Summer is here and with that comes the speculation of exciting, or underwhelming, newcomers. Much debate about who and what we need to quench our thirst for a successful and exciting Everton. But, there is a huge stone in the shoe of the club, or numerous huge stones, that until removed will limit our ambitions.
Years of poor transfers strategy have led us to have more than a whole team of players who have no future with us, but also have large salaries that will, of course, make difficult their sales. While some may disagree with one or two names, there is a general consensus as to who fits into the 'deadwood' category.
Here I plan to analyse each one and review their impact on our club.
Marteen Stekelenburg: Age 36, with 1 year left on his contract, this is likely his last season before retirement. With the arrival of Vossl, he is likely to be the 3rd choice, and maybe his experience can be valuable on the training pitch and in the dressing room. However, I personally see him as a blockage to Virginia's progression. Signing Vossl makes sense, in case of injury or suspension, but keeping Stekelenburg seems like a wage too many. But he is unlikely to leave.
Matthew Pennington: Age 24, with 2 years left on contract. Matty Pennington has acquitted himself well on loan at both Leeds and Ipswich, but he lacks the quality on the ball, pace, and distribution required to play for a team with our aspirations. He's been linked with yet another loan move but surely, at 24, he and the club should be looking for a permanent transfer. He'd do well for almost any Championship club, and could even be a decent signing for a low-level Premier League team. We could command a fee of £2-3 million, and that is money we could reinvest. Another loan just seems pointless.
Brendan Galloway: Age 23, with 1 year left on his contract. It's all gone wrong for the lad after a promising breakthrough into the first team. I feel the constant loans are not helping him get out of the rut. A move for a nominal fee to a lower league team and he just may have a decent career. At 23, if he joins the right club, time is on his hand. But he needs to move on.
Luke Garbutt: Age 26, with 1 year left on his contract. Basically reads the same as with Galloway, but 3 years older.
Morgan Schneiderlin: Age 29, with 2 years left on his contract. A £20 million signing, big wages, and, over the course of his career, a big disappointment. Impressive in his first couple of months at Everton but, when Gueye returned from AFCON, he failed to develop a relationship. Then he became the symbol of everything wrong as Koeman's reign unravelled, and the Allardyce dark period blotched our history.
Arrogant, aloof, no desire, no movement, at fault for numerous goals conceded. Given a chance again and failed to impress in Silva's first few games. He had a late return to form in place of the injured and then suspended Gomes, but not enough for a player of his age and wage. Could be worth £10+ million if sold, and should have clubs interested, but wages may be a stumbling block. Do we pay a portion of his wages to help him leave? Do we loan him and forgo the transfer fee to get him off the wage bill?
Mohamed Besic: Age 26, with 2 years left on his contract. 18 months on loan at Middlesborough, it's high time they paid the fee and took him permanently. £5 million seems reasonable for a player who has performed well. If Boro ask for another loan, tell them to stick it. Sell him whilst he still has some value.
James McCarthy: Age 28, with 1 year left on his contract. It's a case of 4 injuries too many. Good player, but no Gana. Finally fit, but at 28 should be playing every week. We have Davies and other youngsters to act as squad players in the engine room. McCarthy deserves a chance to play again. He would be a great player for any of the bottom 10, and a nominal fee of £5 million considering his contract length would be fair.
Kieran Dowell: Age 21, with 2 years left on his contract. An exciting player on his day, but it seems that our dreams of his skills and shooting ability lighting up Goodison Park will remain unfulfilled. 2 reasonable loan spells have shown his qualities, and his limits. Time for him to make a permanent move; maybe this could help him focus and become the player his natural ability suggests he could be. Sheffield Utd are apparently interested in keeping him, and would be a good option for numerous Championship clubs aiming for promotion, or lower-level Premier League clubs who need a player with that bit of flair. Sell him for £5 million or so, with sell-on fees and maybe even a buy-back clause.
Yannick Bolasie: Age 30, with 2 years left on his contract. The absolute epitome of Koeman's transfer strategy. Never consistent, never a reliable source of goals or assists, typical MotD player. Seemed to be signed to placate our wantaway striker, Lukaku, and then he got injured. Sell for whatever we can get, but I assume it won't be easy: big wages, hasn't played well for 2+ years, Aston Villa sent him back and got promoted without him, and he joined Anderlecht only to help them to their worst season in decades. I feel we'll be stuck with him and his wages... maybe a loan out, but his wages will be with us until 2021 I guess.
Sandro Ramirez: Age 23, with 2 years left on his contract. My oh my... remember when we were worried that Real Madrid were going to hijack our 'bargain' signing? Well, 2 years on, and the lad can't buy a goal. Woeful at Everton, where he got 1 Europa League goal in a total of 15 very poor performances. Subsequent loan moves to Sevilla and Real Sociedad have seen 0 goals in a total of 41 games. And a wage of over £100k a week. We will be stuck with him and his wage for at least 2 years... maybe find some mug to take him on loan at best.
Kevin Mirallas: Age 31, with 1 year left on his contract. Once one of our exciting and more dynamic forwards, he lost his way and doesn't fit with the high-press game. Hopefully he's done enough to convince Fiorentina to take him full time.
Theo Walcott: Age 28, with 2 years left on his contract. Bought at £20 million by Allardyce, a seeming statement by that woeful manager that 'we need proven players, not youngsters' as he then subsequently ditched Lookman. Walcott just isn't that good. Great pace, excellent movement, but woeful finishing and passing. Still got enough of a reputation for a lower level Premier League club to take him, and his excessive wage. He's never gonna get better, and gets in the way of promising young players like Lookman and Gordon.
Cenk Tosun: Age 28, with 3 years left on his contract. Another Allardyce buy. If it was 2002 and we played 5-4-1, he'd be a decent player. A typical 6-yard box striker, but when you need your forward to have pace, good link-up play, an ability to beat a man, change positions and press from the front, he just isn't the one. We should still get £10-15 million in the market, and he would be decent for a club that needs a striker to stay around the box and poach goals.
For me, that's 13 players we need to move on, of which 8 are on significant wages; recouping those will be essential to enable us to sign the players we need to compete with the top-6. And they are also stark warnings to those who call for us to "sign players who are Premier League ready..."