January Window

by   |   26/11/2020  20 Comments  [Jump to last]

The recent bump in our season has prompted a lot of talk about improving the squad. Towards the end of the summer window, we looked well placed. Indeed we've shown repeatedly that our fully fit first 11 is excellent. Capable of great football and lots of goals.

But:

- The late departures of the never popular Walcott & Kean left us light on pace and cover on the wings and up front.

- Kenny doesn't look like he's going to grab the right-back slot from the still excellent but fragile Coleman (although Iwobi did well at right-wingback against Fulham)

- Even in a fully fit first 11, we still have room for a deeply uninspiring midfielder

- Despite having loads of centre-halves, the chemistry at centre-back is not quite right (although Keane has generally played very well)

- We probably still have goalkeeping issues, although Pickford has settled down in fairness and Olsen looks dependable

Where does this leave us? Well, in short, we're a work in progress but we seem to be able to cope at least when Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rodriguez are fit. Take those three out, however, and (as Chinua Achebe once said) things fall apart.

So, if we do anything in January (and that's a big if), it will be to reinforce the attack.

This is vaguely supported by the rumours so far which include:

- Isco (Real Madrid)
- Luis Alberto (Lazio)
- Daniel James (Man Utd)

The former 2 would occupy a playmaker role, meaning we still have someone who is good at football in the side - even if Rodriguez is unfit. The latter can run fast, meaning we still have someone who can stretch the play if Richarlison is out.

One or two of these on loan would make a difference. Carlo seems to have scotched the Isco rumours and I can't believe Lazio would let Luis Alberto leave for anything but a huge fee - so probably not one for January.

What other options are there? Well, it's slim pickings in January. Basically, picking up people who have fallen out with their clubs or fallen out of favour or where there's genuine value. So not many options but some good ones include:

- Dennis Bouanga - heavily linked in Summer. Goal threat from the wings. One of those players that's looked ready for a step up for a couple of seasons now and needs the chance. He'd be one we could actually buy, maybe for about £15M.

- Thomas Lemar of Atletico Madrid. Talented but never quite looked right in Madrid. Linked in passing now and again. He might be available on loan with an option to buy.

- Milot Rashica of Werder Bremen. Nearly joined Villa after looking like, at times anyway, a young Eden Hazard in the Bundesliga. Not really got going this season. Could possibly pick him up for about £18M.

Unfortunately, some of the players who might have been a really good fit look very unlikely to leave their present clubs:

- Odegaard, now getting games at Real Madrid

- Lozano, now getting regular goals and assists for Napoli

As ever, Summer is a much better time to sort out our still dysfunctional squad. But, even if we get just one quality addition in January (probably on loan), then the goals scored and created might just be enough to sneak us into that extremely competitive 6th-place spot.

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Reader Comments (20)

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Jim Potter
1 Posted 26/11/2020 at 23:28:35
It's going to be an interesting period for sure Robert.

As recent injuries and some players performing below par (Gomes, Mina, Gylfi, etc,) have shown we need fresh blood if we're seriously going to compete for Europe (never mind the Champions League).

However, Brands doesn't seem to like the expensive January window so we might actually see very little.

The names being mooted seem to be older than the previous demographic he was after. So, how accurate actually are they? The media as always speculate and then accumulate, throwing names in like confetti, but very few have a real inside brief to Carlo, Brands or Moshiri.

Isco is a superb player but he's 28, lacks pace and the will to chase back to defend, and therefore can we afford him and James in combination? Conversely, what they could offer offensively is mouth-watering.

It would be worth it if he came on loan though, which Real might well do to reduce their wage bill.

Whatever we do, it would be quality over quantity every time for me – and maybe give Anthony Gordon a run.

Sam Hoare
2 Posted 27/11/2020 at 13:19:07
When is the last time that we bought or even loaned a first teamer in the winter market? Tosun and Walcott I think? Brands really does not like this window, and to be fair I can see why. The options are less and the price is often higher. That being said, sometimes you can pick up a Pienaar or an Arteta, or even a Donovan, and really have a positive effect on the team.

I think by January we'll have a much better idea of what we need and which gaps are most detrimental.

For me the effect of Richarlison's absence was pretty indicative. We lack players who can really stretch play. We have some decent distributors (Rodriguez, Allan, Gomes, Sigurdsson etc) but, if they have no movement around them, then their talents are wasted. Richarlison is always moving; he's very fit, very competitive and pretty fast and good at dribbling.

I don't know alot about Dan James and how fit/hungry he is but I'd think if we can loan someone of that ilk it would be useful. Or buy Josh King (whose contract ends next year)?

Sam Hoare
3 Posted 27/11/2020 at 14:03:28
I do like Rashica as well. He's quick, can play across the front 3 and gets a good amount of goals; 17 across 45 games or so in Bundesliga in last two seasons. He's not played much this season so may take time to get up to speed but that would be the same with a lot of January purchases.

If we could loan Rashica with an £18m option to buy then I'd think that could be quite savvy business? He is a little like Hazard though a few inches taller I'd say. Handy player on his day.

Robert Tressell
4 Posted 27/11/2020 at 14:33:39
The one reason we may invest is that I'm not convinced Kean's late departure was part of the plan. Loan with option to buy is therefore a possibility.

Personally I'd be happy with a Branthwaite or two again. But wouldn't say no to a Lemar.

On a different note, footage now appearing of Thierry Small. Only 16 but clearly a huge talent. With him and Nkounkou, the left-hand side looks in good shape, assuming we can keep them both.

Jack Convery
5 Posted 27/11/2020 at 19:56:54
Deli Ali on loan could be something to consider. he's desperate to get his England career going again for next summer. A win win as the experts say ! Another who is not getting a game right now is Traore at Wolves. Tore the RS apart last season. I reckon Rosun will stay in January unless we can unload him and get Milik in from Napoli. My long term target though is Ward Prowse for the midfield, he's just the driving force we need and not bad at free kicks either.
Dennis Stevens
6 Posted 28/11/2020 at 12:29:38
If buying for the first XI, then Coleman and Gomes are the two players where an upgrade would be of enormous benefit. However, perhaps the midfielder would need to be less of a Gomes and more of a Carsley, then we may see the best of Allan & Doucouré. A right-sided Gordon would be a handy addition to the squad too.

There are, of course, more players that it would be nice to see going the through the out door than we probably need coming through the in door... in the short- to medium-term, at least.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:20:00
Left back now Digne out is a must.

Right back we have major problems, Coleman not getting any younger, injuries just totting up.

Wide midfield we are still too slow and that needs addressing.

Striker wise we need better backup than Tosun; if Calvert-Lewin got injured or loses form, then what?

At centre-half we still look lacking and I'd love Zouma back on loan.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:30:03
The right side of the pitch needs to be strengthened. We have no width or speed right now down that flank.

I’d still like to get rid of at least 5 players plus Iwobi.

Barry Rathbone
9 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:41:43
"Towards the end of the summer window, we looked well placed. Indeed we've shown repeatedly that our fully fit first 11 is excellent."

This is simply delusion based on the usual brief honeymoon period before "Evertonisation" of new recruits kicks in. The keeper is an accident waiting to happen and much of the rest are proven failures. The 3 amigos still have it all to prove and right now are not.

If progression has happened, it is so small as to be meaningless

Tony Everan
10 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:48:40
Robert, I admire your enthusiasm. It's in short supply with me. I am starting to think whoever we buy will regress and become a lesser player. He will be played out of position, and will grow slow and lazy.

There is something wrong about the culture of Everton football club when most teams we face look fitter and hungrier. Mid-table teams like Leeds and Southampton are leaving us for dead.

Maybe the biggest signing we could make is getting an ex Para in to show our soft bunnies some proper hardcore training. It's tongue-in-cheek but we need an uplift from some real advanced training. There's too many who are soft as warm shite compared to their counterparts. We need proper hardened men on the pitch and we only have two or three of them.

When Moyes came in, he engineered one of the fittest teams in the league. Nobody did is for us being slack fitness-wise. He got an average-spend team often into the top 6 positions. With our expenditure, and being able to match any team for fitness, we would be a different proposition.

Get them as fit as Leeds's and Southampton's lads and we will start competing again. At the moment we are falling way short.

Napoli and Bayern players complained about the training regime being sub-standard. That is unusual and something you don't hear much of. It just makes me think this is a major factor in our not ever fulfilling our potential.

Oh, and tell Carlo to stop playing Iwobi on the left. What will it take for the penny to drop? It's cracking me up as he was starting to look the part on the right, I wanted to see more and for him to grow in confidence in his best and natural position.

Stephen Brown
11 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:07:44
Tony, I'm sorry to say I have to agree with you! There is surely a culture problem at Everton?! No pressure or expectations to succeed yet on big money!

We have England no 1 goalkeeper, Brazil's first choice centre forward, a World Cup golden boot winner, multiple international players – yet none perform consistently as they know they'll be in the team again next week win, lose or draw and that they'll be on the same massive wage!

I'm generalising probably but I never see a desperation to win or a winning mentality – whoever we sign just reverts to this type?!

I cannot see this being broken anytime soon, whoever we sign?! However, if we sign anyone, it should be a narky horrible bastard who demands high standards and doesn't care who he offends in the process.

Robert Tressell
12 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:06:00
I agree that fitness is a problem we've had since Moyes left. Squad cohesion and dynamics too. We've still got too many players who do not look like they're enjoying being here: Sigurdsson, Gomes, Delph, Iwobi and Bernard in particular.

After this weekend, I expect Gordon, Kenny and Nkounkou are also wondering why they are here. I think that's partly why the gloom sets in so quickly. Seems a long time since Dunc was standing in the rain, roaring us on from the sidelines...

From a recruitment point of view, though, that's why I favour generally younger signings who are grateful to be at Everton and willing to work hard. But hard workers of any age are good.

Tony Everan
13 Posted 30/11/2020 at 19:59:07
Robert,

I'm still keeping tabs on Buendia for Norwich, I was gutted we didn't try to sign him in the summer. He is having a good season and has been influential in getting them to the top of the league. Sadly, Norwich won't be selling him now in the middle of a promotion push.

I was reading about Max Aarons talking about Buendia, says he is a dream to play with and enjoys his football when in the same team. I feel we have missed an opportunity to get him. If we could move on Sigurdsson, Gomes and Delph and just get Buendia in, I think we would have a better midfield with more energy and dynamism.

John Zapa
14 Posted 01/12/2020 at 05:30:34
I think our recruitment over the summer was poor and ridiculous. Many people here were unfortunately too pleased about signing some players based on years-old reputations.

Which of the 4 main signings actually had a good or decent season just before? None. We have signed players on the downward trajectory in their careers.

Even before Kean and Walcott left, it was clear that attacking reinforcements were absolutely required but not addressed. Now the club is an injury to Calvert-Lewin away from total disaster.

Fran Mitchell
15 Posted 01/12/2020 at 22:39:42
John, poor and ridiculous?

James Rodriguez has 3 Goals, 4 assists and 6 pre-assists in 10 games.

Allan has more tackles than any other Premier League midfielder.

Dourcoré, not perfect, but has added a dynamism that wasn't there.

Godfrey is a young defender still settling.

The window was not complete – we still have much deadwood, still have a few holes in the squad and team, still lack options – but that will take more than one option.

Fran Mitchell
16 Posted 01/12/2020 at 22:42:53
One interesting thing was the new rules for a post-Brexit premier League.

"The Football Association has announced a radical post-Brexit shake‑up that will mean Premier League and EFL clubs cannot sign foreign players until they are 18, with all transfers from European Union nations set to be subject to work permits that will be allocated using a points-based system.(...)

Premier League clubs limited to signing no more than three overseas players under the age of 21 in any single transfer window and a total of no more than six per season."

Kieran Kinsella
17 Posted 01/12/2020 at 23:02:57
Fran

The new rules are interesting especially on youngsters. Arsenal have a history of poaching 15-year-olds from Europe. If the same rules apply going the opposite direction, then no more Jude Bellingham's at Dortmund. Less chance too of teams uncovering unknown gems like Gueye.

Suffice to say, the rules as ever will least impact the rich clubs who can pay top whack for established stars.

Steve Shave
18 Posted 01/12/2020 at 23:29:56
Yes definitely, Tony, I've said it repeatedly for 6 months or so now, Buendia is the player we need. Tough tackling for a wee fella, tracks back and works hard plus able to pick out incisive passes.

It's about getting the right players with the right attitude, he would work so hard on that flank, with him, James and Richarlison behind Calvert-Lewin, that would make a mouth-watering proposition.

Jay Harris
20 Posted 02/12/2020 at 05:20:08
Tony #10,

Please stop making things up.

"Napoli and Bayern players complained about the training regime being sub-standard". That is totally wide of the mark.

At Napoli, the issue was the chairman had a fit when they lost a game just after qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions League after taking 4 points off Liverpool over 2 games. (Hardly qualifies for being unfit does it.) And insisted on having a boot camp for the players who refused and Ancelotti backed the players so he ended up losing his job.

At Bayern he had the best points per game apart from Pep despite losing Alonso and Lahm and not having Neuer for a lot of the time – but still he won the Bundesliga. The only player who complained about him was Muller who was being left out of the side and didn't like it and Muller has a lot of clout in the dressing room and boardroom at Bayern.

The story about players complaining they had to do extra training themselves was first put out by the highly regarded Sun newspaper, so it must be true then... except a number of Bayern players came out in support of Ancelotti afterwards and disputed the story.

The man must be a miracle worker if he won the Bundesliga, La Liga, The Premier League and the European Cup with 3 different clubs while not training the players properly.

Tony Everan
21 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:47:38
Jay,

At Napoli, it seems like it was a complete breakdown that came to a head over De Laurentis's enforced training camp to get them fitter.

At Bayern, the story originally came from a German football magazine. They go into a bit more detail saying that Robben, Muller, Ribery, Hummel, and Boateng were arranging secret high-intensity training sessions as they were unhappy at the level of training. It may be rubbish but it seems a bit detailed to be total nonsense. Players will always try to smooth the waters afterwards, it's not worth the bad blood in perpetuity.

Anyway, whether all that is true or false or in the grey zone, I want us to have the energy and spark that Leeds have, and Southampton had when we played them. We looked flat and we seem to always tire as the second half goes on.

Any criticism is to try to find answers and a way of improvement for our performances. We have got better players and better talent than those clubs, that needs unlocking.

I want stability and I want Carlo and his team to deliver it.


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