Summer Targets 2020

A look at some potential signings in three key areas – central-midfield, central-defence and right-wing – for when the transfer window eventually opens

Sam Hoare 16/06/2020 119comments  |  Jump to last

I’m not sure when the summer transfer window opens for English clubs. I think it was due to be 10 June and I’ve struggled to see when that has been delayed to. Or even if it's been delayed at all. Either way, I figured I’d try my annual transfer piece.

As usual, there are some provisos. This wild speculation is not for everyone. It’s all a bit Football Manager. But I love it. I should also clarify that I am definitely NOT a football scout. I have not been to watch 20 live games for all of these players. A lot of my thoughts are based on the odd match I’ve seen on TV and a lot of stats and a lot of analyses by better analysts than me, some of whom do work in professional scouting. If you're someone who only cares about what the eye has seen after consistent watching then this may not be the article for you. But here we go.

Beyond that we need a right-midfielder or right-winger as only Walcott currently plays there naturally; Iwobi, Bernard and Gordon are all better from the left. Richarlison could feature there.

Centre-Midfield

The priority was a centre-midfielder even before Gbamin got injured. Now, it may be the priority is two centre-midfielders. I’m not a big fan of any of our current batch, certainly in a 4-4-2, and there is barely a shred of athleticism between the likes of Gomes, Davies, Siggurdsson, Delph and Schneiderlin (who may well be on his way to Nice).

I think Gomes is possibly the best of our current lot so a partner for him needs to be able to make up for his many defensive deficiencies whilst also being able to provide a few assists and goals (remind me again what it is that Gomes brings?! Another article perhaps). One thing we sorely lack is people able to pass or dribble the ball successfully through the middle, so that would be helpful.

IBRAHIM SANGARE – 22 years old

Will start with my old favourite! Have been pushing this guy for a while and this is the summer he will presumably move on from Toulouse with England being a prime option. He’s a big lad who moves surprisingly quickly over the ground. His defensive numbers are superb, making around 3.6 tackles and 2 interceptions per game for the last few years; these are almost Gana Gueye good. He also passes the ball well and was in the top percentiles for balls into the forward third this season in France. Plus he carries the ball well. On a good day, he’s pretty Yaya Toure. The catch is that he lacks discipline and his technique is questionable. He would probably require some patience and frustrate the hell out of us on some days. But at £15-20m I’d say that he represents excellent value. Able to play either as a defensive centre-midfielder or a box-to-box player; he’d bring some of the physical power we sorely lack.

PIERRE-EMILE HOJBJERG – 24 years old

A much less risky prospect. The Dane has done well in the Premier League so far and displays energy, leadership and passion every time he turns out. He makes around 2 tackles and 1.5 interceptions a game and covers a lot of ground. His passing is solid with 1 key pass per game (twice that of Gomes) and importantly he is able to get the ball forward quickly and effectively. He knows the league and as he’s in the last year of his contract should in theory come cheaper, though the Saints may still hold out for £25m+. His energy and enthusiasm should make him a good compliment for anyone in a midfield 2 though I’m left a little concerned by reports of some Saints fans who suggest that he’s a good fighter and leader but maybe not good enough to be in a team with top 4/5 aspirations. And we all remember the last time we bought Southampton’s best central midfielder!

ADRIEN RABIOT - 25 years old

The glamorous option. Hard to know if there’s any truth at all in the rumours that Rabiot is keen to re-unite with his old mentor Ancelotti but it's true that the mercurial Frenchman played some of his best football under our current gaffer. At his best, Rabiot is a pretty complete midfielder; tall, strong, mobile and able to make lots of tackles whilst also getting a handful of goals and assists most seasons. Peak Rabiot would undoubtedly make us a better team, instantly. But the man comes with some baggage in the shape of stories of petulance and pushy mother whose also his agent. There’s also the issue of his wages: apparently he currently earns around £220k a week whereas our top earners are on £120k a week. For this transfer to be likely, then either Rabiot would have to take a huge wage cut or we would have to smash our wage structure; I’m not convinced either is likely. But perhaps a loan could make sense for all parties?

ALLAN – 29 years old

The Brazilian who played under Ancelotti at Napoli has been one of the best central midfielders in Serie A for the last seven or so years. He is a complete midfielder who usually makes over 3 tackles a game whilst also clocking a fair number of key passes and assists; his best work though is probably done in the defensive side of the game. He is fast, strong and tenacious and would be an asset to almost any team in Europe. Or at least he would have been for the last few years. Last year was statistically his weakest ever in Serie A and it would seem that Gattuso (whose style he rather resembles) is not the biggest fan of the Brazilian; either that or perhaps his powers are slightly on the decline? He’s a physical player who relies a fair amount on his athleticism and, for that reason, I have some reservations about spending big (probably £30m+) on him when he will be 30 next season. In an ideal world, we might find the younger version but, if Ancelotti and Brands decide the price is right, then I reckon he’d be a good asset for at least a few years.

DENIS ZAKARIA – 23 year old

If you were looking for a younger Allan, then this guy might be it. Zakaria has got better and better at Borussia Moenchengladbach for the last few seasons and now looks ready to become one of the most coveted central midfielders in Europe. Like Allan, he makes over 2 tackles a game whilst managing to play a healthy amount of key passes and even scores around 1 in 10. He covers ground quickly and effectively and has become a key cog in a team that has surprised a lot of people in the Bundesliga this season. The likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are set to be watching him closely. Media valuation seems to range from £25m to £50m but it may depend on whether Borussia Moenchengladbach (currently 5th) make it into the Champions League.

KONRAD LAIMER – 23 years old

Another Bundesliga midfielder I like is Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer. The Austrian may not be as well known in the stands but he does some crucial work that has caught many analysts' eyes; in particular, he makes the most amount of successful pressures in Europe by some distance. This lad does not stop running, and he’s also pretty darned quick. Think of a peak James McCarthy with added gas. He makes over 3 tackles per game but is also very handy with the ball and managed 6 assists and 4 goals this season so far. He’s also pretty versatile and has turned out at central midfield, defensive central midfield, as well as at right-back (a position we could perhaps use depth at). In short, he’s a very well rounded and competitive player that would do great work for us. Leipzig don’t tend to sell cheap and as they currently sit in the Champions League spots, it's questionable whether he’d be tempted by us but, if he was, then he’d be an excellent acquisition at around £30m.

DANI CEBALLOS – 23 years old

Bit of a leftfield option but I’ve always been a big fan of the Spaniard. He will leave his loan at Arsenal being considered something of a failure even though actually he has done a lot better than he’s been give credit for. He’s seen as flair player even though he makes 2 tackles per game (as many as Gomes and Davies combined) and he’s very handy on the ball, able to both create and score goals. He can carry the ball well and his excellent technique means that he is rarely dispossessed. Presumably he has no future in the star studded Madrid team but if he wanted a return to the PL then I think he would do very well for us and may offer the sort of quality in the middle that we’ve not seen since Arteta whilst being pretty. Decent in the ball winning stakes too.

EMI BUENDIA – 23 years old

If Ceballos was leftfield this is really pushing it! Was going to write about Soumare but I just love this little Argentine. He plays wide for Norwich usually as an AMR which is a position we also need but I think we need pace and goals on the RW and that is something Buendia does not provide. What he does provide is masses of creativity and also a huge amount of industry. Buendia makes a huge 2.3 tackles per game (which ranks him above our whole team bar Sidibe) and manages to do that while being in the top 4 in the league for chances created from open play. Could he play in the box-to-box role? I’m not sure but if Norwich go down and this lad is available for £20-25m then whoever gets him is getting a really well rounded player.

Other notable options- (There are a lot, many more who I’d like to write about!): Wendel (Sporting), Santamaria(Angers), Soumare (Lille), Tonali (Brescia), Phillips (Leeds), Owusu (Gent), Koopmeiners (AZ), Barrios (Zenit), Bellingham (Birmingham), Kessie (Milan). Anguissa (Villareal)

Centre Back

We needed another CB last summer and failed to get one. Luckily we have been helped by the emergence of Mason Holgate and a relatively lucky run re injury till losing Mina recently. Michael Keane impressed me last season but he is not ideal for a high line and would either be sold or not relied upon too heavily. Mina is improving but lacks a turn of pace and Holgate has looked good but is still bullied occasionally. Ideally we would add a left footed CB with power and pace who could compliment either Holgate or Mina at the back or play as part of a 3.

GABRIEL – 22 years old

The Brazilian at Lille is pretty much the perfect fit and was close to being signed pre-Covid if you believe some reports. The left-footer is fast, powerful and also very handy on the ball, able to play out an impressive amount of progressive passes as well as carrying it forward. He is a physical specimen and seems to read the game pretty well, winning an impressive majority of his duels both on the ground and in the air. He is not hugely experienced, having only played 50 odd games for Lille and as such is still prone to the odd lapse or misjudgment but he seems to be getting better every year. A good chance that he will be in the Brazil national team within the next 2-3 years. A fee of £30m might have seemed fair pre-Covid. Difficult to know now and rumours are that the likes of Chelsea and Napoli are also keen.

THIAGO SILVA – 35 years old

At the other end of the spectrum to Gabriel is his Brazilian compatriot Thiago Silva. What Thiago lacks in declining athleticism he makes up for with a wealth of experience and silverware. He is a leader and an organizer, something that Ancelotti knows well from AC Milan and PSG., and those are qualities that we currently lack in our central defense. Could a 35 (almost 36) year old with no PL experience cut it in the most physical league in the world? For every Richard Gough you tend to get a few Ashley Williams/Samuel Etoo/Wayne Rooneys. But Thiago is or was a top class operator and I’ve heard some PSG fans say he was as good this season as he’s been for the last 2 or 3. Perhaps he offers us a stopgap whilst the likes of Gibson and Branthwaite progress on loan? Personally I’m a bit bored of transition; I’d rather try and get a younger player who can bed in and form a long-term partnership with the likes of Mina and Holgate but perhaps it will depend on finances. If he wants more than 100k p/w I’d look elsewhere.

KURT ZOUMA – 25 years old

After an inauspicious start Zouma went on to form a very successful partnership with Michael Keane (and at times Mina), helped no doubt by the formidable presence of Gana Gueye. The Frenchman has frankly superb physical traits, he is excellent in the air (some of the best aerial duel percentages in the league) and has a astonishing turn of pace for such a large man. He’s prone to errors and misjudgments as he showed at Chelsea this season but these seem to diminish once he is more settled; something that Lampard discovered which is why I suspect he will not be on the market. If Chelsea do add at CB and put Zouma up for sale he would have to be an attractive option; he knows the league well, knows our club well and is a good age for a CB. He could form a good partnership with either Holgate or Mina, though may rely on a good manager to instill the organisation that does not come to him naturally. If he was available for £20-25m I think it’d be good business but he was Chelsea’s best CB statistically last season so I’d not bet on it.

MOHAMMED SALISU – 21 years old

If you’re looking for a bargain then look no further. This young Ghanian is apparently available for between £10-15m from Real Valladolid. He’s not played a huge amount for them but has looked very solid in his 27 starts this season. He is 6 ft 3 strong, left-footed, quick across the ground and not bad passing the ball forward at all. There are rumours that Rennes are in for him and they have an excellent scouting department. It could be that he is a bit raw for Brands and has not quite proven himself enough but if we are looking to cheaply add a young CB capable of filling in for or perhaps even surpassing Holgate then he looks a very solid option at that price.

JEAN-CLAIR TODIBO -22 years old

There’s been quite a lot of press linking us to him and quite a few evertonians who watched his performance against Dortmund a few weeks back and said no thank you. He is better than he was that day. But he’s very raw. He’s only played about 25 games across Schalke, Barca and Toulouse but he has showed some glimpses in that time of a precocious talent. He’s 6 ft 3, fast across the ground and blessed with a young John Stones level of confidence. As with Stones sometimes this leaves him looking majestic and sometimes it leaves him with egg on his face. He’s very good on the ball and his 5.4 progressive passes per game is among the highest in Europe. He wins a lot of duels and is rarely dribbled past but his positioning definitely needs work. He could be frustrating for a season or two but patience could leave you with one of the best CB’s in Europe. If we are looking for someone to come in and immediately solidify our team then he’s not may not be the obvious choice. He played a lot at CDM in his youth and could easily play there too which is appealing given Gbamin’s injury.

MOUSSA NIAHKATE -24 years old

A less glamorous but solid option. The Frenchman is left-footed, 6 ft 3 and has been a relatively consistent performer for Mainz in the Bundesliga. He wins his fair amount of duels but is fairly average on the ball. There’s not been a lot of transfer stories about him but I’d imagine you could get him for between £15-20m. I’m not sure that he’s much better than Mina or Holgate but he’s not much worse and offers some athleticism and power with a left foot in the middle.

NICO ELVEDI -23 years old

Another solid if unspectacular option. Elvedi does most things well and has been a consistent presence for BMG. He is quick, strong and passes the ball well and intelligently. He’s 6 ft 2 but not the best in the air and so may not be the perfect partner for Holgate for example against a physical attack but his pace and intelligence allow him to make a lot of interceptions per game, one of the highest rates in the Bundesliga. He’s fairly versatile and has played at RB on occasion, which could be very useful for us especially if we don’t sign Sidibe (and I don’t think we should). His contract only has 2 years to run and it could be that he is available at a slight cut price. Anything under £25m would be good business for a dependable player in my eyes who potentially helps in a couple of places.

IBRAHIMA KONATE – 21 years old

Both Konate and his Leipzig teammate Upamecano are amongst the most highly sought after young CB’s in the world. And as a result both would probably be unobtainable for us, especially as Leipzig look to be closing in on a CL place. But any CB list has to include one of them! Upamecano is probably better on the ball but Konate is probably better at defending, he is 6 ft 4, quick over ground and does the basics pretty well. He’s not played a lot this season because of injury but was one of the best CBs in the Bundesliga last year. He’d be an excellent addition but would likely cost north of £30m.

Other notable option: Kumbulla (Hellas Verona), Ake (Bournemouth), Disasi (Reims), Ferro/Dias (Benfica), Luiz Felipe (Lazio), Caleta-Car (Marseille), Kouassi (PSG), Torunarigha (Hertha BSC), White (Leeds). Kamara (Marseille)

Right Midfield

Walcott is our only natural right-winger currently, or right midfielder given Carlo’s seeming preference for 442. It seems that the Italian may prefer a left winger who can come inside and become playmaker (which Bernard and Iwobi are well equipped to do) while the right sided player is expected to have some more express pace and ideally contribute to the goal tally, something Walcott has failed to do notably this season with the solitary strike despite getting a reasonable if unexciting 5 last year.

CENGIZ UNDER – 22 years old

The Turkish wizard certainly has been linked with us a few times with a potentially prohibitive price of £30m being mentioned. Over his career he has scored 24 goals in 7000 minutes which equates to about a goal every 3 matches which is very good for a winger and he also adds 15 assists in that time. That looks like pretty impressive output for someone who has struggled for consistent game time since moving to Roma. He’s quick without being rapid and has some decent skills as well as finding some good finished from range, cutting in onto his favoured left foot. He’s never quite proven himself in Italy and so its hard to see him as anything other than a risk at that price and it may be that he’s not strong enough for the PL but if the price were lower his goal return suggests a player worth taking a gamble on.

DAVID NERES – 23 years old

A familiar name after many links last summer. Neres’ star has fallen a little as Ajax have failed to replicate their stunning form in Europe this time around. Neres himself though has fared better than last year managing 6 goals in only 600 minutes. Across his career he manages a goal almost once every 2 minutes which is very impressive though of course the majority of these come in a strong Ajax team in the weaker Eredivisie. He’s fast, creative and a pretty decent finisher. Might he be a little slight for the PL? Possibly but then people said similar things about Salah and Mane.

KREPIN DIATTA – 21 years old

Talking of Mane here is a player who might just be his heir apparent. The Senegalese man has unbelievable pace and energy like his Merseyside compatriot and looks like he might have the talent to make it all the way to the top. This season he’s scored a decent 6 goals from 22 matches mostly from the right wing and has done so whilst skinning most players on the pitch. It should be noted that this was in the same division where our own Onyekuru managed 22 in 38 so it should certainly be taken with a pinch of salt. Diatta looks a very decent prospect though it might be too early for him.

HIRVING LOZANO- 24 years old

The Mexican has struggled for time and form after his £40m move to Napoli with only 2 goals in 700 minutes and was recently ejected from training for ‘lack of effort’. Ancelotti and Brands obviously both know him well and may fancy their chances of getting the best out of him. On from ‘Chucky’ Lozano is pacey, tenacious winger able to play either side who scored 40 goals in two season at PSV. Some on here (including Mike Gaynes) are big fans of his and certainly he’s a goal threat on his day but I’m not sure Napoli will want to sell him for less than £30m. Perhaps a loan could make sense for all sides?

FERRAN TORRES -20 years old

The young Spaniard has had a breakthrough season at Valencia and is now being linked to some big teams. He’s very fast, creative and able to add goals too though his finishing still needs work. He’s agile and has excellent technique as you’d expect from most Spaniards but there may be doubts about his ability to make enough contribution defensively. He likes to hug the line and is tall enough to win headers; in some ways he reminds me of Richarlison a year or two back. He needs more developing but could well turn into a top class winger.

MALCOM- 23 years old

Another old favourite of mine! Malcom has reportedly turned us down twice which is a shame as I think he would be great for us. And things have not gone for him so well in Zenit. At his best he is a fast moving, highly creative winger with some lethal long shots who almost guarantees goals and assists. At his last full season (at Bordeaux) he managed 12 goals and 7 assists in 32 games. If we could get that kind of end product from our right-winger then it would really help our prospects. Might he be disillusioned with the racist fans in Russia? Could it be third time lucky with the talented Brazilian? Probably not but I can dream.

SAID BENRAHMA- 24 years old

The mercurial Algerian tends to play more of the left for Brentford but is definitely a player worth looking at, him and Ebe Eze have been the two best attacking players in the Championship. Benrhama is quick of feet and mind without being rapid and is able to create as well as score with 20 goals and 21 assists in the Championship over the last two season so far. He completes around 3 dribbles a game this season which is comfortably more than anyone in our team though he is not always careful with the ball and is dispossessed more than some of the other wingers on this list. Chelsea are reportedly keen.

Other notable options: Rashica (Werder Bremen), Chukwueze (Villareal), David (Gent), Raphinha (Rennes), Stengs (AZ), Tsygankov (Kyiv), Cantwell (Norwich), Ihatteren (PSV), Bailey (Leverkusen), Talisca (Guangzhou), Ocampos (Sevilla).

SUMMARY

The other positions we could look at are right back and goalkeeper, in particular I’m very unimpressed with Pickford’s form and stats over the last year and a half. But its difficult to know what money there will be in the coffers and these three positions(or 4 if we buy two centre mids) seem the definite priority to me.

One other option I’ve considered is playing Richarlison at RM, which guarantees you goals from midfield, and buying a new striker (Edsonne Eduard looks especially interesting) but it would seem a pity to break up the partnership between Richy and Calvert-Lewin.

A lot of who we get may depend on the prices available, who we are able to sell and how generous Mr. Moshiri is feeling. Here are two scenarios:

The cheap(er) scenario

Salisu - £12m
Sangare - £16m
Neres - £20m

Pickford
Kenny Holgate Salisu Digne
Neres Gomes Sangare Bernard
Richarlison Calvert-Lewin

The luxurious scenario

Gabriel -£28m
Zakaria- £40m
Rabiot – loan
Malcom - £35m

Pickford
Kenny Holgate Gabriel Digne
Malcom Rabiot Zakaria Bernard
Richarlison Calvert-Lewin

An athletic midfield pairing like Rabiot and Zakaria would immediately give us so much control over a game whilst having Bernard (or Iwobi’s creativity) and the goals from Malcom, the front two and a few more from the middle two. It won’t happen and I should think our net spend this summer will be closer to £40-50m with not much coming in from sales. It could be that loans and free transfers are the way forward so players like Rabiot and Lozano who have fallen out of favour could be targeted. I think the additions in the middle will be the most crucial though.

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Reader Comments (119)

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Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
1 Posted 17/06/2020 at 07:55:43
Can we get Neres? A goal every 2 minutes in his career.

Now I think that was even better than Dixie.

Sorry - couldn't resist commenting on the typo.

Ajay Gopal
2 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:13:46
Thank you, Sam, for putting this article together. I found it extremely interesting - your luxurious scenario has 4 Brazilians in the starting XI, I love it!

Going from recent reports, as well as the Coronavirus situation, I predict that Brands & Ancellotti will close in on:

Thiago Silva (free transfer, £100k pw)
Allan or Rabiot (Carlo's men) (£15 million plus add-ons, £100k pw)
One of Hojberg, Gueye or Dani Ceballos (Premier League experience) (£15-20 million plus add-ons, £60-80k pw)

Letting go of:

Schneiderlin
Besic
Tosun
Walcott
Martina
Niasse
Ramirez

My predicted starting XI next season:

Pickford
Kenny Holgate Thiago Silva Digne
Hojgberg Allan Gomes Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

(I also have 4 Brazilians!)

Back-Up XI:

New back-up keeper (Fraser?)
Coleman Keane Mina Baines
Davies Delph Sigurdsson Iwobi
Kean Gordon

Sam Hoare
3 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:25:05
Phil @1 If only! We could use that sort of output!

Apologies, finished this article late last night and it looks like my editing was not up to scratch.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:29:00
I can't read all this which is probably wrong of me considering all the work that you've put into it, Sam, but it did get me thinking after I'd read a little bit, mate.

Your stats show how important it is for midfielders to win the ball by tackling or just as importantly by interceptions, especially if that player is busy and effective at taking and recycling the ball by constantly moving it on.

Then we have defenders who can play over 5 progressive passes every game, possibly because this is the area of the pitch in which players receive the most time on the ball.

Some of the players on your list could become top, top players, but it's Ancellotti's experience at “building a team” which is the most important thing, building on the nucleus, helping to improve others, and then finding the players with the “right character” to help bring everyone on.

Two crocks bought on the cheap gave the last great Everton side so much belief, and I'm sure Clough had a few cast-offs in his European Cup winning teams. Hopefully this is were Carlo is going to be so important, because sometimes it's definitely more than just being about the money, which has already been proven anyway since Moshiri got on board.

Paul Tran
5 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:38:37
The usual interesting stuff from Sam, who does the homework I can't be arsed doing!

I find it hard to get too interested in all the speculation, with so much uncertainty around start dates, budget, Ancelotti's pulling power, etc.

We desperately need leaders in defence and midfield.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 17/06/2020 at 09:20:12
Thanks, Sam, for your efforts in giving us some insight to possible future signings. Is there no old fashioned British footballers you think might do a good job for the Blues? I wrote that on a blended knee, by the way.

I think we need someone who comes into the team straight away knowing how the Premier League operates, how physical it is, be able to last 90 minutes and is a team player. Maybe a foreign player can do that. I'm not against them but your list, Sam, doesn't show any British players, just wondering if there are any?

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 17/06/2020 at 09:51:51
Dave, there are some British players in the ‘notable other' lists. For example we could look at Ben White and Kalvin Phillips from Leeds, Jude Bellingham from Birmingham and then Godfrey or Todd Cantwell from Norwich or Eze from QPR.

Premier League players (especially English ones) tend to be overpriced and the Championship does not seem to offer quite as many good options as it has in previous years. I quite like Matty Cash as a cheaper option at right-back and Ollie Watkins is an interesting forward player.

Derek Taylor
8 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:16:33
Why not go the whole hog and just sign Brazilians? There is certainly little appetite for homegrown talent let alone Academy recruits and Everton will effectively disappear when the move to Docklands is effected.

For me, Everton has been a life-long addiction but sadly no more as the last few weeks have proved that I – and many others – can live without what has become just Moneyball. All I hope is that my last-ever season of support realises an improvement on the much predicted 13th position!
-

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:17:06
Thanks for your reply, Sam. Yes, I like the Norwich players but, as you say, they won't come cheap. Bellingham, to be honest I haven't seen him, but at 16 or 17 he comes under the “still potential, no matter how vast that potential can be”.

Is there no Scottish players, like the lad coming back into the Villa team tonight? I think most Everton fans know we are desperate for a solid 8/10 organiser in the central midfield position, they also know how hard it is to find one.

Sam Hoare
10 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:28:56
Dave, Ryan Fraser could be an option as he is out of contract. He was on my list as an option but tends to play on the left I think.

Otherwise you are taking a punt on younger talent mainly. Ferguson at Aberdeen is a midfielder I’ve heard good things about and Hickey at Hearts is a promising full back but I wouldn’t say the Scottish League is as good as it was a few years back and the pickings are fairly slim bar a few youngsters with potential. Callum McGregor at Celtic is a decent, hard working midfielder but not sure he’s an upgrade on Davies or Delph. I’ve tried to look for players who are decent now and have the potential to really push on and be top class. As Ancelloti said, we can’t buy superstars but we can buy the next superstars.

Sam Hoare
11 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:38:56
Derek@8 Don’t give up hope!

I expect we’ll see more home grown academy players in our setup over the next few years as Brands revamps the academy and continues to clear some of the first team deadwood. There’s a decent crop of youngsters moving from u18s into U23s now including the likes of Simms, Dobbin, Astley, Warrington, Hughes, Onyango. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gordon feature a lot more next season too. Obviously this was a transfer article so I focused more on players at other clubs.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:49:40
Good article, Sam. Some players I hadn’t heard much about (like Summary - until I realised it was just that, your summary!). The interesting thing for me in the next transfer window will be the adjustment to transfer fees in the UK and beyond.
Fran Mitchell
13 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:59:25
I can't see any big fees being spent. Fraser on a free, another option could be Willian on a free too. Thiago Silva on a free would also give Gibson a year on loan at a Championship club for development.

Eze from QPR looks a very good prospect and would be a good fit, and Phillips from Leeds too. But Leeds will likely get promoted and be reluctant to part for anything but a lucrative offer.

Also like to see how much Dwight McNeill would cost. And Buendia from Norwich.

If we had money to spend, I'd raid Watford once again for Ismael Sarr. He is quality.

Joe McMahon
14 Posted 17/06/2020 at 11:18:48
Fran, I'd like Dwight McNeill a lot but yes he would cost a bit.
Tony Everan
15 Posted 17/06/2020 at 11:34:32
Sam, enjoyed reading this, thanks for time and effort even though I know it’s a labour of love.

What I want most is a transfer window of complete focus on the necessities. In one word, midfield.

We need to get it right and with our forwards we can make big progress.

With our two / three forwards DCL Richie and Kean we have goals pace youth athleticism aerial threat and desire.

We have potentially the perfect front line.

The midfield is where we are weak. Very weak. It is not just the players there it is the physical presence there, the desire to win, the willingness to run over hot coals incessantly for 96 minutes.

Walcott and Bernard on the left and right in a 442 don’t offer that physicality or compact threat that we need to take control of games.

A different approach to the midfield in the 442 is needed and different players are needed to make it more efficient on balance as a defensive unit rather than the balance being as an offensive one. ie Walcott offers little defensively, and whilst Bernard tries more he is a bit diminutive and can be brushed aside. Saying that his inclusion adds something beautiful to the team and I want to have him in it.

So the focus has to be all about the midfield and how that compliments our dynamic forwards whilst giving the team the defensive stability.

A midfield 4 that has Buendia on the right may achieve that much more than Walcott does. This could be a massive signing. He is a young Argentine on the up, fully motivated ready to give his all to a bigger team and has the quality to do it. He will be in the Argentine national team in a year or two. Could even be just as important as the central midfield positions. What do you think Sam?

Achievable?

Pickford

Kenny Holgate Gabriel Digne

Buendia, *Bakaria, Gomes, Bernard

Richie DCL


Sangare signed too as a back up/ challenging to start.

*Allan, Hojbjerg more likely to be achievable.

In short sign;

Joint 1 Buendia for RMidfield
Joint 1 Zakaria ( or best CM enforcer we can get)

2 Gabriel

3 Sangare.

Sam Hoare
16 Posted 17/06/2020 at 12:06:23
Tony, i'm a huge fan of Buendia. I'd be delighted if we got him, which would seem achievable if Norwich get relegated. Very few players can accomplish his creative stats matched with his work rate and tackle numbers. If he was able to add goals he'd very quickly become a £50m+ player.

The only issue is that we do need a RM to bring some more goals to the table (as neither Iwobi or Bernard do) and currently Buendia does not do that which is why I suggested he could maybe be tried as a ball carrying, creative box-to-box player. But no doubt he's do a decent job on the right.

If we were to end up with Buendia, Gabriel and Sangare in this window then I'd be absolutely delighted. It would immediately give us some more power and dynamism through the middle as well as penetration.

Conor McCourt
17 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:06:23
Sam great work in putting together some names we should be looking out for over the coming years. Your views on the defenders and wide players were particularly insightful and your time is greatly appreciated.

The midfield area however I feel was tinged with irony. I understand that with you being primarily a stats man that your view of Andre may have quite a negative slant but was expecting some players of higher pedigree or have at least much greater potential.

The only players I see on your list in that category are Pastore and Zakaria though I haven't seen Sangare so can't give an opinion. I would love the the Swiss as he looks a fine player and was surprised to hear you call him a "younger Allan" as he looks a different class of player to me. There is a reason imo that our very own Jo has nearly three times more caps for his country than the Napoli man. In Hoijberg, Buendia and Laimer I think we are taking a big drop in class from our Portuguese and would have been more interested on your thoughts of Tonali who caught my eye playing against Ireland U21's and is regarded by many as the heir apparent to Pirlo. I actually think Zakaria and Gomes would form an excellent complimentary partnership.

A flippant comment which hit me right between the eyes was "Konate is probably better at defending" (than Upamecano). I have seen quite a bit of Leipzig and really think that Upamecano and Nkunku and especially their right back Mukele would be really interesting for us, but I will definitely be looking closely at Konate after that high compliment.

Looking at your widemen I can't help but thinking a certain Marco Silva would be in agreement with you and all three of those previously linked may again be available. The homegrown player I would throw in would be David Brooks as I think he could make the step up as he's a bit like Richarlison in terms of an eye for a goal, versatility, workrate and presence. He has much more scope than McNeill in my eyes. The downside is that Brands would love him because he has had a bad injury and perhaps more than ever we need to look at players who will be available.

Sam Hoare
18 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:29:06
Thanks Conor. In midfield I was looking especially for people who could potentially play with Gomes who is so poor defensively (managing less than a tackle a game) that it meant needing someone who can do alot of that defensive work. Someone like Tonali is a great talent and was on my list but is better known for his creative talents. In terms of aspirations I perhaps tried to include realistic names and so the likes of Camavinga, Florentino Luis, Milinkovic-Savic, Tolisso etc were not mentioned as they feel less likely.

We disagree strongly though if you think the likes of Buendia and Laimer are a drop in class from Gomes. Gomes simply does not do enough. He does not tackle, he does not intercept, he does not create chances, he does not score goals, he is frequently dribbled past and gives away alot of free kicks. He has good technique and passing range and on a good day can control the tempo from the middle but if you want to be part of a central 2 you need to be doing alot more in my book. It may be that he is better in a 3. I think his pedigree, his excellent technique and composure (and dare I say fine hair) have fooled people into thinking he is better than he actually is. He was excellent at Benfica and Valencia but we have not seen that player enough at Barca or Everton. Though he is still better than Davies and Delph. Hopefully he may one day regain the form of his early 20s but he's a way off currently.

Yes, Leipzig have an excellent team. Big fan of Nkunku and Mukiele. I think Konate and Upamecano are relatively evenly matched and confess the idea that Konate is the better defender and Upamecano the better ball player was something I stole reading a few Leipzig fans opinions on the duo.

I like David Brooks alot but I don't think we can afford to take any more risks currently on players with suspect injuries in the past, unless the price is really appealing.

Nick Riddle
19 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:42:49
Thanks for doing the homework Sam. I was also surprised you didn’t mention David Brooks, a left footed attacking midfielder very comfortable playing wide right who scored seven goals in 30 Premiership games for Bournemouth. He missed this season through injury but I understand is now fit.

It seems likely that the teams relegated this season will suffer a major financial double whammy with loss of Premiership income on top of the Covid-19 impact and as a priority I’d be looking to asset strip those clubs for bargains. In my view, and more so than I can remember at any time in the recent past, the clubs threatened with relegation have a number of players who could improve Everton.

In addition to Cantwell, Ake and Buendia I’d include Ben Godfrey at Norwich and Ismaila Sarr at Watford. You only talked about goalkeeper and right back in passing but I’d also be looking at Bournemouth’s Aaron Ramsdale (although I’m not convinced he’s an improvement on Pickford) and Max Aarons at Norwich.

I’d love to squeeze Jack Grealish into an Everton team but, like Declan Rice, I think he’ll be overpriced. I also wonder about John McGinn who was getting positive reports in defensive midfield for Villa early in the season before getting injured, but who I know little about.

This is certainly going to be an interesting transfer window. What will be a crisis for many will be an opportunity for some and Roman Abramovic certainly seems to see this as the right time for Chelsea to step up. The very rich have the knack of weathering financial storms better than the rest of us. If Moshiri’s (and Usmanov’s?) personal fortunes have been largely insulated during the last few months, I wonder if they will see this as a great opportunity to leap the gap to the top 6?

Mike Gaynes
20 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:02:19
Sam, fascinating list... some I knew, some I didn't, but I love your research.

As you mentioned, I've been a longtime Lozano fan, and his divorce from Napoli just got a whole lot more likely -- Gattuso kicked him out of practice on Monday for lack of effort. But I'll debate you on his being a candidate for our right wing... yes, he can play there, but he's far more productive on the left. Both Under and Neres seem like better choices in that slot.

I chuckled at your Gomes comment -- "(remind me again what it is that Gomes brings?! Another article perhaps)" -- but after your post #18 you don't have to write that article, because you already made your point. I agree with every word, by the way... love the guy, but the oft-expressed view here that he's some version of "world class" just leaves me shaking my head and laughing.

Conor McCourt
21 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:05:17
Hi Sam, I'm afraid we will have totally contrasting opinions on this. Gomes was the best young footballer of his generation in Portugal and got a dream move to Valencia where outside the big three he was the best midfielder in the best league at that time.

I agree his form at Barcelona and with us hasn't been to the same standard but he has barely been injury free and even when playing has often played on unfit at both clubs as he will probably do again on Sunday.

Last spring when Andre was in full flow, his partnership with Gana was one of the best in the league and gave us a footing in games against all the teams we faced. The lack of goals, assists etc is what stops him from being a really top player but he is certainly one of our shining lights if he gets back to that form. When on song he can control a game like only really good players do.

Buendia for me is all hype and I don't even think he is as good as his predecessor Wes Hoolahan yet. I think at best he is a joy to watch but has been irrelevant in many Norwich games I've seen. I would back a younger Irishman in Adam Ida to have a better career than the much-vaunted Buendia and Cantwell.

Again Hoijberg isn't even too good for Southampton imo and didn't pull up trees at Schalke and I wouldn't want him as I would honestly prefer Davies than him. Laimer is a step up from the other two but he is playing in a talented team who score plenty and I'm not sure he is one of those players that is destined for bigger things. I stand by my previous assertion.

Francis van Lierop
22 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:09:23
Impressive list, Sam.

I don't think David Neres will be available for £20m, double that will be closer to the mark, maybe more.

Bill Gall
23 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:26:28
With all the names that have been mentioned as possible transfer targets ( enough names to build 2 new teams ) it is time to put up or shut up, there is not a supporter, although they may have their own ideas who they would sign, that recognizes the positions that need strengthening as the first priority.

The manager I am sure is aware by now of where the weakness in the team is, and will make sure these positions are strengthened first and continue to try and get players who are not in his future plans moved on.

It is going to be a difficult transfer window that is made harder for Everton by their league position, and the possibility of no European competition next year.

Having rich owners is not an advantage in the transfer market that it was years ago and listening to comments from some players mentioned in the transfer market, playing in the European competitions is 1 of their requests in agreeing to a transfer.

Everton have been outside the top competitions for years, and are relying on their history, and that no longer is any good when trying to bring in top players who want to play for ambitious clubs who are regulars in the top 6 and winning domestic trophies.

The sad thing about Everton, despite its amazing large fan base, it has taken so long to get a stable organization that was able to bring in a top manager that is able to back him with finances as once again we seem to be in a rebuilding phase that happily is a bit more advanced than previous seasons.

Dan Nulty
24 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:29:40
I love your enthusiasm but I genuinely think given the financial world we are in this summer, it will be free transfers and loans and players having to take pay cuts. If we have any sense we will be in that market anyway because we are already falling foul of FFP.

The only way of not doing would be if we manage to ship all the dead wood.

Sam Hoare
25 Posted 17/06/2020 at 16:58:15
Conor@21 even though you’re disagreeing with me I agree with much that you say! I just think you’re judging Gomes on what he could be (or was) rather than what he is. No doubt injuries have been a factor but he’s just not looked consistent with us bar that purple patch last spring. I worry he never will. But hopefully if he can stay fit and free of injuries (a big if?) then he might reach that level consistently.

I’m not that convinced by Hojbjerg but do think Buendia and Laimer are good players, certainly better than what we currently have. Hoolahan was an excellent (underrated) player when attacking but certainly can’t match Buendia in work rate and defensive contribution.

Yes, heard good things about Idah. He’s a striker though I think and so didn’t feature in these considerations.

Tony Everan
26 Posted 17/06/2020 at 18:47:17
Harvey Barnes, the young Leicester player, is one I have been following for a couple of years. 22 and plays predominantly on the left of midfield. Him on the left and Buendia on the right would make our midfield much more resilient and combative defensively, whilst providing assistance to the forwards. Both players have incremental improvement in them too.

What do you make of Barnes ? Anyway it is an unlikely one as Leicester are flying high and will have no intention of selling, but the lad could double or triple his pay packet overnight by moving. (Or threatening to).

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 17/06/2020 at 18:54:59
He gets his head down and runs all day, and when things don’t go right for him he just keeps going. I’m not sure how good he his, but his non stop running is a major attribute Tony, and I wish we had a few who produced the same amount of effort as Barnes does.
Robert Tressell
28 Posted 17/06/2020 at 19:10:30
Excellent list. To state the obvious a lot of it comes down to how much money we can spend. Maybe circa £60m net with relatively little coming in through sales. It then comes down to formation and priorities. I think you've nailed it with CB, CM and RW because that's what we need most and also what the rumours are focussed on.

Unfortunately some of those named are destined for a move to a Champs league side (or are already playing champs league) so are probably out - eg Bellingham and the lads from Leipzig. Tonali in particular will not be at Everton next season unfortunately.

Otherwise most of the musings I have on the subject involve those on your lists.

I'd probably add:

Left centre back: N'dicka of Frankfurt (along the lines of Salisu and wanted by Arsenal)

Defensive midfield Diallo of Brest

Box to Box: Cyprien of Nice (decent goal return and not much left on his contract), Pellegrini of Roma (lots of assists) and Serdar of Schalke (lots of goals)

Right wing: Bailey of Leverkusen, Orsolini of Bologna or Berardi of Sassuolo (all 3 with very strong goal and assist records in quality leagues)

We should, however, brace ourselves for a free transfer (eg T. Silva), the ubiquitous Barcelona player (eg Todibo) a random loan (eg Bernadeschi of Juve) a disappointing cast-off (eg Andreas Pereira of Man Utd) and someone out of leftfield (eg Kudus from Copenhagen).

Weirdly that underwhelming approach could end up being quite good.

And by the end of the next few weeks of semi - competive kick arounds in empty stadiums we might find Gordon, Gordon and Adeniran fill some of problem positions. Who knows?!

Conor McCourt
29 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:12:14
Sam, I wasn't actually intending to be defending André on this thread but merely noting that, if a young André Gomes was on that list, the irony was that he would be at the top end ahead of many of your proposals, or not at all, because he was unrealistic.

But I do think it's an important point as there are a few posters who seem to revel in slating the player, yourself included. I have already stated that he's not an elite player, and whether we should have signed him with his fitness issues is another matter, but he is quality when fit.

Last summer, I warned about losing Gana more than most but his partnership with Gomes I believe was the platform for our decent end to the season and 8th-place finish. In my opinion, he started reasonably well, struggled in the winter in a new country, then finished with a flourish and his form mirrored the team meaning he was a key cog. When he played well, we played well. I believe this season he has been missed much like Gana and Kurt.

For those who constantly deride him at what he is good at... well, just look at his performances against our neighbours, if you need reminding. Pochettino is no mug, don't forget. This season he was injured early on and he ballsily played on and came in for criticism despite turning up with Schneiderlin or Sigurdsson for a partner, so you don't need to be a genius why he didn't look amazing, when half-fit and with partners slower and poorer defensively than even him. He had a terrible injury and probably won't be properly match fit until next year. This entire season has been a write off for him so it's harsh to judge on that basis.

The reason it's an important point is that I feel he has been a cheap target yet a player like Iwobi who has offered zero all season doesn't come in for any criticism from you except his price tag. I would be less happy to see a fit Iwobi start on the left than having André in the middle beside someone with energy like Zakaria.

In fairness to you, I share your concerns about him maintaining peak fitness and therefore his consistency but I feel there are much bigger fish to fry within this squad before we lump in on André. He's had a terrible year and perhaps should get a little more slack than some others. If those who have forgotten how they were jumping for joy at Brands's work this summer want to now slate Marcel for buying another sicknote, then perhaps that would be a more appropriate target.


Andrew Ellams
30 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:32:11
If we could offload Iwobi and bring in Fraser, that would fund other moves elsewhere.
Ian Bennett
31 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:57:45
My 10 cents on Gomes is we've got bigger problems than him. Yes, he's got it in his locker to offer more, but this needs a big change in where his average position on the pitch is.

I've not seen a stat, but I see a player that takes the ball off the back 4, and looks to maintain possession building us up the pitch. It's harder therefore to criticise a player for not enough goals or assists when he's 50 yards from goal most of the time in the middle of two centre-backs.

Robert Tressell
32 Posted 17/06/2020 at 22:43:37
Gomes is the least of our worries. 2 or 3 good signings can bring it back together. Even one class act can make a real difference. Sam, your carefully constructed lists show that the players are always there and within our price bracket. That's what makes it all so infuriating. Leicester and Wolves have shown what good recruitment within a medium- to long-term strategy looks like. I also hope you're working on a new series of The English Game...
Steve Shave
33 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:23:11
Thanks for this, Sam, I enjoyed your article immensely, as you know I bloody loves a transfer rumour.

Firstly, I have to leap to Gomes's defense, he has the ability but needs a run of games, agreed though he needs to add more going forward.

I know a bit about some on your list but I have been banging the Buendia drum (for the right-midfield position) all season. My family are all Norwich fans and rave about him and a couple of the youngsters. He is industrious, hard-working and has a creative flair (as indicated by his high number of key passes stats – not too many converted into a assists, however).

At centre-midfield, I am warming to the safe option of Hojberg, a leader who would bring some bite into the midfield (maybe they will take Schneiderlin in part exchange!!!).

Sangare is a risk but could be well suited to the Premier League. I'd love Allan but I fear he might be on the wane, it would present to great a financial risk. For centre-back then, it's Gabriel all day for me.

Sam Hoare
34 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:28:55
Tony @26, big fan of Barnes. Highly doubt he'd be available though.

Robert @28, as usual our transfer tastes are similar and all of those players were on my long list except for Serdar. Ndicka especially was almost one of my picks.

Tom Bowers
35 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:34:15
There are so many possibilities but all I wish for is some players who will be ready to slot in immediately with getting injured before they kick a ball or pretty soon thereafter which seems to be the norm for Everton acquisitions.
Sam Hoare
36 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:37:07
Conor @29, i'd have definitely been very keen on a Benfica/Valencia Gomes!

I wouldn't say I'm slating him, I've said a few times that he's still our best centre-midfield, I just don't think he's been as good as many make out. He does miss Gana (as do most of our team) and will benefit from a better partner. As others say, he's certainly not the biggest issue though I'm not convinced he's currently suited to 4-4-2.

Iwobi has not been good enough but even then I think he is in our top 3 for chance creation from open play. He's doing at least part of his job. But will need to do more to stay in the team. He's another I'm not sure is best suited to 4-4-2.

Andy Crooks
37 Posted 17/06/2020 at 00:02:11
Saw the title, Sam, and settled down with a cup of tea (am on a sabbatical from alcohol after some early lockdown madness) to enjoy it. I love this sort of stuff and nobody does it better.

It's like having the chances of the Royal Ascot runners summed up without having to painstakingly study the form. Do you think that the upper end of the transfer market will become even more exclusive with little drop in value?

I fear that we are stuck with players whose already dwindling value has now crashed and are competing with many clubs with for middle-range players. The Ancelotti factor seems to be our biggest drawing card.

Great article, Sam.

Steve Ferns
38 Posted 18/06/2020 at 01:17:59
Great article, Sam, as always.

Bottom line is that this “summer window” will be very different. Football finances are unknown just now.

Forget Thiago Silva. He's well past it. He's all about pace, and at 36 (very soon), that pace has all but gone, and so has his game. Sure he'd do a job, but he's on £350,000 per week, there's no way he signs for less than £200,000 a week, and a 2-year deal, and 38-year-old Thiago Silva is not worth that. He's crap in the air, he's soft, he sulks, and as for being a leader, how? He can't speak English. No thanks.

Any centre-back we sign needs to speak English, be a leader, be strong in the air and an organiser. He needs to be a right nark and give everyone a kick up the arse.

As for André Gomes, you're so very, very wrong. The guy is absolutely our most gifted player. Watch him hit those long diagonals to a technical player like Digne. He wallops it into him knowing he can control it in his stride and go. Then watch him hit to Coleman and it's not the same pass as the Irishman lacks the control. With better players, he can be more ambitious in his passing.

He covers far more ground than you say, I'm sure his stats were the best at Everton and up in the top 20 in the Premier League for average km per game last season. You have blinkers on and only see the bad. André doesn't have good tackling stats because his brief was often to jockey the man into channels and force turnovers in a way not recognised on your stats.

He's very capable defensively. And as I keep reminding you, he emerged as Portugal's top young player as an attacking midfielder, when he scored goals. He is too deep to get opportunities for us, and you don't see him miss many chances. We need someone who can allow him further up the pitch to dominate the midfield more and get into shooting positions.

We definitely need a central midfielder, a centre-back and a right-midfielder, but you named right forwards, when we need someone who plays deeper if we play 4-4-2. Most of who you mentioned are right-hand side of a front 3 in a 4-3-3. Like Richarlison, they just can't play right in a 4-4-2, no way is Malcom tracking back and covering Coleman. He must play with no defensive responsibility. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sidibé signed and playing right-midfield next season with Coleman and Kenny at right-back.

Don Alexander
39 Posted 18/06/2020 at 01:42:31
Due respect to Sam for taking the time to research his opinions, but the bottom line is how many of the players he assesses would be attractive first XI players for any other consistently Europe qualifying English club?

I don't have the skill-set to know, like most everyone else in Everton's boardroom "management" for the past 40 fucking desperate years. Demonstrably.

And who's the one ever-present figure in our useless boardroom throughout?

(Don't bother to answer – it's as obvious as Sunday following Saturday to anyone with more than a single brain cell and I apologise if I've inadvertently offended any Toffee trilobyte fans).

Terry White
40 Posted 18/06/2020 at 03:54:06
Once again, Don (#39), can't you, for once at least, give it a rest?

I wonder whether you actually mean to write "trilobite", rather than trilobyte, in your abuse? Yes, it's offensive and I don't believe for one second it was inadvertent, so why derisively say you are "apologising"?

The developers of the computer game, Trilobyte, might also be offended by your using the name of their game in such a derisory way.

Alan J Thompson
41 Posted 18/06/2020 at 05:27:37
Like Dave Abrahams, I was wondering if there aren't more British players suitable for these roles and around the same price and if any of the players mentioned fall into the Onyekuru class and where it may stand with Brexit et al?
Steve Shave
42 Posted 18/06/2020 at 06:50:51
Steve (38) I think Buendia as an option at right-midfield would suit a 4-4-2. Stats from the 1st half of the season had him tracking back more than any other winger in the Premier League. The stats also indicated he made more tackles than any other winger and created more key passes.

At the end of the season, they went up to the Premier League Farke was quoted as saying he will be Norwich's first £50m player. Now given that he lost some form (and was actually dropped for a few games), Covid-19 and the likelihood Norwich go down, I would hope we can get him at half that price. He's the right age too.

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:00:18
If reports are to be believed then it looks like Fraser wants to come to Everton. Not sure how good he his but he’s British, and he’s on a free, although their won’t be nothing free about the wages he’s going to be after.
Sam Hoare
44 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:15:12
Andy@37, thanks, hope you are well!

Yes, think you are exactly right, I expect the premium players to perhaps drop the least in value while the lower and mid range players may have to be sold cheaply. I think Brands will have to work hard to shift some of our deadwood and we’ll likely take some big losses as we are seeing with Schneiderlin potentially going to Nice for £2m.

Robert Tressell
45 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:33:19
Steve F - I think we probably all have different views on what our most effective formation would be. That then skews what our preferred recruitment looks like. You're right, Ancelotti seems likely to play a 442 with narrow playmakers rather than true wingers. I think it'd be easier to fix our first 11 by going 433 - adding an extra body in midfield where we look so weak and allowing someone like Malcom or Neres or Lozano to stay high up the pitch (as you say this won't work in a 442). It may even be that Gordon becomes our option if we play this way.

Wouldn't be surprised if we sign a couple of versatile players who can allow us to switch between 442 and 433 (and even 532). Sidibe is one such player.

Whatever the case we need at least one mobile and, for my taste, quite violent player in the centre of midfield alongside Gomes. That's the absolute priority. I'd love Rabiot but there are less glamorous names especially from the French league who could do an excellent job.

Sam Hoare
46 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:33:40
Steve F@38, thank you, good to see you back on these pages.

Yes, Thiago Silva is far from ideal for me, Ancelotti knows him better than anyone though and if the financials are right then who knows? Not one I’m hoping for.

We’ve had the Gomes debate before and expect neither of us will budge. I don't only see the bad and have pointed out his excellent passing range and technique. But it’s not enough. You say he’s “very capable defensively”. There is zero evidence of this! If he is jockeying men into channels then he’s not doing it well as he is dribbled past twice as much as anyone on our team! Surely you can at least admit he’s poor defensively? I still think he’s our best CM and hope he’ll do better when fitter and with an industrious tackler (like Gana) beside him. By all means get him up the pitch and see if he can do more. He needs to.

You’re right about the right midfielders/wingers. I was mainly looking for players who could bring more goals which we need. Sidibe won’t bring that. Most of the players on my list are young and hopefully some of them could be coached to do the required defensive work. Maybe not. Someone like Richarlison is rare in that he can fulfill both remits. If Walcott can be used at RM by Ancelloti I reckon most on my list could too.

Robert Tressell
47 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:43:35
I'm hoping someone in the MLS sees a starring role for Walcott. If Bradley Wright-Phillips can do it...
Conor McCourt
48 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:11:52
Sam that presentation of a silly stat like that in Iwobi's defence winds me up. If Alex didn't have an assist or a 2nd assist in his locker he would have signed for Brentford for 2.6m rather us fooled into a 26m deal.

Our keeper, centre backs and central defenders are unlikely to be top of that list and so he's third in a list of about six players many of whom aren't particularly creative like Theo and as I said this is his golden ticket.

Last years form from Andre wasn't acceptable to you yet he dominated his opposing player in at least half the games. I can't remember one game where Alex dominated the full back this season and we paid more for him than Gomes.

For me Alex is your typical Arsenal player who turns it on when they are two up against weak opposition and everyone jumps on their stats. If you look at his game in the middle against a passive West Ham then he looked a world beater and this was his only top game for us. I look at what he brings to the table as a defender playing against him.

Alex maybe the best or the worst of our widemen but he is barely an upgrade even if you think the former. If I were marking Theo I would be scared of the run he makes where he comes out wide to in because I couldn't match his pace and he would be clean through. I would be worried about the little pockets Bernard picks up. I would be scared about the energy and directness of Gordon. Even Lookman who we sold I would be afraid of his unpredictability and skill.

Now Alex may well be best of these but I would be getting my cigar out if he was an opponent. Not quick enough to hurt you, not strong enough to bully you, not skilful enough to embarrass you and despite his athleticism too mentally weak to grind you down.

He may indeed become better playing centrally in a three or with age like his uncle but if a player is one of the most expensive in your history you should at least know what his position is before you sign him.

Steve Ferns great post you have echoed my views on Silva but I hope you are wrong about relying on Coleman and Kenny as our full backs.

Conor McCourt
49 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:31:39
Robert @ 47- just on the Theo point. Judging by Carlo's repeated selection of Theo I'm not sure he will be going anywhere. His only competition seems to be Sidibe who maybe on his way. Also he hasn't experimented with the other widemen in that role. It maybe that Walcott is his first choice and he may look for someone on the left as he seems to have less confidence in those?
Robert Tressell
50 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:41:07
On Iwobi, I wouldn't have signed him and he was massively overpriced. However, he's got ability, he does look for the forward pass and he's reasonably hard working also. He hasn't yet played in a decent team structure with a decent midfield alongside him. I thought he was the one player last season who was capable of seeing Kean's clever movement and attempting the pass. There's more to come from him.

On Walcott, I always think what's the point of being fast if you're not very good at football. He provides discipline on the flank so helps with the tactical structure (maybe why Carlo likes him) but there has to be a more productive option. If it's Gordon then fine, but if not I really hope we upgrade.

Tony Everan
51 Posted 18/06/2020 at 10:49:18
Thiago Silva 36 years old, new to the premier league and on 200 000 pw. I can’t believe we are seriously considering this. Look at his compatriot David Luiz , he was a class act too , but is on the wane at 33, and finding the PL too much. The same logic may not apply entirely to Thiago Silva , but he is 3 years older even than Luiz .

I know Carlo will want some known quantities but even Allan at 29/30 is a massive fee and wage outlay. Carlo has to be backed, but can someone give him a nudge and tell him to look at the best possible players under 25 for us to invest in.

Anyone at 29/30 or god forbid 36 has to be on a free with a wage structure that is in our favour. Or forget it, they are expensive gambles we don't need to take , there are better options for the wellbeing of the club.

Fran Mitchell
52 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:01:00
The Guardian reportibg that we are after S. Korean central defender Kim Min-Jae. It says " The 23-year-old, nicknamed “the Monster” because of his 6ft 3in frame and ability to dominate physically, is valued at £13.5m by Beijing Guoan, who are prepared to sell.
(...)
Kim has 30 caps – a tally that would be higher had he not missed the 2018 World Cup because of injury – and he has impressed scouts with his quick feet, long passing and reading of the game, as well as his aggression.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

53 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:16:30
Hi Fran. How's yer doing?

You got out of Brazil at a good time when you did lad.

Fran Mitchell
54 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:24:52
Tell me about it Jay, although it brings me no pleasure. The thought of the Northeast with no São João parties seems just wrong.

And unfortunately with the governance at be, any visits to my second home seem a long way away.

But it is a very precarious situation, so many friends are basically living hand to mouth, and I was basically in a middle class bubble over there, so those worse off, god knows what they can do.

Sam Hoare
55 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:40:51
Conor@48, you're slightly putting words into my mouth. I never said that Andre's form last year was not acceptable to me. I've frequently repeated that he is our best CM currently. I just don't think he is as good as some (like you and Steve) claim him to be. I can't agree that he dominated his opposing player in at least half the games last year, I remember maybe two or three at best.

You're right, my stat for Iwobi was a bit silly in isolation. But his creative stats for this and last season in terms of chances created from open play, 2nd assists, passes into the box etc all rank favourably to both his Everton and Arsenal team-mates and indeed to the rest of the league. He's a very decent creator, but equally I've also never said that his form was great or even good.

I think Gomes is not as good as many think and Iwobi is not as bad as many think. Neither of them has been good enough this season, though both have some mitigating factors. For me Gomes is currently in our starting XI quite comfortably whereas Iwobi is not.

Sam Hoare
56 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:46:20
Robert@45, yes. It seems to me that Carlo currently favours a formation that is more 4213 in posession at the moment with the left winger coming inside to occupy more of a 10 role (which suits Bernard or Iwobi) and the right winger (usually Walcott) staying a little higher and wider to utilise pace in behind. If this continues it makes sense to look for a right midfielder with good attacking output though Steve F is right, it should ideally be someone who can get up and down and defend as we return to more of a 442 when out of posession.
Patrick McFarlane
57 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:22:23
According to the Echo, Everton are an option for Jesus Corona should he leave Porto according to Mexican reports. El Universal, cited by Sport Witness, it’s ‘unlikely’ the 27-year-old will stay at the club next season with the Dragons needing to raise funds.

It's claimed that Brands overheard a telephone conversation between Moshiri and Kenwright in which they were discussing the latest financial figures and Bill said "Jesus!" and Moshiri replied "Corona!" Brands immediately set the wheels in motion to tempt the Porto player to sign for Everton - don't believe a word of it myself.

Ian Bennett
58 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:40:45
Relaxation of ffp seems to be coming. Wonder if this will see Usmanovs real intent?
Steve Ferns
59 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:55:35
Sam, you will eat your words on Gomes. He is a fantastic player and he is sound defensively. You need to watch him with more objectivity.
Tony Everan
60 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:15:57
I am positive about Gomes and I think we will see much more from him when we he has a much better central midfielder working with him. Along with a much more combative, functional midfield in general. The right midfielder we sign should add to that.

I don’t view Gomes as a luxury player and defensively his stats aren’t great but there is an intelligence about his play. I like the way he can retain possession, shield the ball and create a bit of time and space and composure. The stats don’t flag these great attributes up. We need more of that composure under pressure.

What there is no debate about is that Andre was a better player with the stability and work rate of Zouma and Gana behind him. He needs a complimentary midfielder around him and with Gbamin out an enforcer will be bought. A Fernandinho type would be a fantastic partner for him.

Every way you look at it these one ( or hopefully two) central midfield signings this summer are crucial.

Sam Hoare
61 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:26:14
Steve F, I hope I do! I've never doubted his ability, simply that he has not shown it consistently enough at Everton so far to merit such high praise.

In terms of watching objectively, straight back at you.

Steve Ferns
62 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:45:37
Sam, whenever I've watched Gomes with people who were themselves gifted footballers, they have always raved about Gomes. My dad particularly. I even remember listening to Radio 5 live for one swag match and, whoever the pundit was (think it was an ex-London club player), he was blown away by Gomes and couldn't stop talking about him. I think he's a real players' player. I've never seen an Everton player with his passing ability before. Ever. It's unreal. The way he can drop passes on someone's boot from 50 yards away is breathtaking to watch.

The problem is, you need to remember that a bad player can make a good player look bad. I always remember watching Everton with my dad in about 1991. Sheedy smashed a 60-yard diagonal that bounced once and went straight out into the Main Stand (Goodison Road) where we were sat. The guys around me all gave Sheedy loads and, being 12, I kind of joined in, only for my dad to say to me that it was a great pass, only we didn't have Trevor Steven anymore and whoever it was playing right midfield didn't have the ability to make the run or read the pass, and moved and then stopped and made Sheedy look bad.

Gomes hits passes with more venom into Digne. He really thumps it. Digne can control it in his stride and Gomes is able to bring the best out of Digne. Contrast that with Seamus Coleman who doesn't have the same level of control, and Gomes cannot hit the same pass.

Too often, our players stand stock still. They won't move. They can't read the passes. Better quality players will bring out the best in Gomes.

We also need someone who can compliment him. That's someone with pace and energy like Gueye had. But someone who can also pick up the ball and drive forwards like Gbamin was meant to. This could be Allan. It would allow Gomes to be in the number 8 position he favours and getting closer to the goal so he can shoot more, because he's got one hell of a shot on him. Gomes also needs Sigurdsson out of the side as he takes up positions that Gomes wants to move into. With Allan in tandem with Gomes in an Ancelotti 4-4-2, we will see more of the best of Gomes.

Sam Hoare
63 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:25:50
Steve, I think we can all see that Gomes is a very good footballer and capable of things that no-one else in the team is able to do. My question is how much does that actually benefit the team in its current state? Might his ability as a 'footballer' sometimes mask some other less apparent deficiencies? He played with excellent players at Barca but never quite convinced (though I know injury had a large part in that).

I think with Gbamin's injury we will likely see a lot more of Gomes over the next 12 months. I really hope we see the best of him but my concern is that the book may not be quite as good as the cover. Either way, he's still our best centre-midfielder currently and we'll surely get the ball winner we currently lack this summer to help bring the best out of him. Then only time will tell.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

64 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:36:51
Steve @ 59.

'You need to watch [Gomes] with more objectivity.'

That's naughty Steve, elevating yourself as having greater objectivity than Sam who is correct to retort:

'In terms of watching objectively, straight back at you.'

I don't do knee-jerk. I don't flip-flop in my opinion about players. I assess them game-by-game on their match day performance. If a player plays well, I praise them. If they don't, I say so. I don't have favourties that I will excuse and defend to the death, no matter how badly they play. I don't have scapegoats that I am incapable of seeing any good in.

Hell, I've ever been very contrarian in my assessment of Schneiderlin during his time at Everton, not sharing the opinion that he was good when he first arrived, and defending him when he was nowhere near as bad as some made out in later seasons.

On Sam's assessment of Gomes, he and I have always held the same opinion.

Neither Sam nor I deny the skill sets he has. He has yet to consistently perform to a level you attribute to him in the Blue shirt of Everton.

The implication of your words is that Sam is blind to the good things André does. As Sam said, straight back at you. Your objectivity appears blind to the many poor plays he demonstrates also:

* over hitting/mis-directing passes even when he has the time and space to make a more telling pass;
* his tendency to give away many cheap free kicks around our own penalty area which HAVE resulted in goals against us;
* for all his array of fine passing, his chance and goal creating passing stats are virtually zero;
* a poor goal return from an area which we need to see a greater contribution from.

Beyond his outstanding performance vs 'them' in the late Pickford howler defeat over the park, and his superb 30 minutes on his return from the near-career-ending injury v Arsenal, André Gomes has never been 'THE man' for Everton dominating the opposition in the way you describe.

Maybe with the right players around him in a formation best suited to his game, Ancelotti can yet tease that out of him.

But in my objective opinion, your claims about Gomes based on his two years in Everton Blue do not represent reality.

Steve Ferns
65 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:37:42
You improve the current state of the team same. The pieces need to fit together better. We need players who can make the runs for Gomes out wide. Walcott is quick of feet, but not of mind (in a football sense). Signing Allan would be bad financially and at 29 that's not a smart thing to do, but from a fantasy football point of view, the team would be greatly improved and Gomes would suddenly be a much better player as a result.

Barcelona was as you said, injuries and as he said himself, a crisis of confidence. Despite this, it wasn't a Sandro situation where we instantly knew we had signed a dud, they kept getting him back into the team. He showed what he could do in training, and watch his highlight reel and you'll see lots of great things done in a Barca shirt. The problem is, they're all great players for that side and they all do great things all the time. It's expected. But when they cock up, it's remembered more.

Also, don't forget Portugal. Portugal have a long history of producing gifted central midfielders. Gomes is the man for Portugal. If he's fit, he's straight back in the side, because they know how good he is. He makes that team tick. And he's been a very important player for them and Cristiano (Ronaldo) Aveiro loves him. He's one who can give him the balls he needs to get into the positions he works his magic from.

Steve Ferns
66 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:46:55
Jay, it was Conor who used the word 'dominate'. Gomes isn't a domineering player. He produces match-winning moments, though not necessarily by scoring or assisting. You watch Portuguese football, particularly when he was at Benfica and scored a decent amount of goals.

You're right that I was naughty, and yeah, I might be biased towards Gomes being Portuguese and my love of Portugal and the Portuguese.

I'm certain that Gomes is one hell of a player. No doubt in my mind about that.

Paul Tran
67 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:48:56
The interesting debate on this thread bears out a point I'll be making till I'm blue(r) in the face.

We keep buying peripheral players, who will be good 'with better players around them', rather than actually buying the players with the clout and authority to bring out the best in them.

Until we buy the keeper, centre back and centre mid with authority, we'll be gambling every time we splash the cash on these "1 game in 4" players.

Robert Tressell
68 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:50:43
I think the truth is that Gomes is a very skillful passer and a graceful mover. Quite a big physical unit too. Bit like Carrick in some respects.

Also in his downsides which is that he can look a bit casual and doesn't run around like a maniac. Weird though Barcelona's transfer activity has been in recent years, you don't get picked up as possible heir to Xavi or Busquets if you're not up to much.

The problem is that (possibly like Sidibé) he might look great if you slot him into a side like Man City. At Everton... much more patchy.

Better quality players around him will showcase his true talents and a more mobile physical midfield will help him through the rigours of the Premier League.

Steve Ferns
69 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:55:54
Paul, didn't we gamble to assemble the great side of the ‘80s?

We cannot just do what you say. It's not possible. We need to keep gambling until we get lucky. And even if we sign the right player, he might end up like Gbamin.

Walcott has authority. Ashley Williams was captain of Wales and Swansea. We've signed those players. It didn't work, because it's easier said than done.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

70 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:05:18
Wot Paul says @ 67.

Other than possibly Lukaku, in the last 10-15-20 years (and even that name is anathema to some), who has Everton signed that made a huge, immediate and instant impact on our results and performances?

Yes, team and squad building is all about fitting together the different components to have a super-charged engine.

But we need to start recruiting players that give us the roaring voom-voom-voom horse power. Not the spark plugs to give marginal gains to what we already have and largely failed with.

Paul Tran
71 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:23:26
Yes, Steve, we gambled on an old crock has-been striker and a journeyman midfielder. Yes, it worked. I remember coming back from that tragic quarter-final defeat at OT. The unanimous view in the car was that we desperately needed some nous. Gray & Reid provided the nous the younger players could learn from.

We keep spending £20 or 30M on peripheral players who fold like a deck chair under pressure. Williams flopped because he excelled in teams under constant pressure. If Walcott has authority, I'm looking for a dictionary.

I thought the point of having Ancelotti as manager was that we can attract better players.

Can't do it? Not sure Carlo agrees.

Steve Ferns
72 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:30:34
Paul, if we sign Fraser, then it’s because Carlo wants him!

Whilst you are right about Ashley Williams, and I have said the exact same thing many times, don’t forget Ashley Williams played for a Swansea team that also got on the front foot and attacked and he was often a key component of that attack by getting the ball and hitting long passes from the back. We never saw that Ashley Williams at all.

Steve Brown
73 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:33:29
André Gomes is the only person in the Everton team who I trust to retain possession and his range of possession is excellent. His goal scoring and assists could improve, but that is primarily due to the role he played under Silva with everything going down the flanks. He is a top player and the least of our problems in midfield.
Paul Tran
74 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:38:11
Steve, I'll trust Carlo's judgement on buying players till I have a reason not to.
Steve Brown
75 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:46:58
The problem with signing established Premier League pros like Walcott, Williams, Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin is that they don't represent value. We paid over £100 million for these players with huge salaries and long-term deals, yet not one of them would earn a regular place in a Champions League side.

I don't mind taking a risk on a good player who is still hungry, like Barry or Milner, provided the cost of signing them carries relatively low risk. That was the case with Reid, Gray and Power.

Conor McCourt
76 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:56:01
Paul Tran,

"If Walcott has authority, I'm looking for a dictionary" — love it!! Totally cracked me up!!

Darren Hind
77 Posted 18/06/2020 at 17:23:37
Carlo has inherited most of the great players that have played for him.

He's got to do it the other way around here..or put his faith in Brands.

Paul Tran
78 Posted 18/06/2020 at 17:54:40
You might be right there, Darren, but on the basis that he's the only one of our 'brains trust' that hasn't wasted millions yet, he's got my trust for now. Possibly until he starts spending!
Paul Tran
79 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:14:50
Conor, I was determined to say something that made you laugh more than Defi Du Seuil!
Darren Hind
80 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:25:04
Na. Not for me Paul. Too many people have been trusted to bring in players of sufficient quality. Nobody has managed it for decades

Time we made them earn our trust.

Hope you are taking it to the enemy now your other sport is back


Tony Twist
81 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:27:42
Hojbjerg just looks like a younger version of Schneiderlin so what's the betting we get him. Not what we need. In Brands we trust? Don't want anyone over 25 years old please and please can we have someone with character and steel.
Paul Tran
82 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:44:03
I'm shitting winners this week, Darren. Not before time.
Darren Hind
83 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:55:05
Good to know Paul
Sam Hoare
84 Posted 18/06/2020 at 19:14:29
Tony@81, honestly Hojbjerg is a vastly inferior version of Schneiderlin at Southampton. Morgan at Southampton was a really high-class centre-midfielder making tons of tackles and interceptions whilst also managing 3-5 goals a season and creating a decent amount of chances. But then all that went away.

Hojbjerg isn't someone who excites me but he puts in a lot of effort, covers a lot of ground and does the basics very well. He does have a bit of character and steel. He's better than what we have currently and maybe he's capable of better. Or maybe he'd do a Schneiderlin and go downhill. So hard to predict.

David Pearl
85 Posted 18/06/2020 at 19:53:52
Without a great deal of thought needed, I'd say we will likely get at least a couple from Silva, Holjbjerg, Fraser and Barkley. All either free, loan or cheaper due to contract. They would all be an upgrade... and especially if we stick with the 4-4-2.
Mike Gaynes
86 Posted 18/06/2020 at 20:56:58
Andy #37, please detail the "early lockdown madness". Did it involve the armed forces or just the police?
Ryan Holroyd
87 Posted 18/06/2020 at 21:17:05
Good article... but we've no money, so won't be happening.
Sam Hoare
88 Posted 19/06/2020 at 09:04:03
Ryan, I’m pretty sure Moshiri has money. Whether he wants to spend more of it on us I’m not sure how anyone on here can know. FFP restrictions are being relaxed this year so we definitely could spend.

I’d be surprised if we don’t have a net spend of at least £30-40m.

If Gabriel is on his way to Napoli then Salisu could be a very smart budget option, allowing us to concentrate funds on the right central midfielder.

Clive Rogers
89 Posted 19/06/2020 at 09:30:37
Ryan/Sam, it was reported about 4 weeks ago that Moshiri’s wealth had increased by about £300M over the year. So he’s not short of cash. Doesn’t mean we have it to spend of course.
Ralph Basnett
90 Posted 19/06/2020 at 11:12:07
Why are most people putting Bernard in their team?

We got him for nothing but have seen enough to realise he is not going to cut it.

Please drop the Ryan Fraser shouts, as above the reason the top six haven't snapped him up is he is not worth a punt even on a free and sell on!!!

Derek Knox
91 Posted 19/06/2020 at 14:00:49
Good article Sam, and one you have obviously done a lot of research for, while I have heard of a lot of the names, and in some cases, seen them play (on TV) there are a lot I have never heard of.

Some of the proposed fees seem ridiculous, but if they become superstars, maybe not, but then other Clubs would be after them too. Up to now we have had little value commensurate with fees for any of our players, with the possible exception of Richarlison.

The other thing I noted was that in all your proposed scenarios Jonjoe Kenny is at Right Back, while I would be made up if the lad could hold the spot down, but I'm afraid (loyalty put to one side) he hasn't, (apart from the odd game) been consistent enough for me.

Nicholas Ryan
92 Posted 19/06/2020 at 15:02:35
'What is it that Gomes brings...?' OMG, I'm going to have to go and lie down in a dark room!

By the way, is the Bernard on all the team-sheets, Bernard Levin or Bernard Cribbins?!

Sam Hoare
93 Posted 19/06/2020 at 15:07:07
Derek, I share your doubts about Jonjoe. A look at his stats at Schalke tend to match what I see with my eyes, someone who is dependable but not dynamic. A decent tackler who puts in some decent crosses and always tries his best. He is dribbled past less than Sidibe but more than Coleman and very rarely beats a man. He's not great in the air but has managed a few goals and strikes the ball cleanly. He'll probably give you a 6 or 7 out of ten most games and maybe that's enough currently?

Ideally we'd find an upgrade but I think the other positions are more of a priority this summer. I think Kenny may get one season to show what he can do in the Premier League. Unless Brands has identified a cheap right-back that would be an upgrade.

Jay Harris
94 Posted 19/06/2020 at 16:25:36
Sam,

I commend you on a great post that has us all talking, debating, dreaming at one of the flattest periods in the club's history, what with Covid-19 and our current standing.

I agree with you about the weakness being mainly in central midfield where the lack of goals and inability to do something effective with the ball and not give up possession so easily has been so prevalent in our game.

I don't know or haven't seen enough of the prospects to show a preference for one or the other but I do trust Carlo's judgement (moreso than Brands) to improve the squad.

I have always maintained it is a team game and that is far more important than individual ability but the key issues for me are grit and determination combined with goalscoring ability and any acquisitions should address this.

I also think we should place more emphasis on developing in-house (Gordon, for example) and look more towards English talent, such as the lad at Newcastle, and if Ryan Fraser is available on a free, he would bring energy and commitment to the squad.

On a final note, although I said I do not know enough about some of the prospects you list, I have watched Todibo on 3 or 4 occasions and do not think the lad is anywhere near ready for the Premier League.

Gavin Johnson
95 Posted 19/06/2020 at 17:45:08
Sam, I see FFP as been relaxed so I hope that we spend something in the region of £100m on 3-4 players. These would be my picks.

CB - Gabriel, but if he goes to Napoli I'd sign Thiago Silva on a 1 year contract and offer him the wages of the outgoing Schneiderlin. While I'd prefer the younger Brazilian, I think Silva could be a great player to tide us over while Lewis Gibson has a productive loan at a competing Championship side. Todibo would also be useful option.

CM - I'll go with Allan if we can get him for around £20m. I think he's custom made for us playing a 4-4-2. There's no sell on value but I think the immediate impact he could make to the side outweighs going for a younger man like Sangare. Sangare would be my 2nd choice.

RW - I'd be tempted to take a punt on Willian who will be out of contract at Chelsea. At 31 he's still scoring and making assists and hasn't lost any pace. He would be great Bosman. Alternatively I'd be pushing for us to sign Under from Roma.

CF and RB aren't essential. We have Kean as 3rd choice striker and Sidibe or Kenny at RB. And while the Frenchmen is only on loan, I can see us taking up the option to either buy or loan him, with Kenny staying in Germany for another year. Whether Kenny returns or stays, I can't think of any RBs available who are better, so it might suit to keep the status quo and go for a major RB target next season. Nathanial Clyne could be also be a different option to Sidibe, albeit a controversial one. He's out of contract, but wouldn't sign him on big wages with his injury history.

CF - I'm happy to stick with Kean for another season, but if the lad wants to go, the swap deal muted for Patrik Schick would be an interesting deal. While Leipzig opted not to buy, I believe he scored 10 in 14, he's only 24 and he was very good at Sampdoria.

So if the Pandemic has really affected our budget I'd be pushing for players like Silva, Sangare and Willian. If we have decent money we should outbid Napoli on Gabriel, and buy Allan and Under.

Tony Abrahams
96 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:03:58
I read something similar about Moshiri, Clive @89, and I was wondering how much money there is to be made, once all the work starts after getting kick-started by our new stadium?

Brian Wilkinson
97 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:15:28
Gavin @95,

FFP has been scrapped until next year, so in my reckoning, you can spend as much as you like. I am sure Paul the Esk would be able to write a nice post with more clarity on this.

If this is the case, Everton should go all out to bring in these players, while the window of opportunity is there. I have a feeling we will be spending a lot more than £100 Million, it's the one chance we have of trying to bridge the gap.

Brent Stephens
98 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:28:33
But don't you need to be careful what you spend this year as it gets counted next year?!

“The new measures state that the current 2020 financial year will not be assessed at all under FFP procedures, and will instead be rolled up into 2021, and the two years assessed together as a single financial period” (The Guardian).

Bill Gall
99 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:31:53
All the names that are being mentioned as possible transfers to Everton, the only name I am interested in is Carlo Ancelotti.

He is the biggest surprise signing that we have had so far, and there is no doubt that myself, other supporters, and pundits wondered how we were able to sign a manager with such a great pedigree and background. This must have been Mr Moshiri who, after becoming owner with his shareholdings, realized that the club needed rebuilding starting at the top.

To be a bit boring, I was told as an apprentice it does not matter what career or hobbies you take up, you have to be like a pyramid and start on the basics, that is the base of the pyramid, and to improve move up the sides.

The Premier team is Everton's move up the sides and Mr Moshiri realized that the failings for not reaching the summit was the failings on the base line and gradually he has started to improve this with financial backing, moves in the boardroom and plans for a new ground, plus having a silent partner who has a financial interest in Everton FC, plus the signing of a recognized winning manager.

I believe Brands's position at this time is to look for the type of player the manager wants, as he has had enough time to be fully aware of the team's weaknesses and after this transfer he will be looking for younger players who will be for the future.

There is so much uncertainty over this transfer window plus the FFP ruling, it will be interesting to see if we get more than 2-3 players in. Myself, I am more interested in seeing how many of the supposed deadwood we can get sold and I suppose that will depend upon how much the club are willing to loose on some of the overpriced players that they paid for.

Gavin Johnson
100 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:36:06
Let's hope so, Brian. If Usmanov is involved as much as we think he is, I definitely see us spending over £100m+ on the likes of Gabriel, Ünder and Allan. You never know though. We always tend to do the opposite when you expect us to do something.

Tbh, I'd also be happy if we were frugal and got Silva, Willian and Sangare. The two Brazilians are Bosman's and Sangare would be available for around £15m.

Brian Wilkinson
101 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:42:01
Next year, Brent, a lot of contracts end for those sat on them.

We should have a lot of those off our books by the time FFP kicks in again.

Brent Stephens
102 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:49:55
Brian, I also hope we get rid of a few!
Sam Hoare
103 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:21:52
Jay @94, Thanks. I've seen Todibo a similar amount. He was poor in 2 games and excellent in the other 2. He has some qualities but would require a lot of patience. I would not be surprised if he's a top defender in 6 years time but may make a lot of mistakes on the way.
Sam Hoare
104 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:29:36
Gavin @95, I'd be wary of splashing out £400k+ wages on Thiago Silva, Allan and Willian. All excellent players but by next season they'd have a combined age pushing 100! And probably they'd all need replacing in 2-3 years.

I'd be happy to get one more experienced player (maybe Allan if financials are right) but mainly want players in the 20-24 range who can become bedrock for the team over next 4-6 years (and ideally still have re-sale value to then re-invest in team).

Sam Bowen
105 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:57:20
Love these articles, Sam, and I know it's ridiculously sad at my age (42) but I still get excited by transfer rumours and the dreams of forming my own team.

Agree with a lot of your selections but I'd definitely add right-back as a priority. Full-backs are so vital to modern football so I'd be interested to see your options in that position. I'm not convinced at all by Kenny and in no way shape or form would I turn the loan of Sidibé into a permanent move.

Even though the current set-up gets the best out of Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, the balance of the rest of the side suffers, especially in our extremely weak midfield.

So, with that in mind, I'd prefer we switch to a proper 4-3-3 but with Richarlison staying high left and investing heavily in the vacant position high right. Very much mirroring Liverpool to be honest. Maybe Cenzig Ünder or Neres could be that player.

My dream would be Coutinho but that's never happening unfortunately. This way we can solidify midfield getting the best out of Gomes but hopefully add more goals.

For midfield, I love Rabiot, I know he's a bit of a dick but he's such a good footballer. Him, Gomes and a proper out and out defensive midfielder (Allan or Hodjberg) sitting at all times would be a formidable trio.

Having read the interview with Carlo in The Guardian this morning, I'm confident that we will still invest and it may be the perfect opportunity to go for it if finances allow as other clubs may well not be able to strengthen. We can still dream.

Sam Hoare
106 Posted 20/06/2020 at 09:58:01
Sam, I tend to agree, I think a new, more complete right-back (someone to match Digne) would be incredibly useful. I just don't know if we have the resources to bring in that many new first-team players, especially if we now need two new centre-midfielders.

In terms of right-back options I think my top end picks would be the likes of Aarons (Norwich), Atal (Nice), Mukiele or Klostermann (Leipzig), Emerson (Barcelona). All excellent prospects who'd be ready to go straight in but probably cost £20m+. Cheaper options might be Cash (Nottm Forest), Tavares (Benfica), Maehle (Genk), Bogle (Derby), Frimpong (Celtic), Kenny Tete (Lyon), Simakan (Strasbourg).

Gavin Johnson
107 Posted 20/06/2020 at 10:57:36
Sam, I definitely wouldn't want us to sign free oldies, but I'd be happy to bring in Thiago Silva on a 1-year deal, besides Willian or Allan so we're only left with one older player come the end of next season.

I like some of the options you've given at right-back.

Jerome Shields
108 Posted 20/06/2020 at 12:29:21
I agree with you regarding midfield, but there is a lack of depth at the back and there still is no reliable finisher. Ancelotti will want more movement and dual defence and attack capabilities from his players in all positions.

Everton is caught in a time warp as far as rigid positional play is concerned with players brought in at considerable expense to match. This policy was based on Premier League survival, rather than winning anything. Unfortunately, given the Covid-19 crisis and the ingrained problems at Everton due to the existing culture, reputations, contracts, and a squad not worth its valuation, it is going to take another year to put in place the changes needed.

The lack of depth at the back existed prior to the end of last season in all back positions. The emergence of Holgate got Everton through. The extension of Baines's contract shows a make-do attitude. I believe Kenny will get a loan extension.

Also Zouma will continue his reluctance to join Everton, so another defender may be sought. Zouma has never ever given any indication he wants to play for Everton. At 25, he will still think he as one good career move left, but not to Everton.

Seamus is playing well and I think the rest will have done him good and he will have put in the necessary work. Keane is a confidence player, Ancelotti may want a stand-alone player, and Mina has not been prepared to put the work in to stay fit. He is quite comfortable with his part-season career. Both these players are not as mobile as Ancelotti would want and Holgate, in both mobility and in distribution, is superior to both.

Digne found himself pushed back and pressurised this season and wasn't as significant cross-wise. Digne's crosses under Silva always hit the penalty spot, and often were not met. Under Ancelotti, he will be expected to take into account anticipated forward movement. Elvedi and Gabriel would probably be the best targets.

I agree with you regarding Silva. . . Gabriel, who is in the frame, seems to be thinking in terms of his career, so it depends how he gets on, if he is to consider playing for Everton.

Midfield is weak because of the reasons you have given. Ridgid structure is of pandemic proportions currently. There is definitely not enough movement and rarely is a throughball played out of it. As Ancelotti has said, possession, without, speed, movement and the challenging last ball will not get goals. Everton's midfield is nothing but possession and sideways or backwards passing. It obvious that most of our current midfield are coasting, happy with rigid positioning. Sidibé going forward looks better than any of them.

The most improved under Ancelotti is Bernard. Building a midfield round Gomes would be below the standard required, easily pressurised. I expect that Ancelotti would see an addition as necessary in midfield, two if he could move Sigurdsson out with Schneiderlin.

Two out of your selection would be ideal, but the 29-year-old maybe too old. Gbamin would have been in the Ancelotti mould, but hopefully Ancelotti can improve Davies and Iowbi.

The attack is still devoid of a consistent finisher. Calvert Lewin and Richarlison have improved under Ancelotti but still have weaknesses, Calvert-Lewin positionally and Richarlison pass-wise. A consistent finisher is the most difficult find and the mostly costly, with a high-risk tag.

If Ancelotti can get the defence and midfield working proper!y, the attacking should improve. Moise Kean hopefully will come on in the coming season, as will Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. The risk is less if Tosun and Niasse are out of the picture and a step-up replacement found on a budget. This is going to be a make-or-break season for Kean.

Pickford will stay as Number One this season, because his position is a lower priority. He needs an all-round improvement both in his play and attitude this season. If the team improves this season, his wayward balls out will be seen as not suitable in terms of outfield skills for a top-four goalkeeper and he will be replaced next Summer.

Thank you, Sam, for your article. It is the only worthwhile read at this stage in the Summer transfer window.

Steve Shave
109 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:18:52
So, looking at Brands's comments in the press this morning, it confirms what many of us had suspected: we are not going to be backing Carlo with significant funds. Whilst I expected that and understand it, there was a little part of me still hoping for a splurge on top transfer targets.

I would be amazed if we are in for Gabriel, unless we had a buyer for either Keane or Mina. Brands's comments probably mean that Allan is not a possibility either. I'm expecting Fraser and Hojberg with a high-potential but raw centre-back.

Steve Shave
110 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:21:51
If we are skint, what do you think of Mbeumo of Brentford as an option for right-midfield, Sam?
Paul Tran
111 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:29:51
Brands's comments in De Telegraaf were a continuation of the often stated transfer policy: we're close to the limit of FFP and need to ship players out in order to bring in significant purchases.

This is only a story if you've been ignoring FFP rules and hanging onto the speculation of journalists.

Jerome Shields
112 Posted 20/06/2020 at 15:16:04
Steve #109,

Brands talked that way at the beginning of last Summer Transfer window.

Moshiri made funds available late on in the transfer window, as he had done in the previous year, FFP permitting. There will be a big push to reduce the wage bill initially. Moving Schneiderlin on is a good start.

The success of this push will determine a lot. I expect little change in transfer policy this Summer, other than who Ancelotti can attract.

Sam Hoare
113 Posted 20/06/2020 at 20:22:28
Steve @110, yes I like the look of Mbuemo. Not sure how cheap he'd be but looks a good young prospect who seems to get goals.

In terms of FFP, this was always likely to be the case and it's why the club has to improve its commercial performance if possible.

I'd still be surprised if we don't buy 3 players at least. And with a net spend of £30-40M. We should be losing around £300k pw of wages this summer with more to go next year.

The likes of Salisu, Sangare and Diatta, for example, would not expect huge wages.

Mike Corcoran
114 Posted 20/06/2020 at 21:51:56
I expect Carlo to mould a team mainly from what he has or is given. This is what he does. He improves the way his team plays regardless of personnel.
Michael Kenrick
115 Posted 22/06/2020 at 21:14:16
What's the skinny on this lad, Dominik Szoboszlai?
Robert Tressell
116 Posted 22/06/2020 at 21:17:37
Szoboszlai is an extraordinarily gifted footballer. Moves like a cross between Zidane and CR7. Not great end product yet and playing in a weak league - but if he stays focused could be absolutely world class.
Paul Birmingham
117 Posted 22/06/2020 at 22:15:28
An epic summary and thanks for the concise and meaningful insight.

Food for thought in the next few months.

Sam Hoare
118 Posted 24/06/2020 at 12:07:31
Szoboszlai looks very talented. Very technically gifted. A bit like Sigurdsson but a bit quicker.

Another player who has looked great since the restart is Ebe Eze of QPR, best player in the championship, superb ball carrier and gets goals and assists. Only 21. Could take the PL by storm under the right coach and setup. Could be our new RW/RM, though he tends (like so many of our wide men) to play off the left.

Tony Everan
119 Posted 27/06/2020 at 20:23:24
Sam, Been watching Buendia and I am warming to him being used as a central midfielder. Against Manchester, he looked calm and in control his game. Always looking to use the ball intelligently, economically and positively. He passes well, tackles and has really good energy. Also he is a strong boy who with average luck could be an ever present in the side. Finally he is the right age and I am convinced this would be excellent commercial business for the club too with regards his resale value if he chose to move on later in his career.

This is a player who is going to look even better when he makes his move to a bigger team. If we bought him I think his versatility to play centre or right midfield could reap dividends. He could slot into any system we decide to use.

I would be surprised if vultures like Levy weren't circling for him, but I would like Carlo & Brands to get in there and convince him to come to us.

I still want another ‘Carlo's choice' central midfielder but 100% want Buendia in as well. It will be an interesting summer.

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