Who Is Steering the Ship?

Martin O'Connor 04/09/2020 69comments  |  Jump to last

I could never chose the ones to love
And the ones who took the credit left me reelin’
Neko Case: Guided by Wire

Director of Football, Marcel Brands, joined the Blues from PSV Eindhoven after a period of flip-flopping by the club, going from one idea to another. When Bobby Brown shoes finally got the axe, we went down the route of the “Hollywood Manager,” and in the door stepped Ronald Koeman. Steve Walsh came in from Leicester City as Director of Football and the Blues splashed the cash here there and everywhere, except on sensible purchases. Within 18 months, the project crashed and burned and Koeman departed with a tidy pay off. (Nice work if you can get it, number 1).

A new plan to bring in a young manager with new fresh ideas was conceived, and a fruitless chase to get Marco Silva ensued. As the club panicked, thinking a relegation struggle was becoming a reality, it, at great cost, brought in the dinosaur Sam Allardyce who, along with his buddy Walsh still in place, continued to waste money as Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott joined the club. No need to go into the nightmare football which followed. Allardyce’s 18-month contract was soon binned along with his stone age football, but a rather hefty pay-off (Nice work if you can get it, number 2). Walsh soon followed as he, too, was given his P45. (Nice work if you can get it, number 3).


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So Marcel Brands walked into Finch Farm in the summer of 2018 as our new Director of Football, replacing the out of his depth Walsh. He mapped out what the future for the club promised, cutting the by now bloated and underperforming senior squad, improving and bringing players through from the academy and signing hungry players 25 years or younger who had sell-on value. To this end, Everton moved to bring in a manager who could work in this environment, so at the second time of asking enter stage left Marco Silva. The Marco experiment failed and he was dispatched after 18 months. Which brings us to the point of this article.

Surely the idea of a Director of Football is that they set out the strategy for the club? If a manager is removed or leaves for another club, the strategy stays in place and a new manager is recruited with major input from the Director of Football. This new manager will still fit the model and strategy the Director of Football has set out. So although Silva was considered a manager to fit the club’s strategy he failed, but the next manager recruited should still be a manager who fits what is required for the perceived strategy of the club and Director of Football.

Which brings us to our latest incumbent Carlo Ancelotti. This is not to denigrate his past achievements (not including his — to be frank — failures at his last two clubs even if he did win a Bundesliga title). Ancelotti is not an appointment that fits the perceived strategy of the club, which Brands set out when he was brought in, and which he reiterated at the club’s last AGM in January. Ancelotti seems to be the opposite of what Brands as Director of Football would want. If one looks at his career he likes to work with the more top end of the market and experienced players. On Ancelotti's appointment Brands was quoted as saying:

“My first impression of Carlo is that he is a very nice man, a gentleman and very experienced. He knows the world and the football world.

“He is quiet, a little bit like me, and I think we can work together very well.”

Not the most ringing endorsement, in my opinion, and that’s from the clubs own Good News Bible website.

Which brings us to this summer’s transfer window and the proposed (this being written before any have been announced) signing of James Rodriguez (29), Allan (29) and Abdoulaye Doucouré (27). Clearly at these ages the plan for young hungry players with a sell-on value has been if not binned at least side-lined. All three have been signed for the here and now.

Rodriguez has been over-hyped in the extreme and is in my opinion past his best and has never hit the heights expected of him after he shot to prominence at the 2014 World Cup. Allan is a player who will add steel to the midfield but, at 29, are there players who are younger and could do a similar job? Yes there are — Wilmar Barrios, Baptiste Santamaria, Pierre Kunde to name just three.

Doucouré is someone who admittedly the club has desired since Silva was first installed. He has Premier League experience but seems to have gone backwards over the last 12 months, but that may well be due to playing in a struggling Watford team which will be plying its trade in the Championship in the new season.

Will this trio improve what we have? Undoubtedly, but it is very questionable that they will be able to get the team into the top six. I for one don’t think they can or will. These proposed signings are all about the here and now, two who are basically a part of the Ancelotti clan along with his son and back-room staff we now have ensconced at Finch Farm. These transfers are driven by Ancelotti and (backtracking to the Hollywood Manager days) Moshiri, not Brands. The era of Koeman and Walsh, although not exactly mirrored, has its fingerprints all over these signings.

This is not to give Brands a get out of jail card. He has not been the glowing director of football advertised on the tin. His time at Goodison to date has been more Monchi at Roma than Monchi at Seville — quite a good first summer transfer window, his signings last summer have been mainly a disaster. His moving on of the massive amount of deadwood in the squad, although admittedly a hard job, has been painstakingly slow, and two years on, has still not been completed. Meanwhile, his plan for the academy has not exactly been a success to date. We still have an academy system, which needs a big shake-up. (See Blocked Pathway for the Under-23s in 2019-20 articles archive).

It is crystal clear with the proposed signings of Rodriguez, Allan and Doucouré we will be signing players who do not fit the remit of Brands when he came into the club. To date, Brands has not been able to fulfil what he was brought to club for, but a clear strategy, even if we have failed to implement it successfully to date, was at least put in place. With the proposed signing of the three amigos, we now have a transfer policy run by Ancelotti and Moshiri with Brands sidelined. He must be feeling like the words from the great Guided by Wire above.

Where this is going to take us, is (in my opinion) absolutely nowhere. We have (in my opinion) an out-of-date manager working against the strategy of the Director of Football, which cannot be healthy, but is par for the chaos the club has endured since Moshiri came in. Who is steering the good ship Goodison? It would seem to be Ancelotti and Moshiri and not the Director of Football, where the ship is heading onto the rocks of 8th to 10th place.

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Reader Comments (69)

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Neil Cremin
1 Posted 04/09/2020 at 23:39:40
I agree with many of the sentiments.

As I said in another thread, be careful for what we wish for. The last time we brought in such an influx of players from outside the Premier League ended in disaster due to poor leadership under Koeman.

Hopefully Carlo knows what he is trying to achieve and not doing a Mourihno with our club.

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 04/09/2020 at 23:56:39

“Three Amigos”? Bit harsh on Rodriguez, his career downturn hasn't been as bad as Steve Martins. I can see the Allan/Martin Short comparison in that Allan is annoying to opponents and Short is annoying to human kind. Chevy Chase and Doucuoré is a weird comparison though.

Ryan Rosenberg
3 Posted 05/09/2020 at 00:47:05
It's infuriating watching the majority blindly support these transfers because "Ancelotti knows best". We hired a DOF for a reason and we should be allowing him to have autonomy over the club's direction. These transfers are clearly in direct conflict with the strategy Brands has been trying to implement, which still requires another year of getting rid of the past regimes deadwood.

These things take time - we have just spent 2 years clearing the wagebill and now we are going to sign a bunch of has-beens on huge wages? Makes perfect sense. There is zero chance Brands has anything to do with this.

Brands is clearly being undermined by Ancelotti and Moshiri. The manager should be having little to no say in terms of who we bring in; he can suggest a type/profile but it is up to Brands to find that player. Bringing in James, Allan, and Doucouré might help us in the short-term but they will not be a part of the team in 5 years. We have been here before guys: Bolasie, Williams, Schneiderlin, Rooney, Sigurdsson, Walcott – all *were* good players at some point but we clearly brought them past their peak (and on high wages).

It doesn't make sense for us to do this after just finishing 12th. We need to buy players who can be here for the next 5 years. The way Leicester have built their squad is proof.

I don't buy that we need "experience" etc; there are definitely players out there in that 22-25 bracket that can improve the squad and have potential to grow (ie. as we saw during the first window under Brands).

I can understand why Ancelotti wants James and Allan, but Doucourée makes absolutely no sense. Players like Sangare or Santamaria are obviously better choices and fit the Brands brief. This club is such a mess, nobody is on the same page about anything...

Peter Warren
4 Posted 05/09/2020 at 01:05:38
On the face of it the article appears accurate but it is judging a very short timeframe of 9 months. The article fails to mention we've also signed Branthwaite and the left back from Marseille. In fact, whilst typing this, these are all we've signed!

As such, far from being a dinosaur (which is obvious the writer believes Mr Ancelotti is) the signings to date seem impressive. Add to that, Calvert-Lewin, Gordon & Davies have all played lots – far more than any other manager have played them. Looking at Mr Ancelotti's career - trusting young players he has always done and indeed he has signed many. Clearly he buys established quality too - I see no harm in this.

I think the article is written with a perceived bias of Mr Ancelotti which is fine. However, saying Brands is both being usurped (or at best put in a peripheral role) is pure conjecture and I don't consider support the facts.

Doucouré clearly a long term target and not Mr Ancelotti's. To me, the signing of Allan is owing to failure to sign Holberg from Southampton (a lot of people say thats why we signed Doucoure but I disagree as totally different players).

In terms of Rodriguez he screams out as purely an Ancelotti signing. He also screams out as a gamble and indeed in all honesty a big mistake at the cost being mooted and not on loan. I consider most Evertonians whilst excited are concerned. This exacerbated by fact our managers have often favoured signing players who have played for them before, eg, Schnedierlin who was utter shite.

However, Ancelotti has been around a long time and from what I recall (but I'm no statistician) I don't recall anybody him signing from an old club to another. Indeed, the exception is Rodriguez which given seldom happened with Mr Ancelotti despite his long career makes me bow down to his expertise.

Anyway, all guesswork but I just think focusing on brands comment about Mr Ancelotti is wrong and pure conjecture. The comments to me appear innocuous and simply factual; the aura around Mr Ancelotti do not reflect the man who is quite simply working class.

Clearly you don't rate Mr Ancelotti and you consider the three likely signings as likely to succeed which is fair enough. However, to dress the article up as Everton being run as a risk-free for all and Moshiri running the show and but Brands I feel does not, in my opinion, reflect the reality.

Si Cooper
5 Posted 05/09/2020 at 01:14:42
Neil, I'm not sure that 2 players qualifies as a large influx.

The OP suggests others who could do the same as Allan. Surely his appeal is that his abilities are tried and trusted by our manager so he is less of a risk than someone he has never worked with.

I'm pretty sure there were targeted players that didn't pan out, but the three we are left with don't seem to merit instant right-offs. If they perform well they could easily be really positive influencers on the playing staff and get the project moving in the right direction.

Don Alexander
6 Posted 05/09/2020 at 02:07:33
Whenever are good fans of our club going to pay attention to what Moshiri said when he said over a year ago, quote, "Kenwright has been given a far more involved role by me"?

This means Kenwright still has a major role, as befitting an adequate club chairman.

Unfortunately, Kenwright – throughout his dubious decades-long tenure – has consistently delivered only crap.

Bizarrely he's still chairman though, in a newly-enhanced role according to Moshiri.

And some of us fans still muse as to who's been responsible for our thirty-year demise, uniquely compared to the other six clubs who, like us, were actively courted by the powers-that-be that created the Premier League.

Here's a clue: he's still in the boardroom, occupying the top chair, in his "enhanced" role, ever vigilant as he is in employing 100% yes-men former failed players to our already wholly inadequate training ground.

Still, some will say three modest signings (compared to top teams) will in their late 20s transform Finch Farm and the whole team ethic, and deliver success.

Dream on, whilst that tool Kenwright has any input.

Derek Thomas
7 Posted 05/09/2020 at 02:21:49
Surely the idea of a director of football is that they set out the strategy for the club?

Strategy? So who sets the stategy for the DoF to implement? Who is going to tell egos like Koeman... and for all I know, egos like Allardyce and even Ancelotti... how to coach and select their teams.

Or is the DoF just a posh scout come negotiator?

Up to now he's been neither - Kean and Iwobi for £60M.

Brands successes will only be seen in hindsight (like the maligned Walsh - Gana & Calvert-Lewin) with the likes of Branthwaite and the French Left Back?

His failures will likely be seen alongside those two next week at Spurs.

As to who's steering? Blind Pugh by the look of it and he's taking the scenic route skirting the great barrier reef of FFP.

Disclaimer: Not a big fan of the whole DoF model.

Steve Brown
8 Posted 05/09/2020 at 02:59:19
Brands was dining with Ancelotti, James, Allan and Doucouré last night at the Titanic Hotel. If this piece is to be believed, I am surprised he could swallow his food with the disappointment.

The question is how patient are club and the fans willing to be. Which 'young, hungry players' could we have afforded that would have propelled us into the top six? Answer is none. Even if we could have afforded them, they would not have come. Don't think we could have competed for Werner, Havertz or Van De Beek unfortunately.

So, do we continue to exclusively sign younger, cheaper players in the hope they develop into a team in 3 years? Or, do we also sign experienced players who will move us closer now? Brands will still continue to source young talent, but when they join the club they will have a nucleus of top senior pros to learn from.

We have signed some talented players aged 26 or under over the last two seasons, but we finished mid-table for a good reason.

Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 05/09/2020 at 04:02:04
Martin and Peter, I look forward to the both of you dining on a three-course dinner of crow regarding James Rodriguez.
Terence Leong
10 Posted 05/09/2020 at 05:51:11
My quick thoughts:

Looking at the transfer news since the end of the season, I can understand Martin's original posts. I do share some sentiments, and wonder what's next.

At the same time, I do think having a main or long-term strategy, does not mean that we cannot tweak them along the way. Or contextualize supposed deviations as part of the longer-term strategy.

For example, the concept of bringing young(er) players as the main pipeline works, from the point of building the team, if we have senior players, to guide them along. Else, we will be having alot of promise, without the stability of experience.

In our current situation, we have a glut of experienced players that are under-performing and need to move on. Thus, if we move them on (or not), we won't be able to have the experience to guide the younger players.

One way of looking at this, is the trio of older and more experienced players, to guide our promising ones, eg, Holgate, Branthwaite, Calvert-Lewin, Gordon etc. Even Richarlison is still young by comparison.

Or at least this is what I hope.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 05/09/2020 at 05:57:30
I actually think what is happening is that Brands's initial strategy is getting back on track, having been totally driven off-course by interference in last Summer's transfer window. The Saha saga was for the birds, when one considers Everton's financial position.

On the Academy side, Brands's changes have been on-going, supported by recent structural changes supported by Ancelotti. The age structure profile at the Academy has been reduced and a clear policy of introducing younger players into the first-team squad is emerging, with additional outside sources if necessary.

The midfield is an obvious problem and had to be dealt with by the introduction of experienced players who can recover and tackle and maintain possession and complete an effective pass forward. This has been done, with other positions still on the agenda, though the first-choice targets have not been acquired; such is normal in a transfer window.

There are still two weeks in the transfer window and FFP rules have been pushed two years down the road, as would be expected in response to the fallout from Covid-19. Deadwood will I expect be tackled in earnest, in the next two weeks, to help address Everton's worsening financial position, not helped by Covid-19, on top of more funds being introduced by Moshiri.

In the meantime, the preparation of the first-team squad has been subtlety changed, with the additional introduction of youth into first-team preparation.

I agree that Rodriguez is a risk and not ideal, but is a better prospect than existing midfield players, skill wise and injury-prone wise. I just had a look at Messi's injury record.

As I have said, Brands's initial policy has been put back on track, with an underlining financial plan to address Everton's financial weaknesses. The latter is reflected in transfer fees Everton are willing to pay and the moving on of surplus players in the next two weeks.

What is happening is a realistic attempt to address Everton problems, with the achievable objective of a top six position. It is the last chance to progress this aim forward. If it fails, there will be major changes to consolidate Everton's financial position.

The article does not offer a realistic alternative solution.

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 05/09/2020 at 07:23:29
I'm a great admirer of the Brands philosophy of adding young players with potential and resale value. It's what we see a lot of very well run European clubs like Leverkusen, Leipzig, Lille, Salzburg etc doing.

But it depends in part on having some reliable senior pros.

Our issue is that the senior professionals (Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Delph, Walcott, Bernard etc) we're simply not cutting it. They've not been good enough on the pitch or providing the leadership and consistency which younger players can then learn from and build upon.

What I believe we are seeing is Ancelloti bringing in high calibre, experienced professionals that he believes can anchor this team and allow the youngsters to flourish. Hopefully they can stay fit and add consistency and leadership at a high level for the next 3-4 years.

It's always a gamble but if it works then I think moving forwards we will see 2/3 younger players being brought in future windows, reverting to the Brands philosophy.

Neil Cremin
13 Posted 05/09/2020 at 07:27:47

Three new players in midfield will need to be able to play with each other and integrate with the team as well.

We have bought individuals in the past and although talented never integrated with the team. No Tim Cahill types.

Hopefully Carlo can make it gel

David Ellis
14 Posted 05/09/2020 at 07:39:26
I agree that the hiring of Ancelotti and the current proposed transfers are “off strategy”. But ,to me, this just means that Moshiri is willing to pump more money into the club.

The whole point of buying players with a resale value was to ensure financial sustainability. But we don't need it to be sustainable if Moshiri is going to cover the short-term costs for a ready-made top-six team. If he's willing to fund it, it makes sense.

Rob Dolby
15 Posted 05/09/2020 at 07:41:49
What is wrong with buying players for the 'here and now'. If things click, these players give us a genuine chance of winning a trophy and being competitive.

We desperately needed new midfielders. Ancelotti no doubt told brands who his targets are and Brands bought them.

We have an older manager who is one of the most successful in European football history – doesn't it make sense to bankroll whoever he wants?

The ages are also not an issue; modern players look after themselves a lot more and have longer careers.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 05/09/2020 at 08:06:37
Every time a team concede a goal it is easy to pick holes out of it, especially if you have a personal scapegoat who you know was responsible somewhere along the lines.

This is the first time I've seen a clear plan at Everton, possibly in my lifetime, but maybe that's because I don't want to pick holes in anything, and maybe because I want to be positive, after the way we have been ran for an absolute eternity.

It seems that Brands has really began to restructure the pathway for younger players coming through our academy, and Ancelotti has decided his team needed quality and experience, because the players he inherited, were simply not good enough to take Everton football club anywhere past mid to lower table mediocrity.

Paul Birmingham
17 Posted 05/09/2020 at 08:06:55
Sam@12, and Rob@15, Good points and I'm with you.

The squad is being overhauled, hindsight is wonderful, but hopefully EFC has learnt the lessons from the last few seasons.

This season the club with all that's happened must improve and achieve consistency and become dare I say a proper team whom are respected healthily by the opposition.

For too long now and myself included, it's with a very reasonable incline that you'd know where we could “Nick, or scrape, a win, or draw”, but generally, Everton, would get rolled over.

Getting beat whilst trying is not terrible, but playing like they can't be bothered is not acceptable.

I'm optimistic for this season, and a solid start, starting at Spurs is needed.

My biggest concern, in the basis these players do arrive at Goodison Park, is our goalkeeper.

I fear this could be our main point of failure, but hopefully will be reduced by a solid midfield and attack and defence.

But hopefully the fitness of the squad has improved as in most games last season we looked knackered by 35 minutes.

Loads of hope now let's get these deals done, and see what the next month could bring EFC, on the park and in the transfer market.

Kase Chow
18 Posted 05/09/2020 at 08:40:41
What a shame the OP and so many comments are so darn negative. As many have stated: we have tried to buy youth and whilst some players have been a success eg Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison etc, lots and lots have been flops: Sandro, Vlasic, Lookman

If Carlo thinks we need experience to improve then great - let's buy some experience and character.

The was we lost to the Anfield kids should never ever have happened. But it did.

We have been bossed in midfield by everyone and it's disgusting. Carlo addresses it and people add still not happy?!??

Carlo is the very best manager that would come to us. Are you suggesting that we shouldn't totally and utterly back him? Show us your medals and I might listen to you.

Truth is that us fans know about 15% of the game and the inner workings and how to make a successful team.

It's like us saying Picasso was decent but should have used different paint or different strokes.

Blues be excited for once. These signings could crash and burn. So what, what's new? Most of our signings tend to crash and burn.

OR they could be brilliant. It's crazy but it might just work. And, if they do work, then Wow!

Barry Rathbone
19 Posted 05/09/2020 at 08:50:36
Far more support for the sentiments than I imagined given the general rapture surrounding the 3 amigos but a timely reminder there are among us those yet to be convinced.

Managers need to hit the ground running to gain time for building – see Klopp, Arteta, Lampard, Nuno, Solsklaer – has Carlo done that here?

Given the litany of previous disappointments it's easy to see potential disaster in signing another sick note.

Btw, the managerial hierarchy will sort itself out – they're all seasoned professionals.

Kevin Latham
21 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:10:02
Some valid points made regarding buying younger players to develop. However, after winning nothing for 25 years whilst seeing the likes of Swansea and Birmingham win silverware, do we not get to a point where we have to do something in the here and now?

We've put up with so much heartache and nonsense over the years, even lack of ambition it may be said, so is it not time to deliver rather than plan for the future? I don't know if the 3 signings will do it but at least it's a statement of intent.

We desperately need to make progress next season so maybe this is the way to go. Carlo may not be everybody's choice, but until I've won what he has in the game then I'll accept that he knows more than I do.

And I'm all for developing younger players but I think it's easier to do when you're on the rise and progressing; otherwise we tend to want them in the first team and invariably expect too much of them.

It's certainly a difficult balancing trick but as for the here and now; I'd be more than happy for our potential new signings to help us climb that league and do well in the cups.

Bob Parrington
22 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:13:35
Okay, so here we go with "strategy": if it isn't working, change it.

I'm fucking fed up with the current whinge from some on here. The strategy has been tickled somewhat. Get used to it.

Good moves due to Brands and a new manager who is worth his salt. Be happy. If it doesn't work, have your say later.

Joe McMahon
23 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:16:18
Barry, the managers you mention all inherited much better squads, with teams with more recent history of winning a lot of silverware since 1995. It is in the make up if those teams to compete.
Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:17:16
Dammed if you do Carlo, even after watching possibly the most shambolic midfield you have ever had the displeasure to manage.

Let's turn this around and get positive because this spending at a time of such prudence can only realistically mean one thing. Fuckin' shush, don't mention “The Uzbek” this is all Moshiri's doing, he's already spent half his fortune at Everton, and there isn't even a spade in the ground at Bramley Moore Dock yet!

Let's get behind the team and be positive, especially if it's the last throw of the dice...

Colin Glassar
25 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:32:03
Errmmm, Brands is a glorified scout and club secretary who never won anything in his football career. Ancelotti has won everything under the sun, except for the World Cup and yet his decisions are being questioned before the season even starts?

I know this is a forum where everyone has opinions, and a right to them, but bloody hell – give the man a chance! He's bringing in players who he trusts will do a job for him.

Or should we make Brands manager, or the fabled Monchi or why not Raiola (super agent)? All of these geniuses must know more about football than little old, worn out, has-been, Carlo Ancelotti. Laughable!

Christy Ring
26 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:33:03
Martin, our midfield was a shambles, and I'll be delighted if and when Ancelotti signs Allan, Doucouré and James. In my opinion, the manager has the final say on all transfers.

By the way, Martin, didn't Brands sign Delph and Iwobi? Enough said.

Anthony Flack
27 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:40:29
Brands must have watched the disastrous performances of the post lockdown games, assuming he did I imagine he will be over the moon to land three players of known quality, two of who the manager clearly knows very well and rates highly.

If the aim of the article is to demonstrate that the strategy to recruit young and exciting, as opposed to proven experienced talent, then so be it.

One of the greatest strengths in leadership at executive levels is knowing when to change and do something different (and not giving a flying fuck what anyone else thinks) – so for one (non-executive) I am currently only seeing positives in the three signings.

Delighted, in fact – once I see them wearing the shirt!!

Brian Williams
28 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:41:22
If you climbed Everest after training for a year, spending your life savings, almost dying twice in the process, before sitting atop the highest place on this planet with a feeling of great achievement....

Some misery arsed ToffeeWebber would come along and say "View's not as good as I thought it'd be."

Dave Abrahams
29 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:54:01
I think Brands is here for the long term, working now with Ancelotti who is here to get us through another rough period over the next three years, which should get us up there with the top teams and start bringing us the long-awaited silverware.

There will be success and flops, with the signings, along the way. Many more success stories than flops... but this is Everton so there are no guarantees.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:57:42
Brian (28), just saw your post, cracker, and true.
Kunal Desai
31 Posted 05/09/2020 at 09:59:11
How many goals did Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin bag last season between the pair of them, something like 26? And they were feeding off scraps with a poor midfield of Gomes, Davies and Sigurdsson. I expect both to get a lot more chances and increase their goal ratio with the midfield players we bring in. Turning defence into attack a lot more quicker.

Rodriguez and Allan are Champions League players. Assuming Gomes fits in here playing more deeper whilst the likes of Davies ane Sigurdsson become nothing more than squad players with the latter being phased out and moving on.

My point is we need a wealth of experience in that midfield and need it now to supplement two young forwards, maybe even three (Kean), the ammunition they need to build on from last season.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:01:01
I climbed a mountain in New Zealand once, Brian, but the views were spoilt by a very hazy day, and then I fell on the way down, dislocating my elbow, but luckily missing quite a few boulders that were scattered around, which definitely saved my life!

I took the positive, especially once I realised that mountain had claimed many lives. But I'm still fuming about the view, though, mate – it's what we do best!

Mark Tanton
33 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:01:18
Allan in.


Steve Brown
34 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:04:54
The claim that Ancelotti is driving the transfer policy and that Brands is sidelined only lacks one thing – evidence. Our signing of Allan, James and Doucouré shows they are combining brilliantly.
Ray Roche
35 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:04:56
SSN confirm Allan on a three year contract.
Ray Roche
36 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:07:09
Steve Shave
37 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:08:41
Allan! :)
Steve Brown
38 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:14:50
Get in there.
Anthony Flack
39 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:16:47
Brian@28 - brilliant 👋
Brian Williams
40 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:21:11
Cue the "Ahh something's obviously gone wrong with the other two and Everton have released this news to placate the fans!"
Tony Everan
41 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:25:03
Martin, I agree with the comments that these three amigos will improve us and get us much closer but, as far as top 6 is concerned, I think we need to look elsewhere as why we will fall short.

Firstly to get there, James Rodriguez will have to stay fit and play 30+ league games for us. I think he has only done this once before in the last decade.

Secondly, We have not got an Aubameyang, an Aubameyang will be difficult for us to sign and we cannot afford Aubameyang, unless FFP and Moshiri help.

Moise Kean may well become one, but in a couple of years time, but we need one now to break through the glass ceiling. I think Carlo knows all that and will not be averse to Moise returning to Italy on loan to mature a bit, allowing us to recruit our best possible attempt at an Aubameyang.

One solution to this conundrum?

Carlo decides to use Richarlison, more like a Firminho role, centrally in a 4-3-3, his stated preferred position. Then he comes good big time with his increased maturity and experience. Also, with the better players and vastly improved stability and creativity around him, especially in midfield. He is the most natural finisher we have got and there will be more chances to finish this season. Logic follows that you want your best finisher putting away those chances.

It hasn't quite worked before, but it offers that real extra quality in an area where a team needs it if it a serious top 4 / 6 contender.

I am not dismissing the excellent Calvert-Lewin by saying this at all, he will have a massive part to play. It could be a case of horses for courses. There are many teams Calvert-Lewin could well be more effective against.

Steve Brown
42 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:27:08
He signed yesterday when he went to Finch Farm, judging by the clobber he's wearing. Unless he only owns one jumper and pair of trousers!
Eugene Markey
43 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:28:50
Brian @28,

Brilliant comment – so true about a lot of the comments on here. Everything is speculation, we haven't a clue if there is a divide between our manager and Brands. Surely who we are bringing in will be better than what we witnessed in our midfield last season?

Also kicking Richarlison off the park will not be the answer for every other team now. We will have more of a Dogs of War midfield to help to protect him.

Let's give our new signings a chance to settle in before we make judgement. This is Carlo's first stab at trying to build his own team – let's get behind him. COYB

Brian Williams
44 Posted 05/09/2020 at 10:34:59
Tony A. Are you sure you didn't fall down that mountain coz it was getting close to closing time? ;-)
George Carroll
45 Posted 05/09/2020 at 11:08:21
We haven't started the season yet but already we are hearing the doom merchants telling us the Manager doesn't know what he is doing and as for the DOF well poor chap he hasn't a clue, just a lap dog.

There is enough with the virus to worry about... for once, look on the bright side and take your miserable whining elsewhere.

Derek Thomas
46 Posted 05/09/2020 at 11:17:29
Rob 15; That has to be the plan – a two-tier system. Young up-and-comings, seasoned with proven performers... which is okay as long as no more Sigurdssons and Schneiderlins come.

These old hands will also, hopefully, take up the slack when, if, any of our "buy cheap, sell dear" youngsters leave for big money.

We're still tottering around the FFP quicksands though, without quite falling in, or, are we taking a chance that the FFP Covid-19 truce will, especially after Man City drove a herd of camels through it, hold for a couple of years until we get our act straight.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 05/09/2020 at 11:25:14
Long story mate, but it took 3 hrs up and 4 hrs down and they wouldn’t even let me have a sip of water because I had to be put asleep to have it reset.

I see you’ve already been asleep on this thread and it can’t be because you’ve drank the twenty bottles of desperados that Dave owes you Brian!

Anyway the time for us all to reset is now, (imo) and I’ll definitely be drinking something stronger than water when Everton win the cup next May!

Neil Copeland
48 Posted 05/09/2020 at 11:42:01
I am just praying that Covid will be behind us sooner rather than later so I can get to Goodison and feel the buzz. Difficult not to be excited by the players we are (hopefully) bringing in.

Yes, it would be great to bring in young talented players but we need an immediate fix that will help us form a longer-term plan. Without the experience alongside them to guide and motivate the younger players are at risk of failing before they have got started. We already have a number of good young players, now it looks like we will have the experience to help them and u fully expect Brands to continue bringing in future talent.

To me, Everton is finally getting something right. We have a manager who is getting things done his way and a DoF who is sorting the deals that Carlo wants. The pull of Carlo is astonishing, imagine who we could attract here if we actually win something and got into Europe.

For now, we should enjoy the ride and see where it takes us. For the first time in a long while the future is looking pretty good.

Jerome Shields
49 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:05:59
Sam #12,

Totally agree. Ancelotti will be wanting a knock-on effect from the example and play from these three players on players around them. None of the existing midfield players were good enough and certainly would not inspire confidence in those playing around them, especially the younger players.

Phill Thompson
50 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:14:26
Tony A.,

I once ran up Ben Lomond in New Zealand, glorious view, including Mount Snowdon in the distance. Not a big mountain, almost urban, but as I've got older, my ambitions and what brings satisfaction have been considerably reduced.

Similarly for this season, I remain optimistic with reduced expectations. But optimistic I am, and am really baffled by those with so much criticism even before a Premier League ball has been kicked.

Laurie Hartley
51 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:21:21
Tony # 24,

I'm with you. Moshiri might have made a few mistakes along the way but he has got. 🏀 🏀

He is a determined character and we should back him – and Ancelotti.

Paul McCoy
52 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:32:22
I think our core strategy hasn't changed entirely – buy and develop young talent, sell some of them, keep the great ones.

It has clearly been tweaked though. We need an experienced midfield that can win games now. Not in 1-2 years time.

It's not like we aren't also giving youth a chance. Look at how many games the likes of Holgate, Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Branthwaite got last season. Although admittedly Branthwaite only got so many minutes due to injuries.

Laurie Hartley
53 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:38:32
Allan a done deal - yay


Brian Williams
54 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:50:38
I see you've already been asleep on this thread and it can't be because you've drank the twenty bottles of Desperados that Dave owes you, Brian!

Dave Abrahams, please note!!! Even your own flesh and blood says it's 20 Desperados!!!


Derek Taylor
55 Posted 05/09/2020 at 12:59:46
Like others, I agree with much of this post, but see it to be a safer and more strident version of the Allardyce appointment.

Now, as then everything is focussed on making safe our seat in the Premier League. As I've said so many times, these days we must accept midway and hope for higher whoever is manager or DoF. Moshiri and Usmanov are all about Bramley Moore Dock, believe me!

Jack Convery
56 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:02:23
Imagine supporting Juve - buying Ronaldo in his mid 30s and now Suarez. Boooooooooo.
Dale Rose
57 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:03:30
Brian #28. That's not true. A true ToffeeWeb man would say he thought it would have been bigger.
Colin Glassar
58 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:04:40
And Messi, Jack? Why? Why? Why? Football is a game for teenagers right, or am I missing something?
Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:13:45
Brian (54) take no notice of Tony, Brian, my pension went up last week and he thinks I'm minted. It went up by 25p, a week, and he's already spending it for me, and yet he still lets me go around the pubs to sell bootlaces, razor blades etc, and you're even worse, trying to con exorbitant bottles of Desperados out of a poor, old nearly destitute pensioner.
David Pearl
60 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:19:46
I read up to Bobby Brown Shoes and filled in the rest.
Joe McMahon
61 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:23:54
I keep reading about involvement from Usmanov. Let's wait and see as we know what happens when we count our chickens.
Derek Taylor
62 Posted 05/09/2020 at 14:38:21
Who sponsors Finch Farm then – Putin?
Si Cooper
63 Posted 05/09/2020 at 15:15:59
Neil (13), your post said ‘from outside the PL’ so I thought you were mainly worried about adapting to the PL. I exempted Doucouré from that obviously.
Even so, I don’t think integrating this 3 will be anything like what was being attempted with our plethora of ‘number 10s’. Allan and James are senior pros and Ancelotti knows their qualities inside out. Hard work and energy will pretty much be the expectation for Doucouré.
Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 05/09/2020 at 15:17:23
Brian, a MOTM performance on this comments thread. Brilliant all over the pitch. (Ably supported by the Abrahams family, I must say.)

Whatever you're drinking, keep drinking it. Just don't let Tony have any. His elbow still needs rest.

Andy Kay
65 Posted 05/09/2020 at 00:22:38
I do think we need to remember the how young the 84- 87 squad were. Kevin Ratcliffe lifting the FA cup as a 24 year captain. Steven, Stevens Mountfield Bracewell Heath, Richardson, Irvine, Lineker Watson ect all in the early to mid 20s. And the common myth that Reid and Gray were old farts, when they were 29 and 28 when we won the Cup winners cup. I know its a different era but when you look at 22- 23 year old "youngsters" going out on loan to get experience, somethings wrong. I understand not every player is a Rooney but if you're not holding a 1st team shirt by the time you're 24, you need to move on. Our recent 3 signings need to be the "Reid and Gray " of this generation and the Kennys and Davies and Holgates need to step up another level.
Shaun Laycock
66 Posted 06/09/2020 at 10:14:27
Can't both schools of thought be in operation... Allan, James & Doucouré for now to fill a giant hole. These three (2 actually; I believe Doucoure will have sell-on value) can make the other players better straight away.

We also have a core of young potential first teamers (Nkounkou, Branthwaite, Gordon, Kenny, Kean). We also have a few players that could come good with better players around them (Bernard, Iwobi, Gomes) and the deadwood.

It is a massive job. Let's wait until the transfer window is over to cast judgement as surely we are judging it on incomplete evidence...

Shaun Laycock
67 Posted 06/09/2020 at 10:15:34
Add Davies to the above.
John Chambers
69 Posted 06/09/2020 at 18:53:34
One week ago, I was convinced we were going to be in a relegation fight this season. Defence was okay, Attack was okay but midfield was woeful.

Assuming we do get all 3 across the line, I think this change in strategy moves us out of that and a top-half-of-the-table team this season. That will allow Holgate, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, and perhaps Davies, who are currently in the first team to mature. Hopefully for Kenny, Branthwaite, Gibson, Nkounkou and Gordon to grow into regulars.

Changing strategy for one window to allow the team to grow is better than sticking blindly to the strategy and finding ourselves in the Championship.

Julian Wait
70 Posted 07/09/2020 at 21:39:08
A: Moshiri is the Merchant Investor; Brands' job is to get the sailor's Carlo chooses and do whatever it takes - press-gang if necessary - to get them onboard. Carlo Ancelotti is steering the ship, and it's sailing from South America right up the Royal Blue Mersey, just like my dad in WW2. No corned beef this time though, just prime cuts from South America. Can't wait until Sunday now.
Steve Ferns
71 Posted 07/09/2020 at 21:50:54
The role of Director of Football is one half of the traditional managers job. You have to accept that in 2020, you cannot manage a club the size of Everton, or indeed any Premier League club, like Moyes' used to do. Ancelotti would not want to.

Superstar managers want to be on the training ground working with their players and go home in the afternoon, maybe watch a few videos of opposition or players or a game on TV, but that's job done. They don't want to be driving to watch Doncaster v Rochdale, like Moyes used to do. They don't want to watching the u23s train, and keeping tabs on promising players, never mind watching all the games.

Media commitments are more and more demanding too. The job of the 80s style English manager is simply too big. It had to be cut in half. One guy to coach and pick the side, the other to handle the rest, the scouting, the recruitment, the contracts, the negotiations, staff recruitment, the pastoral care of players and families, etc.

A bad Director of Football gives the coach players he didn't ask for and doesn't want. It doesn't make the role bad, it makes the incumbent bad. A good Director of Football gives the coach what he needs, whether that be a specific player or a type of player.

Marcel Brands was always going to deliver on specific players. Practically his first signing was Richarlison. Sure, Brands knew him, Brands rated him, and Brands agreed he would be a good signing, but he was always Silva's man. We got done, at least so it seemed at the time, on the price as Brands had no leverage. But subsequent deals have been less exuberate. Bernard might be on a pretty penny, but when it's all totalled up, he'll cost less than £20m and that's cheap for a mid 20s Brazilian international.

So who's steering the ship? Brands and Ancelotti both, in partnership. And as long as they are both in tandem, Everton will do well. If one or the other tries to take sole control, then we have problems.

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