A look at some potential signings in three key areas – central-midfield, central-defence and right-wing – for when the transfer window eventually opens
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.
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)
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)
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).
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
Kenny Holgate Salisu Digne
Neres Gomes Sangare Bernard
The luxurious scenario
Rabiot – loan
Malcom - £35m
Kenny Holgate Gabriel Digne
Malcom Rabiot Zakaria Bernard
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.
Reader Comments (119)
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1 Posted 17/06/2020 at 07:55:43
Now I think that was even better than Dixie.
Sorry - couldn't resist commenting on the typo.
2 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:13:46
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:
My predicted starting XI next season:
Kenny Holgate Thiago Silva Digne
Hojgberg Allan Gomes Bernard
(I also have 4 Brazilians!)
New back-up keeper (Fraser?)
Coleman Keane Mina Baines
Davies Delph Sigurdsson Iwobi
3 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:25:05
Apologies, finished this article late last night and it looks like my editing was not up to scratch.
4 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:29:00
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.
5 Posted 17/06/2020 at 08:38:37
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.
6 Posted 17/06/2020 at 09:20:12
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?
7 Posted 17/06/2020 at 09:51:51
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.
8 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:16:33
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!
9 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:17:06
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.
10 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:28:56
Otherwise you are taking a punt on younger talent mainly. Ferguson at Aberdeen is a midfielder Ive heard good things about and Hickey at Hearts is a promising full back but I wouldnt 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 hes an upgrade on Davies or Delph. Ive 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 cant buy superstars but we can buy the next superstars.
11 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:38:56
I expect well 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. Theres a decent crop of youngsters moving from u18s into U23s now including the likes of Simms, Dobbin, Astley, Warrington, Hughes, Onyango. I wouldnt 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.
12 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:49:40
13 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:59:25
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.
14 Posted 17/06/2020 at 11:18:48
15 Posted 17/06/2020 at 11:34:32
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 dont 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?
Kenny Holgate Gabriel Digne
Buendia, *Bakaria, Gomes, Bernard
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)
16 Posted 17/06/2020 at 12:06:23
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.
17 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:06:23
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.
18 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:29:06
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.
19 Posted 17/06/2020 at 13:42:49
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 Id 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 Id include Ben Godfrey at Norwich and Ismaila Sarr at Watford. You only talked about goalkeeper and right back in passing but Id also be looking at Bournemouths Aaron Ramsdale (although Im not convinced hes an improvement on Pickford) and Max Aarons at Norwich.
Id love to squeeze Jack Grealish into an Everton team but, like Declan Rice, I think hell 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 Moshiris (and Usmanovs?) 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?
20 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:02:19
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.
21 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:05:17
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.
22 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:09:23
I don't think David Neres will be available for £20m, double that will be closer to the mark, maybe more.
23 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:26:28
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.
24 Posted 17/06/2020 at 15:29:40
The only way of not doing would be if we manage to ship all the dead wood.
25 Posted 17/06/2020 at 16:58:15
Im 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 cant match Buendia in work rate and defensive contribution.
Yes, heard good things about Idah. Hes a striker though I think and so didnt feature in these considerations.
26 Posted 17/06/2020 at 18:47:17
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).
27 Posted 17/06/2020 at 18:54:59
28 Posted 17/06/2020 at 19:10:30
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?!
29 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:12:14
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.
30 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:32:11
31 Posted 17/06/2020 at 21:57:45
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.
32 Posted 17/06/2020 at 22:43:37
33 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:23:11
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.
34 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:28:55
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.
35 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:34:15
36 Posted 17/06/2020 at 23:37:07
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.
37 Posted 17/06/2020 at 00:02:11
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.
38 Posted 18/06/2020 at 01:17:59
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.
39 Posted 18/06/2020 at 01:42:31
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).
40 Posted 18/06/2020 at 03:54:06
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.
41 Posted 18/06/2020 at 05:27:37
42 Posted 18/06/2020 at 06:50:51
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.
43 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:00:18
44 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:15:12
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 well likely take some big losses as we are seeing with Schneiderlin potentially going to Nice for £2m.
45 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:33:19
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.
46 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:33:40
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 Im hoping for.
Weve 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 its not enough. You say hes “very capable defensively”. There is zero evidence of this! If he is jockeying men into channels then hes not doing it well as he is dribbled past twice as much as anyone on our team! Surely you can at least admit hes poor defensively? I still think hes our best CM and hope hell 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.
Youre right about the right midfielders/wingers. I was mainly looking for players who could bring more goals which we need. Sidibe wont 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.
47 Posted 18/06/2020 at 08:43:35
48 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:11:52
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.
49 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:31:39
50 Posted 18/06/2020 at 09:41:07
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.
51 Posted 18/06/2020 at 10:49:18
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.
52 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:01:00
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.
53 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:16:30
You got out of Brazil at a good time when you did lad.
54 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:24:52
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.
55 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:40:51
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.
56 Posted 18/06/2020 at 12:46:20
57 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:22:23
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.
58 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:40:45
59 Posted 18/06/2020 at 13:55:35
60 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:15:57
I dont view Gomes as a luxury player and defensively his stats arent 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 dont 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.
61 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:26:14
In terms of watching objectively, straight back at you.
62 Posted 18/06/2020 at 14:45:37
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.
63 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:25:50
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.
64 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:36:51
'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.
65 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:37:42
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.
66 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:46:55
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.
67 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:48:56
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.
68 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:50:43
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.
69 Posted 18/06/2020 at 15:55:54
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.
70 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:05:18
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.
71 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:23:26
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.
72 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:30:34
Whilst you are right about Ashley Williams, and I have said the exact same thing many times, dont 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.
73 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:33:29
74 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:38:11
75 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:46:58
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.
76 Posted 18/06/2020 at 16:56:01
"If Walcott has authority, I'm looking for a dictionary" — love it!! Totally cracked me up!!
77 Posted 18/06/2020 at 17:23:37
He's got to do it the other way around here..or put his faith in Brands.
78 Posted 18/06/2020 at 17:54:40
79 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:14:50
80 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:25:04
Time we made them earn our trust.
Hope you are taking it to the enemy now your other sport is back
81 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:27:42
82 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:44:03
83 Posted 18/06/2020 at 18:55:05
84 Posted 18/06/2020 at 19:14:29
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.
85 Posted 18/06/2020 at 19:53:52
86 Posted 18/06/2020 at 20:56:58
87 Posted 18/06/2020 at 21:17:05
88 Posted 19/06/2020 at 09:04:03
Id be surprised if we dont 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.
89 Posted 19/06/2020 at 09:30:37
90 Posted 19/06/2020 at 11:12:07
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!!!
91 Posted 19/06/2020 at 14:00:49
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.
92 Posted 19/06/2020 at 15:02:35
By the way, is the Bernard on all the team-sheets, Bernard Levin or Bernard Cribbins?!
93 Posted 19/06/2020 at 15:07:07
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.
94 Posted 19/06/2020 at 16:25:36
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.
95 Posted 19/06/2020 at 17:45:08
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.
96 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:03:58
97 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:15:28
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.
98 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:28:33
“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).
99 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:31:53
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.
100 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:36:06
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.
101 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:42:01
We should have a lot of those off our books by the time FFP kicks in again.
102 Posted 19/06/2020 at 18:49:55
103 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:21:52
104 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:29:36
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).
105 Posted 20/06/2020 at 08:57:20
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.
106 Posted 20/06/2020 at 09:58:01
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).
107 Posted 20/06/2020 at 10:57:36
I like some of the options you've given at right-back.
108 Posted 20/06/2020 at 12:29:21
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.
109 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:18:52
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.
110 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:21:51
111 Posted 20/06/2020 at 14:29:51
This is only a story if you've been ignoring FFP rules and hanging onto the speculation of journalists.
112 Posted 20/06/2020 at 15:16:04
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.
113 Posted 20/06/2020 at 20:22:28
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.
114 Posted 20/06/2020 at 21:51:56
115 Posted 22/06/2020 at 21:14:16
116 Posted 22/06/2020 at 21:17:37
117 Posted 22/06/2020 at 22:15:28
Food for thought in the next few months.
118 Posted 24/06/2020 at 12:07:31
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.
119 Posted 27/06/2020 at 20:23:24
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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