A Bigger Job Than We Think

by   |   10/06/2018  11 Comments  [Jump to last]

Like every Evertonian, I have been doing my research on Marco Silva since the day we appointed him as first team Manager (or Head Coach). That includes his preferred style of play (which has been well documented) and the types of players he likes to employ in the system.

The upshot is a little concerning — what we seem to have at Everton is a lot of players who do not fit the mould of the type of player Silva likes to use.

Working on the assumption that some of the more obvious departures do indeed take place (Sandro, Mirallas, Tarashaj, Rooney, Besic, Garbutt, Galloway, Browning, Martina) we can realistically start the season with a more manageable number of players but, even after this cull, there is a worrying lack of balance to the remaining squad.

Goalkeeper and Right Back are less of a problem than any other position, so we will skip past these two areas.

Centre-Back — Silva likes to play 4-4-2, but he also likes to switch to 3-5-2 on occasion. Holgate fits in either system; Keane needs to improve, but he is young and would be an excellent fit at the centre of a 3, so they are no-brainers. Jagielka still has game and we have 3 promising youngsters in Pennington, Feeney and Lewis Gibson, but I imagine at least 2 of those will go on loan, with maybe Pennington hanging around for his make-or-break season.

The worry comes with Williams, who lacks the pace to play in a high-press 4-4-2 or to either side of a 3-man defence, and lacks the discipline to play at the centre of a 3. Funes Mori looks to have one foot out of the door, but he is our only left-footer (other than Gibson) and would be a natural to slot into the left side of the 3.

In short - we have to keep Funes Mori and find another centre-back who can be the long-term replacement for Jagielka.

Left-Back is an area that has been well-documented. Antonee Robinson has a lot of potential and impressed on his international debut recently, but he may get another loan next season, leaving us desperately short again. We need one more to come in here.

Midfield is where the largest amount of surgery needs to take place. Silva likes a commanding central defensive midfielder, with box-to-box, high-energy players alongside that can pass and score. Schneiderlin is the most natural player in the existing squad to take up that role. Gana could do it (and would be my preference) and Baningime may be that sort of player eventually, but Schneiderlin is the most obvious candidate. I don't like what he did last season, but selling him might set us back too far, with all the other changes going on.

Alongside, we need two of these high-energy type players. Davies and McCarthy are the most obvious examples, while Gana could again provide that energy; but where are the goals and creativity coming from? Is Joe Williams ready? Will Davy Klaassen be at the club? Gylfi Sigurdsson lacks the high-press energy to play there. We need at least one more and to clear out some of the high-earning talent that no longer fits.

Our front 3 (which becomes a 2 in a 3-5-2) also presents a problem. Tosun was a great buy and can play with Walcott, Lookman or Vlasic alongside. Calvert-Lewin will be great competition for the Tosun role, but again we are asking where Sigurdsson fits.

If Silva wants to play with a No 10 style player as 1 of his 3, Sigurdsson would be perfect (with Vlasic and Dowell as other options), but would that stifle Lookman's chances of making the first Team? It puts him in a straight fight with Walcott for the other role.

In short, there is only really right-back that we don't have to worry about. There are problems and a lack of balance across the entire first-team squad.

I think we have the right men at the helm now, but it is far from a quick fix. The fans (that's us) need to be patient. There will be a cull and then a slow re-shaping of the squad. I think it will be 3 very strong windows before this team is ready to play the Silva way.

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Reader Comments (11)

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Danny Broderick
1 Posted 11/06/2018 at 00:54:35
Not sure I agree with you Alasdair. It is a difficult job due to the number of players to move on, and also because there is a reduced time to recruit and sell. But it looks like we will only be looking to bring in 3 players max, and the younger lads will be given a more prominent role in the squad. So for me, the difficult part is shifting the deadwood.

If we get a left back, a centre mid and a striker, I would be more than happy. I think Jagielka and Keane did well towards the end of the season, apart from the West Ham game when we reverted to 3 at the back with Funes Mori. I think we have centre-half covered with those 2 and Holgate until we can get Funes Mori and Williams off the books. We need a left back to help Baines out, but Baines can hold the fort in the meantime.

Midfield is where we need a clear philosophy. It seems we are going to be a pressing team - in which case there is no room for Schneiderlin and Klaassen. But I believe a new midfielder (Carvalho?), plus Gueye and Sigurdsson would work quite well. Besic can probably go, and Davies can be back up, along with McCarthy when he comes back from injury.

Up front, we have got Walcott, Tosun and Lookman. The likes of Niasse, Vlasic, Bolasie and Calvert-Lewin are back up, but ideally I would like us to get a quality striker in who could provide more mobility than Tosun.

I always think the first teamers will be challenged far more by young lads given hope of a first team place, than first team players out of form and going through the motions. The real challenge this summer is shifting the deadwood.

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 11/06/2018 at 07:44:53
I agree with your identified weak areas and at least three transfer windows.

In my opinion, if you don't have a good committee or Board running a football club, the team will struggle. The Board at Everton has caused a lot of the problems we have and there need to be more changes at that level.

Brands is a good appointment; as a coach, Silva is a good appointment, but his history makes a 3-year contract a bad move. The squad needs a massive overhaul, as does their attitude. The player contract situation makes things really difficult for Brands and Silva. The deadwood includes players who will work against them, as they have done with other Managers.

Yes, three 'good ' transfer windows to get the players to get into the Silva plan and way of playing. Hopefully Brands and Silva improve Everton's perceived image and can attract the suitable players for your 'good' transfer window, nothing else will.

Even during Moyes's time, we had a problem in the transfer area, excused by lack of money, but the problem went further than that. His and Martinez's loan policy success was a revelation, Koeman's ended in disaster and Big Sam's was reasonable.

5 years to get where we want to be.

Les Green
3 Posted 11/06/2018 at 14:57:28
Alasdair, I think Silva recently announced that his preferred formation is 4-3-3, although he did mention that he has used 4-4-2.
Kevin Prytherch
4 Posted 11/06/2018 at 15:22:42
We have a senior side who can play in a 4-3-3 formation (albeit probably not to its capabilities). We have 9 youngsters and Jagielka who can provide cover.

Someone started a thread saying “Signings must be starters”. If we buy, we buy to replace a starter. There's no point buying an understudy to Baines when we have Robinson. Baines will probably only miss 5/6 games through injury, fatigue or suspension anyway, as will most of the senior first team. Letting Robinson slot in for these games is more than sufficient.

Let's not waste our resources on bolstering a squad we don't need, we did that last season and ballsed it right up.

Anthony Hawkins
5 Posted 13/06/2018 at 12:57:46
I'm not as worried as I was. Why? because the club has appointed two key individuals into management (inc DoF) who appear to know what they're doing. They can see what's wrong and know the actions to address the situation.

I also don't think either Silva or Brand is saying anything we didn't already know. The additional ethos of 'building from within' and using home grown talent is important for maintaining the Everton culture and brand.

Yes, there are gaps and yes it'll take more than one window to resolve but buying 7 players all of whom are expected to start just doesn't work. It never has.

Gareth Clark
6 Posted 13/06/2018 at 13:41:57
As many have mentioned, his preferred system is a 4-3-3. One where the midfield three can be altered. Either one sitting #6, and two more energetic, box-to-box types. Or two deeper Centre mids, with one playing behind the striker. Three box-to-box, where one drops slightly, if one goes forward.

Another issue I have with this is the statement that Sigurdsson doesn't suit a high pressing system.

I'm not sure where you get this idea but Sigurdsson fits it perfectly. His workrate is unreal, he covers so much ground, and his attacking ability is unquestionable. Gueye too – unreal energy, covers a lot of ground, although I think he needs to reign it in at times, to allow him to get back & compact the midfield.

Gueye could easily play the sitting #6 position, especially in games where we dominate possession.

Schneiderlin is the obvious choice for the #6 role, although I think Baningime will grow into one of the best in this position. If Carvalho does come in - then of course it poses the question - does Schneiderlin go, or do we rotate between them. I wouldn't mind having them both & integrating Baningime too. Especially in the first season – then next season we bring Baningime more and more into the frame.

McCarthy is a dynamic player – very good. Box-to-box type. However, his injuries are setting him back. Ireland are to blame for a lot of that (bar the unfortunate leg break). I think what's best for him is to go out on loan, get fit, don't push too hard to get back, go through the steps, and make sure he's fit and raring to go – take no risks.

Davies is perfect for either of these systems – high energy, brings more physicality too that others lack slightly. I think it's best to use him off the bench mostly this season. And start him in games that suit him. Also, usually reliable – so perfect to have in the team.

Klaassen – someone I think who could add so much. Needs to work hard on his physicality in pre-season. His workrate is very good, his leadership abilities are very important too. Another box-to-box player who has great finishing ability and attacking ability. Perfectly fits the system. Gueye, Schneiderlin or Carvalho playing the #6 role - situation dependent. And Sigurdsson and Klaassen playing ahead of them... Very creative and lots of energy and workrate.

Obviously in more difficult games - we'd look to play Gueye alongside Schneiderlin, Carvalho or Davies deeper. With Sigurdsson ahead of them.

Davies, Gueye and Klaassen/Sigurdsson suit the 3 box-to-box set up.

So other than the possibility of Carvalho coming in – the midfield is very solid & fit the 4-3-3 systems perfectly. So not much need for change – more outgoings than incomings.

Dowell needs another year on loan for me – especially due to his drop in form over the last third of the season. Needs to build his fitness and physicality by playing week in week out. Not being a squad player. The same goes for Robinson – has the ability & could easily slot in as a left-back rotation. But it's more important that he gets minutes – as his dad said. Joe Williams to go out on loan too.

Pennington I think will probably leave on loan, unless he's happy to be a squad player. Gibson and Feeney should go out on loan too.

Connolly is an interesting one; I think he's probably the most ready. But again, I think one more year on loan will do him much more good than being a squad player.

Gareth Clark
7 Posted 13/06/2018 at 13:51:36
So I don't think there will be many incomings. We don't need them - plus there is huge talent coming through & we need to clear a path for them over the next season or two.

Vlasic can cover a range of position & Bolasie will need to take up a squad role. Very expensive – but he brings a lot to the change room & is great when he's fit. A big preseason for him & he could be back to his dangerous self.

Keane to be in competition with two other centre-backs for the starting birth. Holgate to play in a back three - and provide cover & competition too - with his added pace.

In terms of incomings - I see possibly:

Centre Back or two - depending on outgoings.

Left Back

Physical Central Midfielder


My choices would be:

CB: Mawson & Lascelles

LB: Plattenhardt or Phillip Max

CM: Carvalho

Winger: Lozano or Martins

That would give us a squad of after incomings and a lot of outgoings.

2018-19 Squad of 25 players:

GK: Pickford / Stekelenburg

RB: Coleman(c) / Kenny

RCB: Lascelles / Holgate / Jags

LCB: Mawson / Keane

LB: Baines / Plattenhardt

CDM: Carvalho / Schneiderlin / Baningime

RCM: Gueye / Davies

LCM: Sigurdsson / Klaassen

RW: Walcott / Vlasic / Bolasie

LW: Lookman / Lozano

ST: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

Steve Ferns
8 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:42:17
If you put yourself in Moshiri's place, you've spent 𧶲m on players. You've listened to advisors and then hired the best you were told you could get and then trusted them and backed them. Your team did badly, and now people are saying those that were said to be the best were out of their depth and the 𧶲m players are not good enough.

So, you get rid of the people who failed with the players and get some new guys in. One is in charge of recruitment and football matters and has a track record of bringing players through the academy and signing young players, which could save you a fortune.

The other people kept advising you hire a superb coach and could get the best out of these 𧶲m. So you meet this coach and ask him if he can work with the players you have spent so much money on and make them perform and get you back to 7th where Koeman had you only 12 months ago.

If you hire said coach on the basis of working with the squad, then you are not going to sanction ANY major signings. Why should you – he told you he could get the same players to perform, and your advisors told you he could too. Instead, you want the other guy to reduce the 𧴦m a year you're spending on players wages, because that was only if you were in European Competition and now you aren't, you can't afford it.

Now I can see how Moshiri could be persuaded to purchase a left-back on the basis that our present left-back is 33 years old, was injured for half of last season, and has a load of injuries since 2014, and appears to be in decline, and the only alternatives are novices at the highest level.

I could also see Silva saying that he needed one or two players to make his tactics work, ie pacy full-backs and someone who can pass the ball better and more quickly in the midfield.

That is why I expect minimal signings for the first team. I could see a Maddison type signing if Brands is behind it and is convincing Moshiri that this is a guy who could be a first-team player for 10 years, and so the fee is nothing if around the 㿅m mark. This is the type of signing I could see Brands making over the next few years.

Otherwise, I would expect a lot less incomings than everyone else thinks. Also, if a manager can only sign a couple of players, then very few managers ever decide to sign a centre-half, they always want a more glamourous signing.

Fran Mitchell
9 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:52:43
I'm shocked some people seem to think we have talent in the ranks. Jesus? Have you watched us play at all?

We are poor, the likes of Bolasie, McCarthey, and Klassen need to go, they will never be top 6 premier league players, even when fit. Bolasie and McCarthy need to go while we can still get something; in a year they'll be worth almost nothing.

Baines and Jagielka need to be replaced. They are one bad tackle from the end of their careers, and a team that hopes to push for the top 6 in the Premier League can't be relying on past it 34-35 year olds. Keep them in the squad, play in the League cup and use as back-up.

Schneiderlin doesn't want to be here, nor Sandro. And with their performances over the last year, they don't deserve to. Schneiderlin should be sold while we can still recoup a decent fee.

Keane may well be forced upon us as no one will buy him, but he aint very good and we need a new defender to partner Holgate.

The likes of Williams, Besic, Mirallas, Martina, and Stekelenburg may be tough to get rid of, but they offer nothing to our first team squad.

The likes of Dowell, Baningime, Davies, Robinson, Kenny, and Williams offer good options from the ranks, but depending too much on too many young players is asking for trouble.

A back-up keeper, a centre-half, a left-back, a defensive mid, a creative midfielder, and a winger/forward – 6 players – is the minimum requirement; 5 of these players are regular starters, it is a big job indeed.

Kase Chow
10 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:24:28
What's all the ‘Schneiderlin is the most natural #6' nonsense?

The guy has been appalling for a few seasons.

Are we judging on what he could be/used to be OR what he's shown? Because if it's what he's shown then chaps, please rewatch last season.

And if it's on what he used to be well there's nothing to say he's going to attain that level again.

With all due respect, you've heard Silva's interview and instead of forming opinions yourself, you're allowing yourself to be guided by someone that possibly watched less Everton matches than yourself.

[*Shakes head*]

Denis Richardson
12 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:11:14
The detail will depend on whether other clubs want the ones we want to shift and whether they want to leave. However I think we can all agree we have a lot of deadwood in the squad, especially in midfield.

I'd certainly have Besic and McCarthy high up the ‘need to be shifted out' list for Midfielders. Neither has done anything of note for the best part of 3 seasons. However, they are on big contracts with a couple of years left so not easy. Mirallas is a funny one. He still has a few years left and is a decent if frustrating player. He may well get a new lease of life under Silva now he's back from loan. Then we have the likes of Klaasen and Bolasie, also on big contracts with many seasons left. Difficult to shift without taking a big loss.

This summer will imo be more a question of getting rid of a lot of players rather than signing a lot.

I'd be happy with a simply decent left-back, centre-back and attacking midfielder. I think we already have a smattering of decent players and the likes of Walcott and Lookman have bags of pace. Walcott would also love to play more up front than on the wing so can provide striker back up.

Rooney needs to go as does Williams – both of them well past it but on massive contracts. Niasse not good enough and another for the door. Easily about a dozen players we should be shifting.

According to to the TW squad list, we have 11 first team midfielders and 9 forwards. Simply far too many – we need to shift at least 5-6 this summer.

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