Paying For Past Mistakes

Adam McCulloch 29/07/2019 17comments  |  Jump to last
August is nearly upon us; having shrugged off last season as one of "transition", a familiar sense of disaffection is creeping through my conversations about the coming season.

"We haven’t signed anyone", "we need a striker" — they are frustrations many feel as we crawl through the murky world of Sky sources and tenuous newspaper links. So why haven’t we done anything about it? We have a Director of Football, a wealthy owner... all signs point to the cliched warchest being opened for a summer of strengthening. And yet it is this very mentality that is hampering our business today.


They are not the only reason that our summer has not seen the vast overhaul many supporters (and apparently our manager) want to see. It is easy to get caught up in transfer fees, but the long-term effects of our previous forays in the market continue to hold us back. Here it is in black and white (the figures are estimated from online sources such as Transfermarkt and Spotrac)...

1) Players that are nowhere near the first team:

Mirallas – £75k
Bolasie – £75k
Niasse – £55k
Martina – £35k
Onyekuru – £31k
Besic – £30k
Pennington – around £8k
Baningime – £8k

Total – £317k per week (cue massive gulp)

2) Players on the fringe likely to leave:

McCarthy – £50k
Williams – around £5k
Connolly – around £5k

Total – £60k per week

3) Players Silva would probably move on given half a chance:

Schneiderlin – £100k
Tosun – £60k
Walcott – £100k

Total – £260k per week

This also doesn’t factor in some of the players we’ve loaned out, namely Sandro but also Garbutt and Tarashaj. Their wages are almost certainly subsidised massively – I think another £50-75k is probably a reasonable estimate.

In total, this is around £690-710k a week on players that are mostly nowhere near the matchday squad, with a large chunk of this devoted to three of our best-paid players who rarely have the trust of our manager. There is also Gueye, who looks increasingly likely to leave too and is on £70k a week, which I’m sure we would happily pay and increase if he wished to stay.

We have seen in our stuttering performances ahead of the league campaign the pitfalls of a bloated squad, crudely assembled from a number of managers. That nearly £400k a week is still being spent on players that are unavailable (Onyekuru), in need of regular football (McCarthy and the academy graduates), or are simply not good enough (Bolasie, Besic, etc) is staggering.

The players required to improve our first team squad will also require a salary that reflects this. Let’s say we did manage to snare the likes of Moise Kean from Juventus. His wages would certainly eclipse the likes of Mirallas, a player on £75k a week who would be unlikely to even make the bench next season.

And besides the spiralling costs, there is the morale factor. Calvert-Lewin is often criticised on this site and elsewhere but, according to the sources online, is on around £20k a week. Yes, it’s still a lot of money. But despite leading the line for much of last season, he is earning a third of Tosun’s pay packet. This isn’t me suggesting that Calvert-Lewin is sulking around the place, or that Tosun does not put in the effort, but disproportionate wages can quickly lead to problems.

Our business so far does point to concerns over the wage bill, with the Gomes deal completed around the time of Vlasic’s sale, and Delph’s arrival closely followed by the sale of Lookman. The combined wages of Jagielka and Ashley Williams were around £100k a week – money well spent on the former rather than the latter — also factor into this, with Jonas Lössl arriving on a free as a solid second-choice ‘keeper. Gueye’s move to Paris will almost certainly lead to a replacement being signed in like-for-like fashion, but it is the fringe squad around him that really needs to be shifted.

Marcel Brands has an almighty job on his hands, although I do think that clubs will begin to pull the trigger the closer we get to the deadline. He may have to take a similar strategy to last year and either let players go for well below what we paid for them (eg, Davy Klaassen) or on loan with subsidised wages (Bolasie, Niasse) to free up the funds for new players.

Our lack of incomings can also be put down to competing at the higher end of the market. If rumours around the likes of Kean are accurate, we may be waiting on other deals to materialise as clubs shift and shape... in much the same way that we are attempting to do. The likes of Wolves have mainly kept their powder dry, and Arsenal and Manchester Utd have squads of their own to worry about trimming, so things are not quite as bleak as they appear. Maybe.

Silva also has a lot of work to do, although asking for five signings seems naive. He has to work with what he has got, and it seems a shame that younger players who could be used to bulk out the squad have either left (Robinson) or look likely to follow (Joe Williams). Pre-season is about fitness and hopefully form follows, but five new faces would not guarantee a better return. It could even lead to an even greater millstone around our neck going forward.

Hopefully, the next week or so will see the right kind of incomings and the fat trimmed from a bloated Frankenstein’s monster of a squad. Used to be so much easier when we were just skint, right?

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Reader Comments (17)

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Bill Watson
1 Posted 29/07/2019 at 18:29:51
I agree, Adam. The major task is to trim the wage bill and to get value out of what's left.
I'm sure we'll see some more transfers/loans out but I fear we'll have to wait another year, as contracts come to an end, to complete the clear out.
David Pearl
2 Posted 29/07/2019 at 18:56:42
Yikes. I didnt want to add it all up like that.

Actually I think the last bunch could still offer us something but not sure they will be given a chance by fans and manager alike. I'm sure Tosun is better than he has shown. Schneiderlin sits in rather deep but that allows us to push up. Delph has now got to find his role in the team. Maybe he will could also play Bernards positon. And then the much maligned Walcott... he still has his pace and a bit of class... but has lost his mojo. I'd still like to see him though the middle or play off DCL. Then again l would like to see DCL playing off the last mans shoulder instead of him running the channels. Still got some hope for his future but he cant be number 1 pick at this point, he does do a lot of work but he's just not good enough, at the moment.

All in all we should not be in this position. Maybe these are the growing pains of trying to gatecrash the CL on a regular basis. We are all impatient but lets face it, those players are in no hurry to rip up their contracts. Got to trust in Brands and him doing his job. He also has additonal time to get rid of fringe players after our own window has shut.

Russell Smith
3 Posted 29/07/2019 at 23:23:36
The nail hit firmly on the head. We are going to be suffering from past mistakes for at least another couple of years.
Notwithstanding the team that finished the season in such good form is almost still intact, with Mina replacing Zouma and at the moment possibly Delph replacing Gueye. From what is being reported Moise Kean looks likely to arrive soon and any further buys will be to provide more squad depth rather than guaranteed starters. There is no reason why the form we finished with last year should not continue and maybe we are all getting a bit too despondent. Even if we sign another five players I doubt if more than two will start against Crystal Palace due to lack of time to integrate into Silvas system/ get to know their new teammates. I also expect Richarlison will only make the bench for the first game
My prediction for the first game would be
Calvert lewin

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 29/07/2019 at 23:57:56
Adam, an awful lot of truth in your summing up of the situation as it stands at Everton now. I think it would be 100% of the fans nodding in agreement that the biggest and hardest job at Everton is getting rid of the bloated wages of players on the books who contribute next to nothing in their ability on the field.

I think we will get at least four players in before the transfer deadline which will help the club.

My sympathy is with Marcel Brands in trying to offload players with generous contracts who don’t look like they interested in moving on for less than their contracts entitle them to.

Mr Silva the manager is yet to prove to a lot of Everton fans, including me, that he has the ability to improve the performances to take us to the next level, we can only hope he puts back in competition with the elite block of premier league clubs.

Derek Thomas
5 Posted 30/07/2019 at 00:43:07
With Sandro and the othrr two, FIFTEEN players on a combined £700,000+ a week. At least a Dozen, (names may vary due to individual opinions) who, if they never kicked a ball again for us, would not be any great loss.

Past mistakes indeed.

Hopefully Brands will be our Lee Marvin and get rid of this Dirty Dozen.?

Don Alexander
6 Posted 30/07/2019 at 01:01:05
Adam, well done on your article. It encompasses everything I've said on TW since Moshiri bought in. It's been a dispiriting collapse in instalments since the guy took charge.

Hopefully, repeat, hopefully, M&M are the duo to resurrect his credibility.

Adam McCulloch
7 Posted 30/07/2019 at 09:53:16
I think the reservations around Silva are totally justified. Two strong spells last year were met with a horrific run of form, the likes of which he would do well to survive this time out. While Brands has the unenviable task of trimming the wage bill, Silva has to earn his corn by getting the best out of what he has. In fairness, with the likes of Keane and Siggy he achieved this. But boxing off Tosun/Walcott/Schneiderlin was deliberate in my piece: these are, on paper, quality footballers who have played at a high level. Although their wages and transfer fees don’t reflect their place in the squad, we could get a song out of all three.

I don’t know if anyone saw the Moyes interview doing the rounds yesterday about his early years in the job here aka keeping the faith as he moved players on/worked with what we had but it did emphasise this point. Although frustrating, these kind of fringe players are a huge step up from that era. The difference being that many of the players we have awarded contracts too will not be able to get anywhere near their current salary elsewhere. The finger of blame can be pointed at the owners, Walsh or former managers, but the reality is it’s the hangover of too much upheaval, too fast.

Which is why barring a catastrophic breakdown with Silva we should stick with him for the time being. Although Brands is ultimately the man in charge now, he showed towards the tail end of the season that he could get us playing well and competing against the best sides in the league - a feeling that has come fleetingly in the last five years or so (thrashing City under Koeman and the run to 5th under Martinez have been about as good as it has got).

He also stuck his neck out to sign Richarlison, who I can see going up at least another gear this season and who has the potential to go all the way. Again, this isn’t us getting Jo on loan from City. An actual, factual Brazilian international forward plays for us. Madness. So I am still teetering on glass half full. The sale of Gueye today is a bitter blow but I remain confident that the expectation of this move means we have someone lined up to replace him. Here’s hoping.

Ajay Gopal
8 Posted 30/07/2019 at 10:45:40
Good article, Adam. I would suggest that Marcel is looking to offload the 1st 6 names of your 1st list:

Mirallas – £75k
Bolasie – £75k
Niasse – £55k
Martina – £35k
Onyekuru – £31k
Besic – £30k

And probably, McCarthy and Tosun. will also be offloaded. I think the youngsters like Connolly, Baningimine, Williams, Pennington would be at the top of Brands priority to sell. He knows that they can be loaned out to Championship clubs even on the last day.

If we sell or loan out the above players, that would leave us with a squad of:

GK: Pickford, Lossl, Stek
Defenders: Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Mina, AN Other 1, Baines, Digne
Midfield: Schneiderlin, Davies, Delph, Gomes, Siggy, AN Other 2
Forwards: Walcott, DCL, Richarlison, Bernard, AN Other 3, AN Other 4

A squad of 19 outfield players plus the kids looking to breakthrough into the team: maybe Baningimine, Williams, Broadhead, Gordon, Gibson, Feeney, Simms, etc.

The front-runners for the 4 open slots at the moment seem to be:


Another season for rebuilding and consolidation beckons with hopefully a Top 6 finish and good run in one of the cup competitions.

Si Smith
9 Posted 30/07/2019 at 16:10:46
Couldn't agree more, this is a point i've raised myself many times, we basically throw away over £35/40m a year in wages to lads who don't affect the first team !

Crazy money.

It wasn't long ago we had Williams, Lookman, Vlasic, Besic, Galloway, Robinson, and a fair amount of others on the pay roll too.

All down to piss poor running of our club by fools mostly Koeman and Walsh, but also Fat Sam.

Hopefully Moshiri has learnt the hard way and got the right men at the helm now.

I'd be happy with Kean and a winger in uptop, and a shed loads out.

I know we could do with a CB but a loan deal would do as we need Mina to step up along with Holgate, also Holgate should be used as cover for RB so come the end of the season hes had 25+ games.

Imagine Miralas, McCarthy, Walcott, Pennington, Besic, Bolasie, Tosun, Niasse, and Martina all being moved on and the club saving £500,000 per week for the full year. This would balance our books massively and put us in a position to push on next season in a big way, all the talk about squad players is often a load of shit. Other than Walcott none of them big earners gained us a point last season, players like the above just stifle the progress of our youth squad.

Jerome Shields
10 Posted 30/07/2019 at 18:58:30
Adam's figures are the result of the Everton with money era.

Prior to that it was the Glass ceiling era when the regime at Everton was comfortable living off the Premier League money and the only objective was to stay in the Premier League. Any players with potential where sold and the long suffering fans where told the Peoples Club had no money. The media told us Everton where well managed and we all should be grateful. But Everton where dying in debt.

Martinez did show us what could be done, but as his weaknesses where exposed the Everton regime reverted back to type, but the fan became wide awake.

The regime sought a Billionaire to keep things going as they where. The only buyer found was Moshiri who accepted their terms. The Everton with money era began , new positions , extended contracts, Pop star contracts and transfers as the regime spent money without regard or ablity. There where loads of mercenaries about to take advantage.

The results was as Adam has detailed in his article. He has spared us a breakdown of Management costs probably feeling we could not cope with further reality.

Then Moshiri trying to remedy things, became 'the leader a mile in front of his army '. Realising this he appointed Brands.

So began the Transition era which has been partly successful and seems to be heading in the right direction. But the drag of the Everton with money era is with us and the transition regarding the Board Executive Management and hopefully the Backroom staff has only begun. The remnants of both are seen in the Stadium relaunch botched Director changes PR and a unfit pre-season Everton.

It's going to take a while Adam.

I would suggest that any deadwood players who can't be sold or loans out with out a huge subsidy are put into Poitons Southport and the cost deducted from their wages, to reduce costs. The further away from Finchs Farm the better.

Jonathan Tasker
11 Posted 30/07/2019 at 21:53:06
Great article.

Superb analysis to show that previous regimes have been asleep at the wheel and have collected a vast squad of nobodies, most of whom are overpaid and with little resale value. Current top of the list has to be Walcott and Tosun, both I believe, Allardyce panic buys.

Hard to believe that Brands must have to spend so long shifting out the Walsh deadwood before he can truly invigorate the squad.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 31/07/2019 at 15:30:10
Forgot to say good article.

As it stands our squad is now:





There's strong links for the departures of McCarthy (Palace / Newcastle) and Schneiderlin. It is interesting to note Mirallas is back with the first team, whilst Besic and Bolasie are no where to be seen (sorting moves out I hope).

All of this would mean we need a right back (unless Holgate is deemed good enough cover or Mirallas completes this bizarre re-invention and kudos to Silva if he pulls that off!), a centre back (if Gibson or Feeney are deemed good enough cover as little used 4th choice), and a Gueye replacement (Gbamin about to sign?).

If you look at the wingers / wide forward positions, then we have bodies in Richarlison, Walcott, Bernard, Bolasie and Mirallas. If the latter two are discounted, then we need one more (Malcom / Zaha or Neres). This then leaves central striker, and if we sign Kean, then we have Calvert-Lewin, Tosun and Niasse backing him up.

So, you'd want McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Besic, Bolasie, and Mirallas shipped out. I think most of us would like to see the back of Walcott too, but that's for next summer really, unless someone makes a good offer. Tosun will be retained as he does not want to leave, and after his poor Cardiff showing, Niasse is likely to see out the final year of his contract here.

I think Brands is doing a top job of trimming the squad, and pruning it into a manageable squad transitioning into a top 4 squad (i.e. ready for quality additions).

Brent Stephens
13 Posted 31/07/2019 at 15:58:07
It's like my tie draw. Stuff I buy every time I see something I fancy. Stuff that's been there years and never used. Stuff I'd forgotten about. Thin ones, fat ones, short ones, long ones. Just like our bloated squad.
Eric Myles
14 Posted 31/07/2019 at 16:10:11
Maybe if Allardyce gets a job with a relegation survival club in December we can get shut of Walcott and Tosun?

Unless it's us and then we've saved loads of money!

Steve Ferns
15 Posted 31/07/2019 at 16:13:20
Unlikely Eric, I've seen a link to a story that he's busy Dancing on BBC1! Most likely that he's done as football manager now.
Steve Ferns
16 Posted 02/08/2019 at 21:16:15
I'd like to know if we can account for the whereabouts of our forgotten men.

McCarthy - with the first team
Sigurdsson - with the first team
Bolasie - somewhere hot with access to Instagram and twitter
Besic ?
Baningime - with the first team squad
Tosun - with the first team squad but recovering from injury
Mirallas - with the first team squad
Onyekuru - about to sign for Monaco or stay with Galatasary
Matthew Pennington ?
Cuco Martina ?

Those on loan are:
Shanji Tarashaj - will never return as contract finally expires at the end of loan
Garbutt - Ipswich and will leave at end of season as above

Players leaving on full transfers in case you missed it:
Antonee Robinson - Wigan
Brendon Galloway - Luton
Ashley Williams - released
Boris Mathis - released (French kid who arrived to much fanfare)

So I cannot account for Besic, Martina, or Pennington. Has anyone seen them? Are they ok? Has Brands made them leave permanently? Do they sleep with the fishes?

Steve Ferns
17 Posted 02/08/2019 at 21:21:08
Wait, sorry Besic is with the u23s. Even if he is 26. He's only 26? wow, he's been here for a long time so I'm surprised he's still that young!

Also, Pennington is with u23s, ahead of a potential transfer to Derby. Interesting that he's covering for Gibson and Feeney. How his stock has fallen.

So that leaves Cuco. Anyone seen him?

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