The Project – Next Chapter

Paul Tran 08/09/2020 59comments  |  Jump to last
Credit to Farhad Moshiri. Like all good gamblers, he plays, he makes mistakes, he part-learns, part-makes similar mistakes, irons out mistakes, but above all, he keeps playing and looks for opportunities.

He saw an opportunity in Carlo Ancelotti, who I suspect is the manager he thought Ronald Koeman might be. He ballsed up badly with Sam Allardyce, made, in my view, a slightly smaller mistake for better reasons with Marco Silva, but he kept playing and noticed Ancelotti.

Ancelotti was a huge commitment, in terms of salary, risk and inevitably sustained expense. Did anyone really think that Ancelotti would be happy with this squad, with droning on about resale value of nice, talented, ineffective over-priced young men? No, me neither. Now, for all I know, Ancelotti may be past his sell-by date and may have bought players about whom you could say the same.

But what is clear is that he’s done what any decent manager would do – he’s looked as this unbalanced, ineffective, demotivated rabble and injected it with more quality, more experience and, in the case of Allan and Rodriguez, a winning mentality, filling the giant hole in midfield in the process. He’s also bought two players he knows, who have both thrived under him in the past, who have surely only come here because of Ancelotti? That, in turn, suggests he knows exactly what he wants to do with them, a most welcome diversion from recent signings.


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What Moshiri has done here is minimise excuses. He’s got us a proven manager and backed him. Ancelotti has his midfield, so he can’t use lack of class/character as an excuse. The young players have proper colleagues they can learn from, who can lift them during games. It will be great to see Mason Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies learn from these players, as opposed to having to be the strong men of the team.

The likes of Lucas Digne and Richarlison may see that the club is serious and worth staying with. As for the ‘senior’ players, Moshiri and Ancelotti have them in a corner. No longer in a position where they have to be picked, they have to decide whether they want to buck up and respond to being around better players by improving both effort and performance, or whether they want to make it clear that they’re happy to ride out their contracts. I suspect this will force some to move on, while some will coast out their contracts.

You have to be excited by this. Better players, cheaper than some of those we have bought recently. The excellent social media unveiling and the plans to use this as a springboard in the US and Latin America bode well for the club as a business. While I’m always cynical at the high prices initially stated, Marcel Brands has done cracking work in getting these deals done at the prices.

This is a gamble, but in my view an educated one. I want a successful team now. That means buying good experienced players that can do a job now, as well as those who we will sell at a profit when bigger clubs come to poach. Look at the Champions League final – how many players were in their late 20s or older? In my opinion, good team-building beats stats and resale value any day of the week. We still have to do it on the pitch: Allan and Rodriguez may need time to settle in, we need to be mindful of that. We need to shift players and cash in on our new markets to stay compliant with profit and loss.

The Project is back on the rails and there are fewer excuses to stop it hurtling forwards. It’s time for manager and players to deliver; time for us to be less cautiously optimistic!

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Reader Comments (59)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 08/09/2020 at 20:08:18
Good piece, PT. The essence of an educated gamble is understanding the odds, the chances of winning versus losing, the upside versus the downside, and by those measures this is a superb gamble indeed.

The upside is immeasurable -- if all three newcomers regain their best levels, the quality holdovers do their jobs well, and we're fortunate with injuries, this is a club that could contend for the Champions League and generate a level of excitement among the supporters and recognition in the world that Everton haven't enjoyed in decades.

But, even if the darkest downside occurs -- Allan can't adjust, James hurts his knee, Doucoure doesn't maintain consistency -- we will still be better than we were last season, and at a reasonable and limited financial cost that would easily be recouped with sell-ons.

In your parlance, PT, we've got a trifecta bet on three great thoroughbreds, and we're betting with house money.

Darren Hind
2 Posted 08/09/2020 at 20:09:56
You are somebody who confesses to liking a gamble, Paul. I can see this is right up your street.

Moshiri rolls the dice by hoping Ancelotti's best days are not behind him. Ancelotti rolls the dice by identifying three talented players, two of whom have lost their place and the other has just been relegated.

The trio have all rolled the dice in an attempt to get their careers back on track and are trusting Carlo still has it.

The stadium is in the balance. The DOF has his balls on the line, and the Owner is shitting himself. Do we ever need luck to be a lady tonight?

A lot of dice in a lot of hands... but at least we finally have a whole lot of shaking goin' on!

Patrick McFarlane
3 Posted 08/09/2020 at 20:12:40
Good read, Paul, there are now no excuses, and there really shouldn't have been any for the previous five years either. Of course, we won't know how well the new players will fit in until we've played a few games, but surely they can't make us worse than the back-end of last season.

The aim should be to challenge that top six or even higher; that may not be achieved, but we shouldn't be looking over our shoulders to teams below us at any point. If this isn't the time to launch ourselves into the upper echelons of the Premier League, then it will never happen.

A fresh start, a fresh wave of justifiable optimism, and who knows we may yet rid ourselves of the 'making up the numbers' tag.

Tony Everan
4 Posted 08/09/2020 at 20:30:08
Thanks for the article, Paul, The project is firmly back on the rails due to these brilliant transfers, for reasonable fees and contracts.

There's a change in the operations at the club, there was a plan in advance and it has been executed with precision. Doesn't sound so incredulous, but this is not Everton we have come to expect. I am confident this efficiency is now our new normal on the playing and business side.

I don't think Carlo and Marcel are done yet, I think there will be one, maybe two more nuggets of excellent business.

Paul Tran
5 Posted 08/09/2020 at 21:51:30
Yes, Darren, but the alternative is an even bigger gamble. Carrying on buying stat-boy hot shots for 20m and watching them flop or be poached at a profit might please the bank manager, but will neither entertain us, nor win us trophies.

Farhad's put his money down like a man on a value accumulator. We're living again!

Fran Mitchell
6 Posted 08/09/2020 at 22:13:53
Indeed Paul.

All transfers are gambles. One way would be identify the best players of the Championship.

Eze Eberechi - 16 million
Ollie Watkins - 28 million
Saidio Beharinho - 30 million

We could have signed those 3 players, it would have cost more than what we spent on our 3, and none would have solved our weakness in midfield. And they could all either be huge successes or massive flops.

Eze looks amazing, and I wanted us to get him all season. But who do I bet to get more goals and assists THIS season, him or James? I'd bet my money on James.

And yes, with Ancelotti as manager, James, Allan, and Doucoure I think the club are certainly thinking, gambling, on immediate success.

It may or may not succeed. But we have to be pleased we are going for it, and not contenting ourselves in signing a good 20 million youngster who if he does work out will be playing for Chelsea or Utd in 2 seasons for massive profit.

And the USM logos all over the place now show that there is certainly money in the club.

Joe McMahon
7 Posted 08/09/2020 at 22:17:58
I'm still in shock at seeing huge screen of James Rodriguez on Times Square and in Miami. Its something we haven't had before.
Ian Riley
8 Posted 08/09/2020 at 22:58:20
It's down to having a world class manager. Carlo wants more than top ten or a semi-final. We have bought quality and this only ups our club status and respect. When Carlo was appointed I thought why? It's like the local fish and chip shop employing a chef from the Ritz hotel. All credit to our owner for again for further investment. Carlo is not settling for mid table and hope for the best. He wants us to succeed.

No one knows what will happen but when you train and work alongside experienced and quality players it can only help younger players. I feel excited about our season coming up.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 08/09/2020 at 23:08:04
Great piece Paul, as always. I’d still feel much better if Ancelotti brought in a Paul Clement to do the hard part of the coaching for him. But Carlo really fancies getting his hands dirty and he also seems to have full confidence in the abilities of his son.

Great to see Darren pop up. Missed you on the site, but disappointed you’re not feeling the surge of forwards momentum.

Joe, yes it was amazing. Has anyone ever done this before? Certainly not our neighbours but I think I recall man united doing something. The club has really impressed me with the way they’ve pushed the James signing. Adverts in New York, Miami (biggest population of Colombians in USA), and Bogotá, Colombia, not to mention around Liverpool itself (Albert Dock, Lime Street, Goodison, and what looked like Great George Street). The club is going all in here, to use the gambling theme, and I think players will be wanting to come here right now (Messi level aside of course) if we can only find the money.

Don Alexander
10 Posted 08/09/2020 at 23:29:00
After the decades the likes of Dazza and I have had to endure I fully empathize with his post above.

That said, Jay Wood on another current thread about the hopefully inspirational personality of Hamez hits the nail on the head for our three latest signings. Do they have the personality, singly and/or together, to make a real difference in attitude and performance on an immediate basis at the bowl of complacency that USMFF has for years become?

Here's hoping.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 09/09/2020 at 01:40:54
Any two from three for less than what we paid for Siggi. Such a pity that there will be no crowd for the potential Home debuts Vs Salford or more likely Palace.

Let them and the team get a couple of games under their belt then bring on the rs.

Jay Wood

12 Posted 09/09/2020 at 01:59:58
I was thinking along similar lines last night Paul following the confirmation of James Rodriguez signing.

The manager, the players, the Dof, none of them have grounds or room for excuses.

Once again Moshiri has funded a spending spree. Paul the Esk is probably getting antsy that this has (to date) been achieved with little heavy-duty outgoings to help balance the books.

But even without further signings, Ancelotti has little wriggle room for excuses. He has recruited his own players for the engine room of the team, the area that most needed addressing. It now befalls to him to get a tune out of the entire orchestra.

The new recruits have to prove themselves all over again - with or without attending spectators. The resident senior players have to up their game to retain their place. The more junior players have to do likewise to usurp the senior players.

Those who can't or wont have a decision to make: to see out their contracts at Everton with little or no game time, or to move on to a club that will play them.

No question the money offered would have gone some way in attracting the 3 new players (although James appears to have taken a considerable wage cut if reports are true). But it will be a very hard case for anyone to make that the Carlo Ancelotti factor did not contribute considerably to their recruitment.

From what we know of the fees and contracts against what was rumoured we would have to pay to land the 3 players, Brands has also negotiated well.

Of course, there is never any guarantee in any appointment - be it manager, Dof or player - that it will be successful.

Some express legitimate concerns about the age profile and fitness levels of the new recruits, that it is going away from the template Marcel Brands laid out: recruit potential, see them blossom to the benefit of the team (or the bank balance) and incrementally improve year on year.

The recruitment this season appears a pragmatic compromise. Yes, keep scouting and signing cheap potential (Brainthwaite and Nkounkou). But why not speed up the process and strive for regular European football earlier (and trophies!) by getting more seasoned players that can improve us in the here and now?

The season is going to be a challenge for all clubs. The continuing knock-on effect of CV-19. The vastly changed football calendar. The absence of match-going fans.

But if a football fan cannot have hope for his or her club going into a new season with new players before a ball has been kicked, when can they?

Jay Harris
13 Posted 09/09/2020 at 02:21:54
I'm really excited that the main problem in our squad has been addressed and addressed well..

If this shakeup doesnt have us competing with the big boys and seeing an immediate improvement then there are deeper problems within the club.

While I applaud the manager and the recruitment of quality I remain concerned that the top position in the club is still held by the mediocre one.

Lets hope all the cliques are put to bed and we see the resurrection of the mighty Blues.

Steve Brown
14 Posted 09/09/2020 at 02:52:35
Interestingly, BBC Sport state that despite other reports Everton paid a fee of 12 million for James Rodriguez. Whether you agree with the signings or not, they have been completed to reasonable transfer fees haggling with Napoli, Real Madrid and Watford.

An interesting contrast with the over-inflated prices for British players, with Brentford striker Ollie Watkins about to sign for Villa for 28 million.

Moshiri has backed the club again, so no more excuses for Ancelotti, Brands or the players. We needed experienced senior pros to complement a young squad and we have them. Now it is time to develop an effective team, improve performances drastically and demonstrate a winning mentality.

David Pearl
15 Posted 09/09/2020 at 10:09:52
With all due respect, Sam Allardyce took us from the depths up to 8th... and I would have sooner kept him than Koeman. Moshiri's big mistake is him drastically shifting styles with every manager.

However, here we are... finally, with a manager that can actually attract players of the standard we need to push us towards our goals.

Paul McCoy
16 Posted 09/09/2020 at 10:27:48
Allardyce is due exactly zero respect as he's a shite manager. Unsworth was already turning things around, yet Fat Sam waddles in and takes all the credit. I genuinely stopped watching our games that season as his brand of football was so boring.
Santa Krsh
17 Posted 09/09/2020 at 12:27:25
My only hope & wish and pray for the season is we play a stable XI through out the season. we are due some luck on this front. Since Martinez's first season, we have had a terrible time with injuries.
So once we have a stable XI, then we will know what these players are made of. Remember Leicester won the League with a Back four of Simpson, Morgan, Huth & Fuchs... It just boils down to the chemistry between the players when u play with the same team week in week out.
Contrary to many here,I seriously have big hopes on Keane & Siggy this season. Do remember Keane had the best spell here when he & Zouma played for around 10 games on the trot during Silva's First Season & the results were great.Same way, I expect Keane to partner a Quicker quy like Tomori & we have our Back 4 sorted.
The midfield 3 picks themselves up supposing Gomes injury is not serious.
Further Forward, I would like to see both Siggy & James in free roles just behind Richy.. This front 3 would really confuse the opposition as to who's marking whom kind of scenario. This confusion will ideally generate space to shoot, which in turn would suit both Siggy & James.
So I expect a christmas tree formation for the season provided we have some luck with the availablity of our First Choice XI.

So my Team would be

Coleman Keane Tomori Digne

Allan Doucoure

James Siggy

Mal van Schaick
18 Posted 09/09/2020 at 13:31:04
The project would look better by replacing a lot of deadwood midfield players who are not performing well and replacing them with others who want to put a shift in and maybe win something.
Jim Harrison
19 Posted 09/09/2020 at 14:42:32
Can you imagine how Calvert-Lewin must feel!

Next season, he will be receiving crosses and through balls from players who are used to setting up chances for the likes of Ronaldo, Muller, Neymar and even if you push it Messi (Gomes).

A lot of pressure on that young lad's shoulders, but also what a chance! Knowing that if you get into the right positions you will get chances

Andrew Ellams
20 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:14:33
Jim, is it as much pressure as trying to be a striker in a team that creates next to nothing for him?
Patrick McFarlane
21 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:27:59
Apparently Zaha wants to join the Everton project>

Might be pie in the sky but I did receive a message from a pal yesterday evening saying that a certain High Street bookie wouldn't give a price for him joining the Blues.

Nicholas Ryan
22 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:34:43
Paul, your comment about Ancelotti being the Manager we thought Koeman might be, hits the nail on the head!
Andrew Ellams
23 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:38:48
Patrick, I hope not. I don't see where he fits in unless Rodriguez is going to oust Gomes and play behind the front 3.
Stephen Brown
24 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:48:26
A couple of shrewd loan signings and I'd be happy with incoming business. centre-back and winger?

I believe that many members of the squad will lift their game due to these 3 quality signings. Sigurdsson, Kenny, Mina, Gomes.

I have a feeling Bolasie may contribute from the bench this year and hopefully Gbamin gets fit too!

I'm hoping Delph, Sandro, Besic, Iwobi and Tosun are the players moved on. I'd also take a suitable offer for Walcott.

Vijay Nair
25 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:51:14
Some press outlets are reporting us as having an interest in Portuguese youngster Jota who plays for Benfica.

Everton and West Ham keen on Benfica's Jota

IMHO, this is exactly the kind of up and coming player our project should be aiming for, especially now that we have addressed some of the biggest problem positions in central midfield.

Young, comfortable with either left or right foot, and fufills our need at right-wing. I hope this one comes to fruition.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 09/09/2020 at 15:58:14
Now a rumour of Lozano. Curious this, since Brands said just expect 2 or 3.

It might be bollocks – or they might be thinking that we have an opportunity to pick one or two more up and do something special.

Who knows? Nice to have the cavalry arrive this week. Can properly look forward now.

Dan Nulty
27 Posted 09/09/2020 at 16:02:31
I said Lozano the other day. Great record as a winger at PSV, signed by Carlo Ancelotti and press at the time suggests he went to Napoli to play for Carlo.

Has been criticised by Gattuso for 'walking' in training. Same thing he said about Allan which by all accounts Allan just doesn't do half measures.

Napoli paid €45M I think 12 months ago so could only see loan to buy option and he wouldn't be cheap. Brands must know him well though as probably signed him at PSV.

Not a stretch to see this happen and more likely than Zaha unless Palace are already talking to us about signing some of our deadwood.

Jim Harrison
28 Posted 09/09/2020 at 16:07:11
Andrew 20

Must be a fantastic feeling. But daunting

John Pierce
29 Posted 09/09/2020 at 16:36:13
PT. A very provoking piece, elements to agree with but whilst I find myself giddy at the prospect of competing again, I’m minded the gamble is in the last chance saloon.

You couch Moshiri’s gamble with Carlo as an opportunity, given the circumstances a very lucky one. An optimist might say he heard Carlo was on the ropes at Napoli and sacked Silva knowing Carlo was likely to be available!

I’m far more critical of him for his appointments none of which I’ve felt any warmth for, and in two cases, implacably opposed too. So this feels less of a value bet or even an educated gamble. It very much feels like a man doubling down chasing his losses. As a man who loves the casino, having been there at 2am, it does happen and the high is well addictive. But it doesn’t happen all that often.

I will say as you point out, Carlo is making moves for the here and now, will not settle for the finish we slumped to last season. That brings me hope.
It’s generated a palpable sense of momentum and excitement!
Also Brands and the club have been efficient in their dealings, hinting at a turning of the professional tide behind the scenes.

However make no mistake this is a huge gamble, we Anglo yanks might even say ‘Hail Mary’ and the margins are very tight. If he fails, we face a fire sale and may slip beneath the royal blue waves. For any gambler that’s were the excitement exists......

Paul Tran
30 Posted 09/09/2020 at 18:54:10
John, getting opportunities can be lucky, but noticing and acting on them is different. At the start of the summer I suggested that this period will bring opportunities and we have to make the most of them. So far Moshiri has.

Last chance saloon, or rich man learning from his mistakes and making better choices? I'd go for the latter. We won't be successful by playing it safe.

David Cash
31 Posted 09/09/2020 at 19:30:40
Good insightful piece Paul.

You are right. This is a gamble, but we finished last season in a heap. I feel we have far more to gain than we gave to lose..

Hold on to your hats

Geoff Hind
32 Posted 09/09/2020 at 19:34:09
The Project is likely to be much wider than any of us know and whilst there should be a strategy there are also tactics.

Clearly the first team issues are being sorted for the short term (money permiting) and the stadium plans are going ahead, all great. But what else is going on?

The Everton brand is also being adjusted.
More exposure in the Americas strengthening links and making it more likely to be able to attract future players, and increase commercial impact there.
Significant changes in the women's team to increase their profile and impact, not forgetting who the driving force is behind this.
The signs of more support for disability sports.

The tactic in the immediate is to push for a European place which, in turn, will help attract young talented players. Gradually bringing through existing young tallent which demonstrates an achievable pathway into the first team.

Who knows where that may lead? No guarantees but things are at last hopeful.

Conor McCourt
33 Posted 10/09/2020 at 10:45:43
Paul you are a top man but this for me was anything but a top piece.

Firstly Moshiri gets applauded for rolling the dice yet again but he reminds me of the film Brewster's Millions where his policy decision making is akin to an act of self sabotage.

To your next assertion that Ancelotti has given the squad more balance. Personally I don't think this is true and I feel it is quite worrying for the club as I believe we have a less balanced squad than even when Koeman left.

Many will see this as me being Anti-Carlo but I feel these decisions may suit the manager and his system and were he to fail this would leave us in a precarious position going forward.

At the club;
-we have Davies, Gomes, Delph, Doucoure and Allan who are all second man midfielders. Not adept at sitting or good enough creators. Both the new players should be able to play together, maybe one with Gomes may work and possibly Davies but not with Delph if he remains. Only the new pairing would be suitable in Carlo's favoured 442. A defensive midfielder could have worked with all.
-we have Rodriguez, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Gordon and Bernard in my opinion who are best (certainly in the PL) as central attacking midfielders.
-meanwhile we have only Walcott whose best wide and Richarlison (though Carlo favours centrally). I don't think James will be quick enough to do so and you want him centrally where he can do damage.
-we also have only one defensively minded central midfielder in Gbamin whose out til the new year.
-we also need the pace of the excellent signing of Tomori who will also provide much needed balance on the left as he's so good with both feet, if it doesn't come off we will be short there also.
While Doucoure will add legs, I have doubts about the speed of the league for Allan. I still don't think we have solved the lack of intensity in there. As for Allan's winning mentality I think that's also debatable.
In James this is a player who could be worth the risk due to his quality and output, but may also be another sick note.

I would also query the belief that we have got bargains even if they do turn out to be coups. Let's speak about Allan and Doucoure. Many fans speak about PSG and us paying 60 and 45 million previously. If accurate figures they have one year less on their contracts so the fees would most likely be around 40 and 30 million respectively had they both performed as previous. Unfortunately both had disastrous seasons, both are now unwanted at their clubs for different reasons and allied to this Covid has dramatically reduced the fees hence I don't believe we are pickpocketing anyone.
Doherty a similar aged player to contrast has just gone for fifteen million yet he had an excellent season unlike the aforementioned.

In conclusion Paul the only thing I agree with you is that this is most a certainly a gamble. I am glad the manager is being backed unlike last summer however I do wish Brands was performing the squad function he claimed previously as I feel we are investing too much in Carlo's judgement. To use your analogy it's a boom or bust scenario for me with the odds heavily stacked against, and the club going 'all in' on Carlo.

Paul Tran
34 Posted 10/09/2020 at 11:13:44
Conor, I haven't referred to these signings as 'bargains' and the balance I referred to was bringing older, more experienced players, rather than the younger resale value types. I also don't see this as 'boom or bust'.

Apart from that, you've got my arguments spot-on.

Moshiri spends more, or he sits on his hands. Sitting on his hands means we float around stagnating. In life and business, I always like to take a shot. It tends to work.

We'll see what happens.

Patrick McFarlane
35 Posted 10/09/2020 at 11:28:02
Conor #33
If the club wasn't going to go all-in with Carlo, what would have been the point in appointing him in the first place?

Should the Board have said to Carlo - sorry mate but we'll supply the players and you manage them? or worse still - Sorry mate but what we have is enough for a man of your experience.

He would have been off in a shot if either of those scenarios had have been employed. I also don't think we had much room to maneuver anyway and if the reports are to be believed James arrived on a free, possibly making it a glorified loan with the agent taking the bulk of the 'fee'?

The additions may prove to be very poor or very good, we'll know soon enough - but a relegation battle was assured if we had carried on without bringing new blood to the squad.

If we have spent the budget already, I would be interested to know how and on whom you would have spent the same money?

Brian Williams
36 Posted 10/09/2020 at 11:31:31
I don't think Moshiri had a choice but to back Ancelotti in his quest for a new midfield. Many were saying on here we'd be in a relegation scrap with the same side as last season. Although I don't agree with that it was there for all to see that the midfield was atrocious.
No matter who Ancelotti had brought in there'd be doubters, it's the way of things.
Personally I'm putting my trust in someone who has a little more experience than anybody on TW.
Only time will tell how things pan out.
Thomas Lennon
37 Posted 10/09/2020 at 11:59:12
Fully agree with Paul. If you have an Ancelotti you need to use him and all his experience & pulling power. It is one thing to offer good wages but an Everton run by an inexperienced manager with a limited history of success on the big stages of Europe will at best give you a team full of enthusiasm which might win a minor prize but is prone to coming up short when faced with one of the more expensive teams full of winners who demand all around them are also winners. A few defeats later it all unravels as heads go down, lack of belief.

This last year we had a defence who were routinely exposed by a midfield constantly losing the ball, and an attack starved of goals from midfield.

I think we are plugging an immediate gap or two but considering we have to finish above the likes of Wolves and Leicester just to get 6th place it is not likely to be a top 4 season. What is needed is a profound change of attitude, consistency and belief we are good enough - if a ball goes over the top our defenders need to be thinking 'thats Jordans'. If we enter the last 5 mins needing a goal the team needs to have confidence that someone will find it, somehow.

A couple more top-class youngsters each year, and as better players start to become available because they can see Everton want to win again, invest, gamble and we bring them in too. We need to be professional in all aspects of the club, we need to improve performance, we need BMD we have to keep investing.

For once we can see this starting to happen. Green shoots is all, but this time next year they may be small, strong, growing plants.

Let us see where we are after 10 matches, then at Christmas after all the ups and downs. Then we will know if we are getting somewhere.

At the end of this project Moshiri will hopefully make a lot of money. If that happens remember the gambles he made now and wish him well.

Jay Wood

38 Posted 10/09/2020 at 12:32:55
Wot the two P's say. Paul @ 34 and Patrick @ 35.

Conor: 'Many will see this as me being Anti-Carlo.'

Summed up yourself and the content of your post perfectly.

Dennis Stevens
39 Posted 10/09/2020 at 12:34:20
David #15 Allardyce deserves no credit for his "achievement" & nor does Moshiri for losing his bottle & appointing him to the post of Manager. Despite having the luxury of having time & money that was denied to Unsworth due to the circumstances he'd inherited, the vastly more experienced Allardyce failed to improve upon Unsworth's points per match. In other words, he just coasted along to where we we were already heading. Allardyce failed to make any improvement on his immediate predecessor, who was a rookie who had inherited a club in crisis & had done the difficult bit of dragging us out of the mire of the relegation zone.

Prefer Allardyce to Koeman? Isn't that a bit like having a slight preference for the type of dogshit you may tread in?

Ray Said
40 Posted 10/09/2020 at 13:30:25
An interesting read Paul.

I think the completed transfers have the signs of a manager very well versed in the art of team building who has given all the fit members of the squad a fair chance to show what they can do and has used that knowledge to identify weaknesses that need to be addressed. He, and the D of F, have done their best to sign players that will move the team forward with the purchase of experience, quality and energy. Sometimes you can make a couple of well directed actions that have a transformative effect on the whole system and these could be those actions. In terms of the risk and cost well it seems pretty reasonable bearing in mind that the transfers seem to have been well thought through, the manager has first hand knowledge of two of the three players character and leadership qualities and the fees are cheap in terms of today's market prices.
As Paul says 'this is a gamble, but in my view an educated one'. I agree and also add that its a cautious and well balanced gamble which I think has a good chance of paying off so well done Moshiri for backing your man

Conor McCourt
41 Posted 10/09/2020 at 13:41:56
Patrick my thoughts on players are irrelevant to the point I'm making. When Brands was appointed he was telling us how eighteen or so players will be ones that will cover every position and there will be two or three variables depending on the manager and his preferred system.

Let me be clear I agree that not one player should be coming to the club that Carlo doesn't want and should he have demanded Allan like Silva did with Richarlison then of course this should be granted. He will be judged on his signings and they will either sink or swim.

My worry is about the shape of the squad as well as whether we are repeating Koeman's other mistakes. Now for all I know Delph, Bernard and Iwobi are all on their way and a versatile player like Sarr who can play anywhere in the front three is coming in and then things would make a whole lot more sense but I'm commenting on how things stand now.

If Carlo has insisted on Allan then why not someone like Guendozi instead of Doucoure. He is strong defensively, could play with all the midfielders, has quality,drive, leadership and athleticism and can play in a multitude of systems. Emery and Arteta both love as a footballer though the Spaniard believes he's too much of a diva, the type Carlo is suppose to flourish with. Would Ancelotti not want a player like that for example?

Carlo claimed that he would be working within the framework of the philosophy of the club. I'm highly dubious of this based on what we have seen so far this summer.

Steve Ferns
42 Posted 10/09/2020 at 14:05:18
Connor, I think Carlo Ancelotti is un-sackable. The initial plan Brands had and his brief you describe was correct, but Moshiri changed things when he got Ancelotti in. This was never envisaged when Brands came in. They've clearly gone off script, but I think Brands' work on the transfers and the money spent this window shows how committed he is to the Ancelotti project.

I see this summer as surgery on a team that was in critical condition. They (for it's both Brands and Ancelotti in tandem) have signed players they believe can revive the immediate future of the team so they can challenge for the top 6 again. I think after this summer, Brands will revert back to the initial brief of the project and focus long term. That is, unless another James type player is available for the right price, because of the success we might enjoy this season.

Danny Broderick
43 Posted 10/09/2020 at 14:31:16
Darren (2),

Give it a rest. The recruitment is completely targeted. Our midfield has been shite for years, Ancelloti has clearly identified this and overhauled our weak area.

There’s been no rolling of the dice. Let us enjoy it!

John Pierce
44 Posted 10/09/2020 at 14:38:17
I think Conor has a point to the balance of the squad. Given the team may well be built around Rodríguez then we are short in a couple of positions, namely right back and right wing.

Carlo has some flexibility but in all likelihood Rodríguez is going to play as a 8 in a 4-3-3, or a playmaker in 4-2-3-1, or maybe right midfield in a 4-4-2.

In each case we need a right back who can complement and to some extent cover for Rodríguez, although he isn’t as work shy as I first thought.

In the first two options the right wing can only be occupied by Walcott. Bernard, Delph, Iwobi & Sigurdsson will find games hard to come by. Not one can play or has played to any effect on the right.

It seem inevitable we buy both before the window is closed. You could sell JJK, Davies and Bernard and make good returns given they didn’t cost us anything. That’s the route I’d go down. But you can see the balance is not there but it is evolving.

Steve Ferns
45 Posted 10/09/2020 at 14:44:57
John, why won’t we just line up in a 432, with 9 disciplined outfield players performing specific roles and James with complete freedom to do whatever he wants?
John Pierce
46 Posted 10/09/2020 at 15:27:49
Steve, I think he will have the freedom regardless of formation. That why I think the choice of right back will be pivotal. I see his best work comes from drifting in from the right. I prefer that to be as part of a three personally.

So the space he vacates will be either filled by the 8 or more likely by the full back. A technician who can get up and down is my bet. It will be intriguing to see how he used. But to get the best from him, make him ‘the man’ and get players who can provide movement and we should be in business!

Steve Ferns
47 Posted 10/09/2020 at 15:51:31
John, did you see that interview with Rio Ferdinand, where James went on about number 10s. He clearly sees himself as one. I expect him to line up in that position. This means if we have a narrow 3 in the middle, James can drift out to the right and then come back inside. The key thing is that defensively he does not need to be counted on.

If James is RW in a 442, then he needs to be counted on defensively. I'm sure he can track back like Richarlison, but that's not something we should expect everytime we lose the ball. We need to allow him complete freedom to do what he does and to pick and choose where he goes and what he does. He's 29 now and can't be expected to run up and down the right wing, tracking back.

It'll be interesting to see what Carlo does. We will need some discipline against Spurs, and so, I predict James will be a sub for this one.

John Pierce
48 Posted 10/09/2020 at 15:59:55
I haven’t got round to it, might have something to that I think Ferdinand is a tit!
However I have read, and statistically he is devastating as a traditional ‘10’. I cannot see that in a 4–4-2. I can see it in 4-2-3-1 but the right side of that troika only really leaves Walcott. I think he might go like this.


Coleman Keane Mina(if fit) Digne
Allan Doucoure
Walcott Sigurdsson Richarlison

Rodríguez to come for Walcott. Gomes might sneak in front of Sigurdsson.

Jay Harris
49 Posted 10/09/2020 at 16:20:44
Conor I think you and Darren have to realize that Carlo was constrained by the squad he inherited and was as frustrated as us at the way the team played.

I believe and hope that we will see a totally different pattern of play as he gradually gets the quality we need into position.

Personally I thing Doucoure is a far superior player to Guendozi as well as being stronger physically.

There is a reason Arsenal are letting Guendozi go.

Danny O’Neill
50 Posted 10/09/2020 at 18:28:41
Thanks Paul, always appreciate those who take time to contribute. I've skimmed through the responses but didn't spend too much time on them as I wanted to respond to the article itself, but many valid points as always.

To some, Ancelotti may be yesterday's man and past his best and I don't dispute that. However his "past his best" is far better and more influential than what we've had for decades. I think those who claimed he wouldn't be able to attract through his reputation alone have just been countered. Two of those signings in particular are not at Everton now if it isn't for Ancelotti's presence. Now he can be judged more fairly as he is shaping his own team.

Moyes served a purpose and what was we needed at a given time. Sadly, he hit his glass ceiling and didn't have what it took to take us to the next level. I was massively nervous and critical about the Martinez appointment, but had to eat humble pie after that first season, although sadly (again) my initial concerns came to fruition. I thought Koeman was the one, but sadly (common theme), I think my judgement was clouded on my experience of Koeman the fantastic player rather than Koeman the less than average manager (how did he get the Barcelona gig?). I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure why Moshiri was so intent on Silva and sadly (yes), that one played its inevitable course.

I been calling since the Moyes years that, having gotten ourselves into a position where, bar one or two abysmal seasons, we have been knocking at the door to challenge the top 6, we need to think here and now. Buy and invest for the moment, win something and take it from there. That means established and experienced players to compliment youth. In fact that is just football. You balance the team. It's a romantic ideal to think you're going to build a team of kids and see them through from academy to title. Very few have ever done it; even "Fergie's Fledglings" had a smattering of experience throughout and Cantona's introduction was a game changer for them.

Ancelotti has clearly assessed the squad, seen what was blatantly obvious to all of us and brought in proven players to address the bleeding wounds. All of a sudden, most of our pathetic midfield of last year looks like it will be back up. We do, and I have, berated our somewhat average defence and misfiring attack. But in my opinion and experience, games are won and lost in midfield. The midfield protects the defence, wins the ball and creates chances for the forwards. Overly simplistic, I appreciate, but contrary to the Sky dominated, statistic obsessed world we live in, football isn't science.

Ancelotti may not be in this for the long run, neither those he has just bought. But in the short term, can he and they put us on the platform to finally establish ourselves as genuine challengers in the longer term? I think we stand more chance with the current incumbents than previous failed iterations.

Paul Tran
51 Posted 10/09/2020 at 18:40:20
Thanks Danny. For me, what we've just done is no bigger a gamble than lashing out money on Bernard's wages and two years on, still not knowing what to do with him. Or indeed, spending that money on Iwobi a year ago, and not knowing what to do with him. Or indeed, spending all that money on the 'promising', 'troubled', non-playing Kean.

Carlo knows what he wants to do with these players. I havent been convinced that that's always been the case with a lot of our recent signings.

Right now, I trust the Premier League-winning manager more than the statistical, tactical & financial experts on here.

Time will tell.

Danny O’Neill
52 Posted 10/09/2020 at 18:54:16
I look at how Man City and Chelsea before them progressed to achieving their ambitions Paul.

I haven't done the specific research but in City's example, it was a stepping stone approach of appointing managers who could gradually improve their standing and pulling power. They stopped arsing around with the likes of Keegan and Hughes and went for Mancini and Pellegrini before landing Guadiola.

Chelsea done something similar if I recall on their journey through the late nineties prior to settling with Mourinho.

Sunday should be interesting. The battle of yesterday's men!!

Paul Tran
53 Posted 10/09/2020 at 19:06:11
Yes Danny. I have often said these sides haven't got it right first time and we were unlikely to. Let's hope we've got it right now.
Alex Gray
54 Posted 10/09/2020 at 19:15:03
Whilst man city got it wrong with Robinho, I always felt it opened the door to other good players wanting to join them. Different ball game with ffp now but I hope the signing of James has a similar impact for us.

The global commercial impact is there for all to see already so fingers crossed!

Brian Harrison
55 Posted 10/09/2020 at 19:42:49

I think appointing Ancelotti could be the most important decision that Moshiri has made since he has come to the club. I think he gambled on bringing in Koeman, hoping with the financial backing he was prepared to give him that he would turn the club around. But despite wasting a fortune we never looked like under Koeman we would be able to challenge for a European place. Moshiri brought in Allardyce for a short term fix and even gave him £50 million to spend. I think Moshiri soon found out that Evertonians would never ever buy into Allardyce. So again took a massive gamble on bringing in Silva, who had just got relegated with Hull.

So now he has done what he should have done when he sacked Martinez, appoint a manager with as good a CV as any in the game. From my prospective if this fails, I have no idea were we would go from here. The fans have been let down so many times, that if this fails I could easily see them voting with their feet, despite BMD being on the horizon. Then if it were to fail I could see Moshiri quite rightly saying enough is enough, and be looking to sell and make a quick exit. I like all Blues am desperate for this to work, as being the wrong side of 70 I would like us first qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, and also win a trophy.

Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 10/09/2020 at 21:01:28
Good article Paul. Only a man with all the money in the world, could spend half his fortune on something he didn’t want to give more than ten percent of his time to, so in that respect let’s hope Moshiri’s calculated gamble pays off!

Carlo Ancelotti has brought some proven players to Everton, so let’s hope they adapt to the speed of the English game, especially because the only thing not in doubt, is that these players have got loads of ability.

Kudos to Duncan Ferguson, a man I’ve questioned often, because it looks like his passion for Everton, has rubbed off on Carlo Ancelotti, and it’s just a shame we can’t go to the game at the minute.

Paul Tran
57 Posted 11/09/2020 at 09:43:44
The funny thing, Tony, is that I've often felt Moshiri does the right things. He recruits people, trusts them and lets them get on with it. Big problem is that he's recruited poorly and trusted too much for too long, before diving in with two feet.

On the football side, I think he's got what he always wanted right now and it's down to Carlo, staff & players to perform.

Imagine the atmosphere at Goodison for the first game.

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 11/09/2020 at 12:00:12
I was insinuating that maybe he has been spending his boss’s money Paul, ever the optimist that I am!
Simon Harrison
59 Posted 11/09/2020 at 21:20:54
Thanks for the article Paul, it makes an interesting read.

The Everton, 'Reclaim the city' project, has just started to take it's first few teetering steps.

A lot has been said above vis a'vis the players that have come in. Carletto will know how he wants to develop the team, and the formation(s) that he will adapt; so, I won't waste your time speculating on that aspect of the club.

However, I have to say that James has to be wrapped in bubble-wrap and cotton wool initially, and ease him into the EPL. He is a game changer, and can be the catalyst for higher targets.

The area I feel that needs to be addressed now that Marcel and Carletto have done some superb work (Bar the Gabriel saga), is the very real and desperate need to ca$h in, on the marketing and commercial value of James, Everton 'Reclaim the city!', and indeed Ancelotti himself.

The need for a very large hike in revenue generation is paramount. The lack of spectators, the repayment of TV monies and the reduced TV deals and loss of a major contributor, means EFC really have to hire some top-class commercial development executives to take advantage of this 'windfall' during this summer window.

Not only is this necessary for relieving the FFP regulations when they kick in again next season; it is necessary to take the strain of Mr. Moshiri's cheque book, even billionaires have limits.

If this opportunity is missed, I feel it may well have disastrous consequences for the club in the future.
Also, I feel that Marcel should have a new contract that ties him to the club, initially for the same length as Carletto, i.e. June '24.

Briefly returning to playing matters before signing off. I am hoping for two things really, or rather three.

Firstly, I hope after this window, Brands addresses the academy up to the U18s about recruitment and how the development teams play in the style and system that Carletto wants them to, to ease transition moving up the development ladder. Then next season, the U23 impasse with Unsworth needs resolving, either Unsworth accepts that he has to change the system to suit the first team, or he has to go.

Secondly, I hope that Marcel can move a few players on during this window; even if as reported regards Sandro, it means terminating a contract, or just taking a transfer hit, or giving players away of frees to get their wages of our books. Though I realise we need to maximise the profit we can make from player trading as well.

Thirdly, I hope, I genuinely hope, we can get a backup GK to push JP, a genuine RW to give some class and depth on the right, and we need a more than solid RB, Arias would be very welcome, if he recovers after his Covid-19 infection.

Other than that, I hope we get one over against the Spuds at their place, with no further injuries, or contentious issues from Atkinson or Mariner, and we see a marked difference in performance and attitude.

For me Allan and Doucoure to start, James on the bench. A possible team, and bench.


Coleman - Keane - Mina - Digne

Allan - Gylfi - Doucoure

Walcott/Bolasie - DCL - Richi

Lossl, JJK, Gibson (CB/LB), Gomes, Gordon (maybe Delph), James, Kean

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