and exactly how it reflects in annual accounts?
52 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:00:08
Despite all the comings and goings and money spent on the squad, we still can't manage to win away at a top four club. The 1-0 win at Old Trafford in 2013 was against a Man Utd team outside the top four and in need of major overhaul.
The fact is we can hardly win away at any Premier League club these days. By the time we play United next week it will be two league wins away in twelve months. That is relegation form, a fate spared us last season by a very good home record.
The failure to replace Lukaku with a comparable talent is no surprise. A player of that quality will generally only consider a Champions League club, whatever money is on offer. However, the failure to recruit anybody for that position is not only a surprise but also a considerable disappointment, especially as the manager had highlighted it as a requirement in the last week of the transfer window. It will be interesting to see how he handles the inevitable questions about that failure at this week's media conference.
As it is, Mr Koeman must now make the best of what he has available. There were times last season when he failed to do that and the jury remains out on his ability to persuade the squad to deliver more than the sum of its parts.
54 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:08:07
Paraphrasing but: "If the Premier League don't agree to what the Top 6 clubs want, then will pull out and do their own deals."
No they won't; not unless they just want to play each other every week in their own breakaway league. That will get tiresome very soon.
55 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:36:00
We could have compromised and bought a Benteke type forward who will get you 10-15 goals, knowing they will expect a 3-year deal. This will eat into your transfer/wage budget, reducing what you could spend on your preferred striker. Or you decide instead to save cash, and invest effort and faith into Calvert-Lewin as a regular first team player, rolling the dice on whether or not he gets the 10-15 goals.
I personally appreciate that the club didn't bring in someone just for the sake of it, as I think we should wait until we can get the right man, and at the same time give Calvert-Lewin the opportunity to grow as the lad clearly has potential.
It's hard to admit it at this early stage, but I expect this to be a season of transition as opposed to a season where we immediately go and challenge the top six.
56 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:43:31
Secondly, part of the reason is this so-called super scout, Walsh, still thinks he's at a coy Leicester and can unearth the odd kid or two... plus Koeman is now showing himself to be totally average at best and yet another 3 years wasted after the other two inept clowns before him.
Please don't anyone say Moyes steadied the ship. A loser club that I believe could never ever handle success or even wants it. Coyb? Yeah, right...
57 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:46:08
58 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:52:39
This is something a journalist was saying on TalkSport the other day. I presume they are putting pressure on the Premier League for the deal to represent that its the top 6 teams that attract the foreign audiences and not the rest. I think they have a valid point why should the money be spread to all 20 clubs when its the top 6 that are generating the money earned.
I personally can see a time when there is a European league, which will possibly replace the Champions League. This is something that the top European sides have talked about before.
I think the problem is what happens to a club that is always at the bottom of that league how can they be reintroduced to their own domestic league. Also how do you get promotion and relegation or would everybody be in it for a fixed term say 5 years then maybe the club with the fewest points would leave.
But the problem is where do they go? I am sure the domestic league they came from wouldn't welcome them back with open arms.
59 Posted 06/09/2017 at 12:54:50
Those 6, the big 3/4 from spain, a few from Germany, France and Italy. Add in a couple of big names like Celtic, Ajax, Benfica, and even a few eastern Europeans for maximum interest, and you'll have enough sides for a European League, say in two divisions of 16.
Will it have promotion and relegation? You bet it won't. It will be a closed shop and Everton will be locked out. Football is globalising rapidly at the moment and people in places like Brazil are disturbed to report that kids there are walking around with Premier League shirts and Barcelona shirts rather than the local sides. They cannot understand it. But they want to fight it. So how?
They're negotiating with the USA and Mexico to set up a big competition. They cannot do an American wide Champions League, because the travel is just too much. So they are talking about a 6-8 week long club championship in a World Cup format to be played in a rotating host country. If this takes off, then how long before Asia wants a piece of that pie.
What this means Liam, is that when the big 6 threaten to break away, the Premier League will take it seriously and will give them what they want. There's too many people making too much money, who will be cut out of it, if the Premier League breaks up, and so concessions will be made. It's only a matter of time before we get a Spanish style TV deal, where the big 6 will get say 3/4 of the cash.
60 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:11:35
In order to make someone like say Legia Warsaw or Ferencváros (of Budapest, Hungary) or Sparta Prague be competitive, they would invite major investment in these sides and tell them that they are guaranteed x amount from TV money, they can use the national stadiums and will of course sell them out (why wouldn't they to watch a competitive local side play Madrid or Barcelona?), and then the main point, that they will never be relegated, so a major investment can be made on a long-term basis.
Think about what a Sepp Blatter type figure would want from this league from England: he'd want Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. Then they might want Birmingham to be represented and so push forward Aston Villa, despite all their recent issues.
I doubt, unless Man City can make themselves a major brand by winning the Champions League soon, that they will exactly be enamoured with two sides from Manchester, and I doubt they will want a load of sides from London. Everton will really need to go some to force their way into such a setup.
61 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:13:55
I had posted exactly what you suggested about a European league, and unless in the next couple of years we can elevate ourselves into the top 6, then we would be excluded to the big money if it happens.
I just wondered what Barcelona and Real Madrid think about the new TV deal the Spanish league have done to run from 2017-2019. They used to get the lions share but the new deal is for the TV money to be split between all the clubs in the league.
But just to keep Barcelona and Real Madrid onside into the agreement they have included that no club will lose what they already get based on the last couple of seasons. So Barcelona will get €150 million Real Madrid €148 million and Atletico Madrid next with €116 million.
62 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:17:03
A European League has long been mooted and no doubt has some serious investigation from the super rich clubs, but here's the problem (imo).
You put 16 or 20 Clubs into a European League format and they play each other twice annually. It brings in a new era for football, so lots of increased revenue, merchandising and all the best players want to play in this league.
But soon enough, unless the domestic leagues play ball (no pun intended), then these clubs will just get to play each other week-in week out in a league format. There's no more Champions League as it will essentially just be a cup format of the same 16-20 teams, so the result is all sides clamoring for 1 trophy that's of any worth. They could venture into the Asian or the US markets for competition in Cups, but would they really get competition?
This wouldn't be a sustainable long-term business model and would get old quickly. Today, the numbers are seriously down on the Champions League group games where the same teams come out of the groups year on year with some rare exceptions.
The league will ultimately end up with a similar tiers to the current domestic leagues where the mega rich clubs swat the lesser clubs weekly; so your Celtic's and Ajax's get spanked weekly but with no fear of relegation so there's no tension or excitement.
It would kill the game, albeit not initially, but you know what, maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing if the money did leave the game.
63 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:22:13
What we don't have is a target man, but personally I prefer my teams not to play with a target man anyway.
Out-and-out strikers create a team like the one we had with Lukaku up top one that most people moaned about because we relied on one player for all our goals. Now we don't have that issue anymore, so maybe it's a plus point.
Or maybe I've missed my medication.
Time will tell.
64 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:26:40
Those dickheads with their dickheadish t-shirts made not one iota of difference in getting shut of the two Americans.
Their financial dealings and Courts made them sell, not some gormless prick shouting obscenities and waving their misspelt placards.
On topic, was anyone really surprised when no-one was bought?
It goes all the way back to "Where's the Arteta money, Bill?"
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
65 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:32:39
It all points to the same old mentality being prevalent at the club, and any chance of us making strides towards Champions League football sailed out of the window on 31st August, 23:00 hrs.
Who is to blame? Nobody knows really. It's not good though, is it? The musical chairs stopped and we were left standing. The club have sold out their allocation of season tickets, they will also sell out every away allocation for the full season. For what? Selling our star striker and not even replacing him?
Sorry, there is no light at the end of the tunnel if history keeps repeating itself. We are now probably going to witness the return of zombie football, because we simply do not have any flair players, or a proven striker. After knowing Lukaku was leaving for at least 6 months, how can anyone at the club think we are going to progress if you don't replace him?
I can't even take solace in the fact the youngsters are getting some game time. They just aren't up to top 6 level unfortunately. We are loaded with midfielders, light in defence, and non-existent up top. All this after our most active transfer window in Premier League history, and £150m spent.
Only at Everton
66 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:35:12
67 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:40:12
Here's a Viz top tip for you:
"Pretend to be a billionaire owner of a football club by putting your two best players up for sale for a combined price of over £100 million, and then spending £100 million on a gaggle of new players to show the fans how ambitious you are".
68 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:41:27
What's envisaged, and this is not my dream (although it is my nightmare!), is American style franchise football. All the big clubs sign up without issue, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man Utd etc. But then the League will require franchises to bid for a place in one of the two divisions.
So say some Polish guy wants to ensure there is a Polish side, he heads a consortium and purchases a franchise. He gets backing from the Polish Government and can use the national stadium, a 55,000 capacity stadium built for Euro 2012. Now they could name this side Warsaw and effectively build it from scratch, or they could merge all of the Warsaw clubs, or a few of them, to build a side, or they just elevate Legia Warsaw as they are.
Now once the Franchises are all dished out. All the clubs left behind, like Everton, will be full of players who will want to play in this major European League. So they will be queuing up to join this Polish side. They have the investment in place that they had to show in order to get a franchise, and they buy up all the talent. Would Ross Barkley turn down the chance to play for our Warsaw side, playing week-in, week-out, against the biggest clubs in Europe in the best league in the world, of course not. Everyone will want in.
What happens to those outside the European Super League and left behind? Well the Champions League and European competition will be gone; this replaces it. The domestic leagues are all severely reduced. Most European leagues will become Semi-Professional and our league will lose most of it's sponsorship, most of it's money and will head into rapid decline.
The kopites will be in there with this European League no matter what, it's why they are in the European big clubs club or whatever they call it these days, were they are plotting things like this. So we would be left effectively as a feeder club for them, developing English players to play in an English or British league, where there is now very few foreign players, and no European Competition.
As for people getting bored of the European Super League, well we might, us old fashioned fans. But imagine the Sky machine in hype overdrive, and you can bet with European Competition out of the way and this as the only show in town, there will be a game a night, every night of the week. 16 teams, 30 games, 30 weeks. Oh and there's a nice 22 week break for a summer, a World Cup and international football, so FIFA will be happy.
Addendum: What you guys need to think of is where football is at now, where it was, and where it is going. The reality is kids in Africa watch the Premier League. Kids in Brazil watch the Premier League. All over the world. And in football-mad places like Brazil, they support teams like Man City (Gabriel Jesus) and watch them instead of heading to their local stadium to watch their local side.
Now these fans are not bothered about whether the product is the Premier League or a European Super League, they just want to see the best players in the world, and particularly in Brazil, their local heroes doing it on the big stage. So they have no loyalty to the Premier League.
Also google the Atlantic League to refresh your memories on the European League they wanted to make for Scotland, Holland, Belgium, etc. This idea is still not dead yet, and if it does come to fruition then the European Super League is inevitable if it is a financial success. It's all about money, folks. No-one gives a shit about us traditional fans.
69 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:50:06
I personally have not written him off, as also suggested in the authors piece, after a handful of games. Though he does come across as a puffing billy (fit or unfit) with no real positional intelligence. Rabbit caught in the headlights springs to mind also. His YouTube career looks good but in the unforgiving reality of the Premier League he will be found wanting.
Happy to be proved wrong but, as I said at the time of his signing, what can you really expect for £5m for a La Liga striker. Do you think Malaga thought it was be charitable to Everton week.
With the influx of serious cash into the club over recent times it sends out a negative message to the fans and makes the blues a laughing stock in the open market.
If you want to compete at the top table of European football, which Everton ultimately aim to do, then I believe the fee paid for a decent La Liga goalscorer is around the £195m mark.
I think the difference in fee tells you all you need to know about our current status in the order of things.
70 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:51:39
I'm afraid Moshiri will ultimately prove to be just another case of bull and bluster or Bill Mk 2 and bluster. Commonwealth Games? Fuck off they will do as much for Liverpool as they did for any other host city in recent memory, ie, fuck-all, hence the lack of enthusiastic, real candidates.
Things are really not much different than before, just the cast has changed. We are Kenwright's most successful, longest running show why kill the fatted calf?
And why spend what's required to elevate the club to the next level when you're happy with your lot?
71 Posted 06/09/2017 at 13:57:38
ESL: "No, we don't want two clubs from Liverpool"
Everton: "Great, we finished 2nd, Liverpool were 8th"
ESL: "Actually, Liverpool is a bigger brand, we're going with them"
We'd be left in the English League, or possible a British League, playing the remnants in front of decent crowds of 20,000 or more, with a mainly local side, and every Wayne Rooney will be quickly hoovered up by them. We would probably be either owned by them or propped up financially by them.
On another off-Everton topic, have you seen Championship club Aston Villa are buying a portfolio of foreign clubs, similar to what Man City have done? How long before you end up with about 20 different brands in European football anyway? The end is nigh!
72 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:08:00
Two best players? 'no first touch' Lukaku who goes missing when he thinks we can't win or is that Barclay who is still with us? Very good players both but I contend neither provides that magical will to win that gets a club like ours into Champions League. Put both back in the squad and pick out our two best players now I would go for Pickford, Keane, Sigurdsson, Rooney at least before choosing those two. Calvert-Lewin is already a better team player than the Lukaku who arrived from Chelsea.
One minute we talk about developing youngsters, the next we want to prove we have the deepest wallets in Europe. How many times have we paid record fees for a striker only to find they cannot score in front of an underperforming team? Let's let the team develop and add in finishing touches when there is a reasonable opportunity.
Granted you never win anything with kids... oh wait!
74 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:17:34
75 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:17:58
"It's a £500m fee for a franchise, but Geneva have offered to pay half of that and provide a stadium if you pay the other half and of course you need to relocate to Geneva. You will need to give us an answer quick because Spurs and Villa are also interested. This is the only Franchise left available to you, and we have guaranteed not to expand for 10 years."
76 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:19:58
There is some truth in that. If the Premier League Chairmen had their way, there would be no relegation from the Premier League.
77 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:21:58
Top two became top 3, top 4, 5, 6 and now soon to be 7. We have a genuine competition, nowhere else in Europe does. Money is attracting more money, demand insatiable.
It's a No from me for the Superleague.
78 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:26:09
He has paid off £80m worth of debts and organised a £60m overdraft facility unlike the BVI brigade who were trousering a fortune (allegedly) in interest and "other operating costs".
The only remaining link with "poor little Everton" is Kenwright and I see his hallmark all over the latter half of transfer dealings.
Wait till the last minute, get a bargain, save all those wages, doesn't matter about preseason.
I will not feel good about the club again till he is gone.
What happened to "I am going to retire at 70, I can't carry on beyond that" or was that another lie?
79 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:31:54
I can't remember who all of the big 7 were for sure, but I will say: Everton, Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal, Spurs, Aston Villa and Nottm Forest. It definitely did not include Chelsea or Man City.
As for lack of competition / domination is that not exactly what has happened? Man Utd have won the league 15 times or so in 25 years. A few clubs have won 90% of the trophies, and Leicester aside, the smaller clubs are less competitive than ever.
80 Posted 06/09/2017 at 14:45:13
81 Posted 06/09/2017 at 15:13:39
He owns half the club so I don't know how that transaction works out. Whether that debt was factored in when he bought half the club I don't know.
As you say the £60m loan facility is there for the club as well, which is positive, but also that is not money he's giving away.
Don't get me wrong these are pluses; and do I want him on board? Yes, but I don't think he's here to throw his money about on players that some fans were hoping for.
82 Posted 06/09/2017 at 16:59:28
Rooney may yet be a problem, and I mean on the pitch, as to accommodate him when do we really need him?
As for Calvert-Lewin, play him as the main striker, hold-up man; he has the skill in his feet and in the air, he is quick and he is quite a specimen for his age... he will only get stronger too.
Let's judge how the team gels over a period of time and hope that Ronald does not play too defensive as I see traits of Moyes in his early tenureship.
83 Posted 06/09/2017 at 16:59:54
The Champions League is a gravy train on top of the cash from the Domestic league. A European Super League derails that train and creates a model where the Domestic Championship and the Champions League become effectively one sole tournament for which all these clubs compete.
So there will be trophy droughts never seen or envisaged before for many of these clubs. No more will second, third and fourth mean anything and, for the majority of the clubs, their season will be over in January with nothing to play for for the reaming games; ie, can't win the league and can't get relegated.
Sure there's cash for placement in the league, but you can see in today's Premier League, as soon as the sides are safe, the players go into holiday mode and that won't change.
Now you can create this any which way you want: franchise, Equity Funds, whatever – it makes no difference. The money is the game comes from the supporters subscribing to the TV and merchandising. The Super League will have more dead rubbers than ever before because, for most clubs, their seasons will be effectively over mid-way though the season.
It will sap the life out of the game and subscribers will dwindle. The Domestic Leagues (certainly in England and Spain) are at the core of the wealth; so there's no way they will dilute this.
If there ever is a breakaway league, it would have to have the backing of the domestic league, possibly reducing the number of sides in the division to allow for more games in Europe, but this couldn't be achieved without some promotion/relegation model.
84 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:18:32
Those dickheads may or may not have had an influence over the dismissal and absolute lies spouted by the two 'cancers'.
One thing for sure was the same dickheads showed more bottle and willingness to fight for their club than our own lot did.
85 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:58:09
I can conceive of two far more critical metrics. 1) No striker we really wanted was interested in coming to Everton, and 2) the strikers we could have had didn't interest Koeman/Walsh. I'm not aware of a player we missed out on because of a shortage of Moshiri funds. Are you?
Jay H #77: "I will not feel good about the club again till he [Kenwright] is gone."
That's really sad. Must be rough not being able to enjoy Everton because of the presence of one guy. Besides, I think you mis-read the quote. The one I remember is “I never see myself retiring – not at all."
86 Posted 07/09/2017 at 02:32:59
87 Posted 07/09/2017 at 04:34:24
Do I want another striker? Of course but it has got to be the right player and not just a panic buy.
The solution if we're not scoring enough goals come the Christmas window, roll the dice and buy the most prolific striker in the Championship, he may do well; stranger things have happened .
88 Posted 07/09/2017 at 05:15:48
That is, previously the club sold the players registration; now you sell the contract, albeit the player renegotiates with his new employer. It might not be the best system but it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, a quick fix.
89 Posted 07/09/2017 at 06:27:45
Everton had a loan deal for Perez knocked back. A loan move for Vermaelen knocked back. We tried in vain to offload Ross Barkley and Niase.
Yes it is possible we didn't get anyone because we're waiting for Sergio Aguero but the evidence suggests the club were trying to recoup the Sigurdsson money. The transfer pot for this season was obviously £0 and all incoming transfers were to be funded by selling our best players despite the gigantic TV deal.
The apparent new policy of buying top youngsters will take 4-5 years to really bear fruit with the possible exception of Calvert-Lewin who looks like he is almost there already. Gibbs left Arsenal for peanuts yet we're banking on the likes of Garbutt and Galloway.
There is no transfer pot and there never will be one while Bill Kenwright is involved. New TV deal same old shenanigans.
90 Posted 07/09/2017 at 07:09:51
91 Posted 07/09/2017 at 09:11:16
92 Posted 07/09/2017 at 12:21:52
Maybe this is why the signing of another striker has been half-hearted since June. Come January, things will be different.
93 Posted 07/09/2017 at 15:53:05
As for Kenwright dictating the transfer pot, sorry, that makes zero sense to me. According to the numbers I saw, he owns 13% of the club. Moshiri owns half. It's his pot now, not Kenwright's.
And as for our having a strategy of funding all incoming transfers by "selling our best players"... bollocks. Rom was sold because he wanted to leave. We bought Pickford, Klaassen and Keane well before we sold Rom. And if you think Barkley is one of our best, all I can do is laugh.
94 Posted 07/09/2017 at 18:27:55
As for Perez not wanting to come on loan then why didn't we just go out and buy someone who did want to come if you believe incoming transfers are not dependent on outgoing ones? Is the loan market where Ron thinks he'll find the best players or something?
Who said Ross Barkley is one of our best players? His goal return is like you'd expect from Gana although he could be one of our best. Come to think of it he probably was one of our best players.
As for Kenwright, Philip Green had no shares but still had quite an influence.
95 Posted 08/09/2017 at 13:20:25
96 Posted 08/09/2017 at 17:58:54
There will only be one team from each city so existing teams will merge, mark my words. What we think will not matter. FC Everton will be formed and play in a semi pro Northern League to minimise carbon footprint. Something which won't apply to Singapore FC playing Barcelona or London Bankers FC playing at the Dallas Marksmen Soccer Stars FC.
TV rights will pay huge fees for this World League because the advertising revenue will be so enormous it will overshadow many a country's economy. Matches will obviously be streamed for a large fee and available 24/ 7. World Cups and the Euros etc will be a thing of the past. Bleak and hopefully not before I meet my maker.
In the near future I expect relegation from the EPL will not apply to certain teams if they happen to have a poor season I think we all know who these teams will be too much money involved to have their shares implode.
97 Posted 08/09/2017 at 18:03:31
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