Marco Silva has tasked himself with mitigating what he admits was a risk by Everton not to sign another centre half this summer by getting the best out of the personnel at this disposal.
Together with Director of Football, Marcel Brands, the Portuguese goes into his second season at Goodison Park with what he describes as “a younger and deeper squad with more quality”, thanks to the acquisition of six new players over the course of the close season in addition to André Gomes who signed permanently from Barcelona after a successful loan spell with the club in 2018-19.
Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Alex Iwobi were standouts among those six new recruits who arrived with an average age of 25 and provide depth in key areas of the team but it was the failure to replace Kurt Zouma that prevented a hugely encouraging window from being an excellent one.
Zouma returned to Chelsea following his own loan spell at Everton in May but with many expecting that despite the London club's transfer ban, there was a high likelihood he would return, like Gomes, on a full-time basis. Ultimately, however, new manager Frank Lampard elected to keep the Frenchman at Stamford Bridge and any slim hopes that the Blues might be able to prise Zouma away right before the deadline were dashed by David Luiz's late switch to Arsenal.
That has left Silva with just Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate as centre-backs with any Premier League experience while Lewis Gibson, a promising performer in pre-season, offers cover but only in emergency circumstances. Mina made only 10 League starts last term while Holgate spent the season on loan at West Bromwich Albion deployed as a right back, although he played 21 times for Everton in all competitions in each of the two seasons before that.
Silva betrayed some frustration in his pre-match press conference at Finch Farm yesterday before tomorrow's season-opener against Crystal Palace and that carried into his comments to the print media immediately afterwards. The former Hull and Watford boss was keen to emphasise that Everton have not been the big spenders that have been portrayed to be in some quarters and that recruiting was not easy despite the club having identified its targets early on.
He also pointed out that, just like a year ago, there was more fat to be trimmed from the squad that he and Brands inherited. In all, more than £50m was raised in player sales, with significant outgoings taken off the wage bill, as the likes of Idrissa Gueye, Ademola Lookman and Nikola Vlasic were sold, 11 players were sent out on loan and another 16 from the senior, U23 and U18 setups were let go, and there could be further movement out of Finch Farm before the international deadlines expire over the next four weeks.
“It was a tough market for us,” Silva said in The Guardian. “It is really tough now to buy a player — everyone is asking millions and millions and millions. But it was not just that. We have a big number of players under contract with us and Marcel and his staff, with my help, did a very good job to sell some players who were not part of our plans.
“I don't know if many other clubs had 18 players leave like we did this summer but if they did it would be difficult for them too. I don't like to speak about the numbers because it is not my role but just to be clear with everyone — and I know people are saying we spent this and this and this — we spent £28m in this window.
“I have confidence in our three central defenders but it is not the best scenario for us. As I said, it was a tough market for us. We tried to reinforce that position because it was an important position from the first day. If you ask me if it is a risk then yes it is, but it is what it is and we have to manage the situation.
“[I]t is the manager's job to develop players,” continued Silva who highlights Harry Maguire and Andy Robertson, now of Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, as two players he helped bring through in his short spell at Hull.
"Look at Michael [Keane] before (I came) and see how Michael is now as a football player. See what happened with Zouma last season. It is the job to do with Mina now.
“If they are the first, second or third target it is not important. They are our players. For me they are the best players in the world now and I am here to work with them. To get them better is my job.”
Reader Comments (63)
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1 Posted 10/08/2019 at 01:28:25
2 Posted 10/08/2019 at 01:36:31
As a club, we seriously need to throw off the "make do and mend" approach of the Kenwright era and rejoin the 21st century.
"Upwards, Onwards, and may the devil take the hindmost".
3 Posted 10/08/2019 at 01:47:31
Unsure if Marcel knows him through the PSV connection but, if he could persuade him to sign a 12-month contract, it might be worth exploring. Only others I could find with Premier League experience were — and don't shoot the messenger – Skrtel, Younes Kaboul, and of course our very own Ashley Williams!
4 Posted 10/08/2019 at 02:02:24
Any of the older generation remember John Barton and how cool and composed he was with the ball and bringing it out of defence.
Gibson has similar qualities when he has the ball.
Would certainly have a look at easing him into the first team.
5 Posted 10/08/2019 at 02:07:58
Feyenoord let in 41 goals last season - 16 at home 25 away in 34 games.
6 Posted 10/08/2019 at 02:20:19
My personal favourite quote that springs to mind is Gareth Barry running slower than a donkey with concrete boots on, in a river of shit, but enough about that, he was a good, but slow servant.
I take my two eldest boys up to Goodison Park twice a year from Colchester and I have loved this club from the age of 5. I am just about old enough to remember the Glory years of the Eighties and old enough now for impatience to have kicked in. Our desperation for this unparalleled club to be back where it belongs is unbearable but I feel that for years we were treading water. Moyes did a fantastic job with a budget and other subsequent pretenders with superior backing failed us in one way or another.
I genuinely believe that we are slowly, slowly, catching a trophy now. Silva has something about him and I am more optimistic than I have been since Kanchelskis was bombing down the wing for us. COYB, no game is easy in the Premier League but we really need to make an impact on this favourable start to the campaign. Kill or be killed, 3 points is a must.
7 Posted 10/08/2019 at 02:34:18
Minik #1. It was lucas Neill who we brought in on a free, and it was a useful signing. I think we then sold him in the January window and got a fee from a Turkish club. It's a shame Richard Gough isn't still around. He was nearly 40 when we brought him in, and in my opinion one of the best free signings we ever made. His reading of the game defied his age.
I don't think Holgate will let us down. He's prone to switching off but has the attributes to be a top defender. Last season has told us that Mina will probably get injured at some point so Holgate will get his last chance to impress
8 Posted 10/08/2019 at 03:27:09
My best guess is that Gbamin, with ten games at CB in his Bundesliga career (only one last season), would be the emergency 4th choice ahead of Gibson and Martina and anybody else.
9 Posted 10/08/2019 at 04:28:03
Could we not have looked at Dunk or Duffy at Brighton to fill a hole, until we identify a long-term, top-class centre-half? Short-term, one of these guys could do a job for us.
I get that pace could be lacking with all of the aforementioned, but they are no-+nonsense defenders, a better option than to potentially put a defensive midfielder into this position if we have injuries or suspensions. Surely to god we could have secured a loan deal for one of these three.
I feel that this season was such a fantastic opportunity to overtake at least one of the three, Arsenal, Chelsea & Man Utd. Maybe we can, but the Achilles of the centre-half cover will probably bite us on the arse sometime this season.
10 Posted 10/08/2019 at 05:44:26
However with the moves weve made Silva has to improve on transition year which he got as a freebie.
No excuses for not getting a center back in early of the same type as Zouma and certainly before the Maguire transfer which probably did inflate prices. They both knew the likelihood of landing Zouma was low to remote, so a big fook off cross family fortunes style against the pair of ‘em.
If this fella tries to play a high line or a demanding formation a la 4-3-3 with that back four hell get plenty from me, cos it wont work.
The fume will be at its peak as Zaha scores in injury time with his hand, only to be ignored by VAR. Heady times at the no defenders toffees.
11 Posted 10/08/2019 at 06:34:55
His attitude as an emergency left back was also good.
12 Posted 10/08/2019 at 06:43:26
13 Posted 10/08/2019 at 06:50:16
Personally I think he could be an option for that role as he has 100+ premier league appearances and is an international captain, has the physical attributes and seemed to have the right attitude when pushed into emergency service at left back.
Im not saying hes the answer but he could do a job until January if prepped and given the role for the u23s?! If were not going to sell him we may as well try to get some value out of the huge wage were paying him!
Lets hope we dont have the problem and Mina, Holgate and Keane stay fit all season !
14 Posted 10/08/2019 at 07:02:05
15 Posted 10/08/2019 at 07:29:33
Stephen #13, Cuco would cost us goals at CB. He's too easy for runners to beat. In this highlight from the Gold Cup, Cuco is the defender in white #2 reaching for the through ball and missing it, resulting in the goal for El Salvador. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDzOqopdk_8
16 Posted 10/08/2019 at 07:40:39
If people can't read that Silva isn't too pleased with this window then its pretty pointless discussing it.
Hes spoke about how a list of targets wasn't reached for one reason or another, says we spent 28 million overall after saying Gana has gone and we needed to add quality after also losing Zouma.
Says its now impossible for Schneiderlin to leave which will annoy the board paying him his big money for another year while he might not start every week.
Its all there in his words for anyone who listens to the subtle hints that hes got it hard again rebuilding and less quality at the back.
17 Posted 10/08/2019 at 08:16:46
Gibson is not 4th choice. Silva has made it clear that we go with 3 and that Gibson is not ready to step up to this level. He said this recently. It will most likely be Gbamin or a full back that fills in for emergencies. Gibson is not in Silva's plans for this season. Hence, no shirt number and Silva already making it stating this.
18 Posted 10/08/2019 at 08:37:38
At the end of last season all these areas showed improvement. The Centre Backs improved as the team improved in front of them.
Being positive , with the boosting of midfield options in the transfer window the support play for the high press should actually improve. Though achieving a high turnover rate Gueye support play could have been better. All the new midfield signings have high pass completion rates and a high work rate.
I think that both Calvert Lewin and Tosun should improve this season, because they are more likely to receive the ball in better positions due to better link play, especially in the final third. Kean should add a additional threat.
Richarlison now has a good Brazilian mentor in the Club, rather than the self appointed Neymar.
So the Centre Backs are in a better position now, than for most of last year. They will be better motivated, and hopefully with a more sensible Pickford in goal.
I am more optimist about this season, than the start of last season. I feel more understood and Lyndon has improved editing options.
19 Posted 10/08/2019 at 08:58:56
Maybe Rojo type business or similar will be on the cards in January ?
20 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:00:56
We do have 4 on our books in the shape of the first choice Mina and Keane plus Holgate and Gibson and there's also Gbamin and Martina who can/have played there if needed.
The only issue is that we had definitely higher quality and more pace in the form of Zouma, but its not like we let him go and maybe there's still a chance to grab him in Jan, based on the bids that weren't accepted it seems that we do at least have some dry transfer powder still...
21 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:06:12
22 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:22:55
23 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:36:33
We were prepared to take Rojo on a season loan as cover until we could buy the player we really want.
United would only sell and we refused to add to the "deadwood" that we are trying to clear out.
Whilst not ideal, I have confidence in this management team and the squad for the first team.
I am really excited in the way Everton is shaping up under Mr Moshiri.
24 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:42:54
Silva has plenty of evidence he can improve the defence. He did so quite evidently in the last half of the season working constantly on defensive teamwork which did consistently improve towards the end of the season.
We are certainly short at the back should there be a significant injury or indeed injuries.
Gibson hasnt even got a squad number.
25 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:48:53
Or, as others have said, there may be the option of an out of contract stop gap between now and Jan just to provide some cover. Personally Id have kept hold of Jags until wed sorted out signing a replacement.
26 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:53:14
27 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:56:54
Up until last season Keane had only shown ability playing in a defensive protected unit at Burnley which suited his brave no-nonsense style and covered his deficiencies.
3 top DEFENSIVE coaches Van Gaal, Allardyce and Koeman couldn't improve him yet he came on leaps and bounds last year.
Zouma had 2 poor seasons at Chelsea and Stoke and looked like he would struggle to achieve the early promise at Chelsea yet he was immense last year with 2 major weaknesses ball watching and ability on the ball totally reformed.
Lucas Digne was always superb going forward but had always major doubts defensively. Every time I saw him play at Barca he was letting runners go, positionally poor and costing chances. Even in his first month or two you could see those failings for us yet if you looked at him for the rest of the season you would say defending was his strength.
Seamus Coleman always needed his pace to get him out of being caught with runners inside. One of the reasons he always struggled with Martial was due to his pace and power once he was gone he was gone so exposed him more. Last season in the second half I don't remember him getting done on the inside too often despite losing his pace which has been a constant deficiency throughout his career.
I think defensively is where the manager has had greatest effect as many of the midfield and forwards have not improved to the same level.
28 Posted 10/08/2019 at 09:58:55
30 Posted 10/08/2019 at 10:04:46
I hope he "clicks" like Zouma last year.
Good chance for young Gibson too, if/when there are injuries.
I am crossing all fingers and toes that we DO kick on this season and show make the world take notice of us!
31 Posted 10/08/2019 at 10:07:10
Hit on the counter using pace and directness down the flanks.
32 Posted 10/08/2019 at 10:10:32
33 Posted 10/08/2019 at 10:43:16
Credit the management with the great work theyve done and what an opportunity for Mina to show his worth. Likewise a chance for Holgate to establish himself in what is probably a make or break season for him. Gibson may turn out to be a breakthrough star- who knows?
Bring it on!!
34 Posted 10/08/2019 at 11:09:24
35 Posted 10/08/2019 at 11:17:55
I agree with your post. Silva seems to be the type of coach who expresses his ideas and is patient enough to let players develop into their role according to his guidelines by self motivation. Mina is bound to feel under pressure competitively to perform as are the other players.
36 Posted 10/08/2019 at 11:42:39
Bringing in one of the young boys would be my choice and hopefully one of them has pace that can cover any mistakes that might happen.
Can see why WBA played Holgate at rightback he aint the tallest or strongest but he does pass the ball well and is calm in posession. I wouldn't consider Holgate as a long term fixture in the side but as a player who can fill in more than one position I don't see him letting us down.
37 Posted 10/08/2019 at 11:52:05
Maybe his knee is totalled?
38 Posted 10/08/2019 at 11:54:32
You build from the back, this will cost us 6th position unless we are lucky.
The only logical sense it makes is that Brands thinks he can get Zouma in January or next summer but with Mina's injury record and Holgate's lack of game time in the middle it's a massive risk and not one I thought he would take.
39 Posted 10/08/2019 at 12:03:16
Meanwhile, the importance of youth and effort at training cannot be emphasized enough.
40 Posted 10/08/2019 at 12:12:23
For example, I read someone on here say that our failure to bring in Doucoure leaves us short in midfield. Really ?! Also not getting Zaha according to many on here and pundits means we will have no chance of breaking the top 6 and made our business mediocre.
Frankly, I don't think we would either way. He has a 1in 6 strike rate. £100m package?... No thanks.
If Richarlison continues as he has, the money we spent on him will be daylight robbery as he's scored half the goals in a fraction of the games and is 4 years younger. Last year he apparently ruined the market.
I've seen it all before. Lukaku was overpriced at £28m etc. Gana and Zouma are now world beaters cos theyve left and not been adequatley replaced.
Ironically both played for relegated teams in the recent past. Yet to many naysayers on here no club with ambition gets players from relegated teams or top 6 cast offs in Iwomi's case ( Zouma's ticks both boxes cos hes only been recalled due to the transfer ban).
Same as the net spend argument that's starting to rear its head again. Laughable. People delude themselves that we are the only club who sell players. In three and a half years Moshiri has spent in the region of £0.4b in players and managers. That is serious money in anyone's language regardless of incomings. It's time to stop moaning and let the coaches do their jobs. If they don't, hold them to account but I'm not letting the loss of a loan player and the failure to get a 7th choice Man U centre half keep me awake at night.
41 Posted 10/08/2019 at 12:13:07
42 Posted 10/08/2019 at 12:32:44
So what then, Holgate is inexperienced in the position and he could be paired with one of our young defenders who have never played in the Premiership.
Its a disaster waiting to happen.
43 Posted 10/08/2019 at 12:50:09
44 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:01:28
45 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:04:06
Mina and Keane have little acceleration over 10 yards. You cannot at their ages improve that skill significantly.
We will drop deeper back, therefore more pressure on the team, mistakes leave the opposition closer to our goal. Against very good teams that will matter.
46 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:04:35
Many of the points you said are really valid and most I agree with however I do feel you have slightly contradicted yourself when saying "let the coaches do their jobs".
This is where my disappointment for the window comes from. For years we haven't been in a position to give the coaches the tools to help us to where we want to be.
Moshiri has come in and that threatened to change but so far wasted much of his cash on incompetent personal both on and off the pitch. Imo he finally addresses that with Brands and Silvas introduction and we have a superb first window and progress can be clearly seen.
This summer began with serious intent and prospective players seemed to be respecting us as a serious club especially with the Kean signing. However Brands made a complete cock-up strategically by focusing on Chelsea for his centre half and left the coach handicapped by a lop sided defence.
In addition it's clear that Iwobi a player with lots of potential but was way down the coaches pecking order and it's my feeling that Zaha wasn't even first or second choice either.
Moshiri has talked about breaking the top 6, Brands is considered God but it will be Marcos head on the line if we don't achieve it. Conversely the reality is that we have no business even thinking about top 6 if you consider the fact as it stands we don't actually know if this has even been a positive window and will depend largely upon the success of Kean and Gbamin to live up to their high reputations and negate the loss of two top performers last year.
If you listen to some of our fans they are blaming Silva for this episode which is bizarre but it will be he who suffers if we don't live up to our fans lofty predictions. Certainly he can coach with what he has and hopefully we will improve but it's understandable to ask questions of our club.
No doubt Silva will be held to account whether he is ultimately accountable is the question.
47 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:17:30
48 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:34:09
No doubt Kean is the bargain of the summer.
I totally agree with you about Holgate and Gibson. To be honest I'm really positive about Mina but it's frustrating that we are almost starting again with two huge sets of boots to fill defensively and a lack of balance and pace(Holgate apart).
Chris I still hope and expect us to be best of the rest and with a bit of luck get to January within sight of the top 6 but my point is that we are having to hope for things unlike last season when you, although couldn't be certain would improve us, would be really really confident.
49 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:46:43
50 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:50:37
51 Posted 10/08/2019 at 13:52:49
52 Posted 10/08/2019 at 14:06:17
Our first choice pairing of Mina and Keane look vulnerable for the reasons I gave in my first post, if you are satisfied with that area of our defence and the cover we have, you are easily pleased. You seem to be in the minority.
53 Posted 10/08/2019 at 14:22:19
I don't think Mr B was thinking very clearly about the CB situation because of all the nonsense about Zaha.
Just hope Yerry and Keane stay fir until at least Jan 1st, any top 6 hopes will depend on it.
54 Posted 10/08/2019 at 14:50:24
Im as disappointed as anyone we didn't get Zouma but my whole point is that people are crying because we didn't get a back up centre half on the last day of the window. We have nearly £60m worth of 'specialist's' in that position lining up today. Injuries and suspension are part and parcel of the game and if they happen Silva will have to deal with it as he said in his interview yesterday.
55 Posted 10/08/2019 at 15:15:13
Anyway we beg to differ that's life, enough said, I bid you good day.
56 Posted 10/08/2019 at 15:51:25
57 Posted 10/08/2019 at 16:02:12
Who do you realistically think we could have bought and how much?
58 Posted 10/08/2019 at 18:27:47
Daniele Rugani tipped to leave Juventus.
Mustafi to leave Arsenal.
David Luiz leaving Chelsea
Gary Cahill, a free agent
Upamecano, the Leipzig centre-back wanted by arsenal.
Komaté, another centre-back from Leipzig who we could have gone for.
A bunch of centre-backs in the French league: Malang Sarr (Nice); Kamara (Marseille); Kimpembe (PSG). Also, Demiral available on loan from Juventus Caldara from AC Milan... And many others.
59 Posted 10/08/2019 at 19:42:46
Do not try and convince people that we failed to sign a centre back because there are none in world football we could buy.
The problem is not even the delivery, the clear problem was with strategy. I made a prediction in a convo with you that Zouma/Timori was already tied up.
My belief in that was because Marco when asked about Kurt one week before the window shuts replied 'now is not the time to talk about Kurt' in the general response when a player is about to sign but not confirmed.
The club were NOT looking they gambled on the Chelsea players and didn't plan that if Luiz wasn't starting he would want to jump ship at 32.
Then when it didn't come off they desperately started fishing. I'm not concerned that we ended up without one, hopefully come January we will rectify it but it's as clear as day that Brands screwed up here.
60 Posted 10/08/2019 at 19:47:02
1 a centre forward-brilliant job
2 a Gueye replacement- looks to have done well
3 a left sided CB with pace
The other in comings were largely irrelevant in terms of necessity
61 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:37:01
The failure to sign a centre-back hopefully shows Silva has confidence in the untried youngsters and Holgate. I don't think too many are unhappy about not getting Rojo.
62 Posted 11/08/2019 at 18:08:17
63 Posted 11/08/2019 at 18:18:48
However, given the pose of Marco with arms folded, he could well have the look of someone who has seen the players coming through the gates at Finch Farm and saying "Where is the Centre-Half I was promised?"
64 Posted 12/08/2019 at 21:39:15
Looked like a rabbit caught in headlights.
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