The French midfielder was a surprise absentee when the starting line-ups were announced an hour before Everton's pulsating victory over the Gunners and further confusion was sparked when Benitez confirmed that Digne was not injured.
Speculation in the media and on Twitter the following morning swirled around rumours of a training ground bust-up between the defender and his boss, with The Athletic claiming that, "he had made his frustrations clear in conversations behind the scenes with Benitez, challenging his new manager with growing regularity."
Digne's specific beef was supposedly over the more defensive role he is being asked to play by Benitez, one that is limiting his influence over the team going forward.
Digne sought to play down the talk, however, with a post on Instagram where he said:
"Don't believe everything you read. Only one thing matters: The club.
"What a fight — what a win against Arsenal, guys!
"I was sad not to play. I was looking forward to be playing for Everton as always. The manager chose not to select me. That's football."
Reader Comments (120)
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1 Posted 08/12/2021 at 22:50:51
I reckon it was a message sent from Benitez to the players that anyone can be dropped if they don't play well. Benitez has stated a few times we need competition for positions.
Digne has been nearly guaranteed a spot since Baines left with no competition. Now, Benitez is saying, play well, or be dropped from the squad, even if there is no direct replacement.
2 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:06:16
3 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:08:16
4 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:10:41
Godfrey's height was probably a factor, especially with no Rondon to help out at the back with set-pieces.
All turned out good in the end despite some heart-stopping moments.
Digne will still be an asset, I'm sure, but the gutter media will always sensationalize situations.
5 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:15:46
I don't think height was a factor. Digne is only 2 inches shorter than Godfrey, and he is way better in the air. If they went up for 10 balls together, Digne would win 8 of them.
6 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:31:29
But let's see the feedback this weekend from the respective first team and U23s players involved.
The result vs Arsenal doesn't dilute the issue at the club but let's see how this one plays out.
Selhurst Park away was in the time for the pub with the stairs you walked under inside the pub and for getting in, it was a great era for me and many others. Great days.
Same again, à la Thomas Gravesen's best Everton game, August 2004 if I recall: Everton played Palace off their park.
7 Posted 08/12/2021 at 23:38:15
Definitely no spat (rolls eyes).
8 Posted 08/12/2021 at 00:02:14
9 Posted 09/12/2021 at 00:05:40
10 Posted 09/12/2021 at 01:39:55
He did play 90 minutes at left-midfield in their last qualifier, but they've got plenty of wide midfielders better than him.
11 Posted 09/12/2021 at 02:01:41
Great win against The Gooners... but will they turn up at Palace or revert to being shite again?
Rafa looked very happy at the end of the game... interesting times ahead.
12 Posted 09/12/2021 at 02:02:58
13 Posted 09/12/2021 at 02:51:03
We haven't managed to sign back-up to Coleman over the last 3 years and we sent Digne's cover out on loan. So, I hope common sense prevails on this spat.
14 Posted 09/12/2021 at 02:59:38
I thought he was a left-back...
Do you think he is playing badly because Rafa said he has to defend as well as attack? So now he gets the ball and passes back every time just to spite the manager.
15 Posted 09/12/2021 at 03:33:30
On the last day of last season, after we lost to Man City, Digne's Twitter (probably not him but his PR people, but regardless) posted a picture of him and boasted about his great season with 7 assists and how he's one of the best assist creators. Tone-deaf? Yep. But I think it shows how he sees his role as a creator, not a defender.
16 Posted 09/12/2021 at 03:34:31
Remember Moyes played Lescott at left-back for almost a full season after signing Baines? Then, Lescott was moved to centre-back and the rest is history.
Just saying – there are ways for Rafa to wheel and deal to add a bit of depth to the squad.
17 Posted 09/12/2021 at 04:56:11
His free-kicks have also been a joke, as have his “feigning death” antics trying to win free-kicks. Benitez will not tolerate him rolling around on the ground whilst the opposition attack down his flank, and he is correct.
How he responds will determine whether he gets back into the Everton team either sooner or later. Hopefully he will knuckle down and graft.
18 Posted 09/12/2021 at 05:03:26
We're far too thin on the bench to lose him in January, and despite his struggles the past year, he seems to work hard for the shirt. But, in order to rebuild, we need to get younger, and his value only goes down from here.
If we can turn his sale of £30 million into 2 younger players at right-back, left-back, back-up striker, central midfielder, etc... shit, we need to rebuild everywhere!
Point is, we have to keep Calvert-Lewin, and we can cross our fingers Richarlison stays. But assuming he doesn't, then he and Digne equal £100 million or so, which gives Rafa 4-5 solid buys. And he can't mess it up any worse than we've done the past 5 years with 5 times the amount.
19 Posted 09/12/2021 at 05:43:20
Digne is a pro and I'd expect he'll work hard to get back to the team, like Pickford did.
20 Posted 09/12/2021 at 06:20:02
Everyone involved aren't saying much. Probably not much going on. Perhaps just a managerial wake-up call to an under-performing player, but then again it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he was shipped out in January either.
21 Posted 09/12/2021 at 06:20:36
22 Posted 09/12/2021 at 06:46:37
Last season, Ancelotti stumbled upon a back 4 consisting of centre-backs. That period of Coleman and Digne being absent coincided with possibly our best run of results and points. The football was hard to watch, but we were defensively much more solid without our attacking fullbacks.
Now this isn't the way forward (long term), but I wonder if Rafa is having a similar realisation.
23 Posted 09/12/2021 at 06:57:46
24 Posted 09/12/2021 at 07:08:56
Like many have said above, had it just been a rotational change, you would have expected him to be named as a substitute at least. Evidently he wasn't injured, although he did take a battering in the derby match, so it does raise serious questions.
I am not party to any media platforms, Facebook, Twitter etc, but a few people have said there have been photos recently posted of him being in Paris with his wife or girlfriend.
How true that is however, remains to be proved or verified, there are that many phone apps these days that even the amateur can easily create through photoshop or whatever, seemingly convincing pictures, which could also be a fabrication of clever compilation to gain the maximum amount of 'hits'. It does however seem bizarre that resting a player of his undoubted quality, and him not being injured, that he is completely left out of the matchday squad.
Again, being the Devil's Advocate, Digne has not been the player we first saw when he arrived from Barca; those runs to the bye-line, pinpoint crosses and trusty left foot in set-piece situations, all seem to have evaporated.
25 Posted 09/12/2021 at 07:50:37
He just needs to work on his composure a bit more.
26 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:15:34
I was of the opinion "Good on the manager – imposing his authority" and not bowing to any player (or anyone in the club) it would seem, no matter who they are or how good they think they are.
But my son countered me with an interesting slant. Benitez imposing ultimate power. Transfers (in and out), seemingly influencing the removal of the DoF and now apparently dropping key players who could now probably be sold next month. When does it stop?
Depends which side of the fence you sit on I suppose, but what does seem obvious is that Benitez is tightening his grip on the club.
Take the name and history away and some would welcome that. Keep the name and history in mind and others will shudder at the thought.
Divided we stand, I guess, until, ironically, Benitez delivers our first trophy since 1995.
Hope. It's the hope.
27 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:18:55
Given our FFP position, we really need to bring some money in and, if the likes of Man City or anyone else could be tempted to pay £25M+ for him, then it should be considered. He is one of our few sellable assets.
Having said that, I'm really not sure Godfrey is a full-back. Defensively of course he is solid enough and his pace is helpful but he cannot run with the ball, he's not a great crosser, and his passing is so-so.
Nkounkou is doing okay in Belgium from what I've heard without setting the world alight, not sure he's ready to step up full-time to being our full-back.
If we sold Digne, we'd probably need to bring in another left-back for half the price. Given our apparent difficulty finding a right-back, I don't feel overly confident.
The ideal is probably that Digne stays for another 18 months and returns to his previous very high form. During that time, his replacement is bought in to learn from him and then Digne gets sold for a decent price as he's about to turn 30. This is the sort of model well run clubs aim for... so I won't hold my breath!
28 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:19:01
29 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:24:20
I hope that's the message anyway.
30 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:47:45
And I don't necessarily mean in terms of ability or playing style. We played Lescott at left-back for almost a full season, if I recall, prior to him settling in to become an accomplished centre-back.
All part of the development, which takes longer with defenders and centre-backs in particular. Young Ben is, well, very young for a centre-back (23) and has a lot of time before he matures in that position. We have to remember that. How many young players make an instant impact only to have the expected and inevitable 2nd season syndrome? Be patient with him. I think he will come good. As John Stones did.
Right now, I personally feel he would look good in a back 3 with a traditional sweeper protecting them.
31 Posted 09/12/2021 at 08:56:13
However the arrival of Gray and Townsend (and loss of Sigurdsson) means its hard to set the team up that way now.
Agree that Godfrey is undergoing a Lescott like learning exercise at LB.
However, I don't think he's so young as a CB. I think he's more immature / rash. He's got so much potential though if he can add maturity to the pace and aggression.
32 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:08:57
33 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:09:12
Godfrey will end up in the middle but if a riproaring performance at left back is what we need short term then let's see.
34 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:21:34
Very good point and one I've made many times. You have to play the formation / system that best suits the players available.
Rather than try and fit the players available into a system you want to play or insist on playing. As many stubborn managers have done.
I know you follow the youth teams and this goes back to implementing a system and way of playing from top to bottom.
35 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:22:38
Like someone said above lets not forget how shire we have been. Lets see how we do Sunday.
36 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:48:56
But we're in a fix financially - and I expect we could bring in a decent left back + AN other with the proceeds of sale for Digne (who has been out of sorts for a while now).
Given our financial situation the only way to bring in competition right across the squad is to pick up Branthwaite and Okoronkwo type signings and develop them over a period of years. We've been heavily linked to Connor Pye of Morecambe for the LB slot.
Although that does no good immediately - if you keep doing it (and investing in the youth team generally) you should have one or two players on the books maturing all of the time and putting pressure on the first teamers ahead of them.
Some will fail, of course, but the outlay is very small.
37 Posted 09/12/2021 at 09:59:36
If Chelsea or Man City come in with a serious offer, as Sam above says, 25m+, though we may be tempted to get a specialist loan in and continue to use Godfrey there.
FFP means we are going to have to be creative with the transfer business.
Its very risky business for us though as were hardly in a comfortable position, despite Mondays win. It would make better sense to keep him until the summer and just concentrate on strengthening the squad in this window with a couple of shrewd buys or loans.
38 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:14:24
Liverpool have been doing it for years. Not afraid to sell their best players at profit but then replace them with equal or better quality at lower cost. And over time improving their team to the point of winning European & Premier League titles.
I think Coutinho was the best example, but they've had a few others that has given them funds to reinvest and improve the squad.
Apologies for using them as an example, but sometimes you can't hide from the blatantly obvious.
Our recycling of transfer dealings is nothing short of shocking.
39 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:25:06
Digne can be very, very good maybe this affair will shake him up and get him back to the way he was.
40 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:37:54
Personally I think Digne would be a very acceptable player to sell but worry that the new contract with his increased wages will force his sale price down below what wed be hoping for. As a player I think hes too slow and lacks physicality, hes not added much going forward for ages too, so I dont think thats the type our manager would be favouring.
41 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:38:18
Benitez is stubborn and thinks he is right with everything he does, but when you have been on a bad run of results then that would suggest he is getting most things wrong. Only when Gomes came on and he played a 3 in midfield did the shape of the team look right, I along with many other T/Ws have been asking for this formation for weeks. Do I think Benitez will play 3 in midfield from the start against Palace, no I don't he will revert back to the system he has played in every game.
While I like everybody else was up on my feet inside Goodison on Monday when Demarai Gray scored that spectacular goal, I think in the cold light of day this could have turned intothe same sort of result that Watford got here had keitah and Aubamayang had put there chances away.
I think most on here know I don't like Benitez, I will give him massive credit for bringing Demarai Gray to the club the lad is a real talent, and even if he had cost £20 million he would still have been a bargain.
42 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:38:56
I am glad Benitez gave him a kick in the arse if that was what this was. That 50/50 tackle that Godfrey flew into in the first half, those are tackles Digne has been going into half heartedly the past year and then rolling around on the floor as if he has a serious injury.
He needs to return to being the player we had two years ago, if not he should start looking for a new club.
43 Posted 09/12/2021 at 10:59:30
Denzel Dumfries and Tino Livramento were both suggested as potential transfer targets by Marcel Brands recruitment team during the summer transfer window, but Rafa Benitez wanted to sign an experienced right back, preferably with Premier League experience. (Source: The Athletic)
44 Posted 09/12/2021 at 11:19:37
If Benitez is given free rein over our transfer policy, I fear it will end badly. Increasingly it looks as though our awful transfer record over the last 5 years is because the managers and indeed the chairman were given too much leeway to buy who they wanted.
45 Posted 09/12/2021 at 11:23:39
1. Lucas Digne
2. Gylfi Sigurdsson
3. James Rodríguez
If we Sell Digne without bringing in a creative genius, we should start calling ourselves 'The School of no Science'.
46 Posted 09/12/2021 at 11:40:13
47 Posted 09/12/2021 at 11:54:32
48 Posted 09/12/2021 at 11:56:58
I think the vernacular is - "Give your head a wobble"
49 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:19:09
Be creative and brave and go with a young back four that can grow and learn together and BUILD a new Blues side that can finally compete,my choice for next season would be... Williams,Godfrey, Branthwaite & Nkounkou at long last...a BALANCED back four!.
50 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:22:57
In terms of transfers, short termism seems to have won the day. Unfortunately that's nothing new for us. Given how bad the squad has become it might be a necessary step to steady the ship, before doing something more progressive.
Let's see how January goes. There's a good chance of a new RB and maybe one or even two others (loans, frees or bargain basement).
51 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:32:26
52 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:37:39
53 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:44:33
Obviously there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to recruitment, and multiple contingencies in place should anything substantial happen. Players are lined up in the event of other players moving on - so maybe the interest in players like Luis Diaz, Matheus Nunes, Denzel Dumfries, and even Livramento, were only ever likely to be options if one of our more saleable assets like DCL or Richarlison were to end up leaving the club. It's easy to pitch up with a list of players that have been identified as potential transfer targets, but I suspect the reality was that we were never in a position to sign any of those players as FFP rules meant that the option just wasn't there.
While Brands dreamed of signing players that we were never actually going to be able to buy, Benitez was practical. The acquisitions of Townsend and Gray have both been excellent, and for negligible outlay. Maitland-Niles on a free was a decent possibility until the final day of the window. I suspect that, in financial terms, we were running on fumes at this point, and that only when James Rodriguez finally left were we able to have enough budget to cover the wages or loan fee for another player - but by then the window was shut.
Considering the extreme limits of what was possible I'd guess that Benitez bailed us out with his ability to attract a couple of decent players on the cheap, while Brands floundered about wishing things weren't as prohibitive as they clearly were. The transfer in and out (please God) of Kean is another black mark against Brands, and one that might even end up getting us in trouble if the current police investigations into Juventus transfer dealings end up bringing the other clubs under the spotlight.
54 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:44:59
He is more comfortable on the ball and getting forward. A more modern full back. That was evident in the promising period early last season, when he was providing assists and opportunities to Calvert-Lewin.
That could be a factor right now. Who has he had to supply or aim at for the majority of this season? As well as being asked to sit deeper.
Good point. It's not always the player or individual form, and if there is any truth in the alleged outburst, maybe it is personal frustration?
55 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:49:51
A balanced defence is always a necessity. But a key aspect of a balanced defence is leadership, experience and maturity. And more specifically in your centre back pairing.
More than any other area of the pitch in my opinion. It's what we lack in that part of our team and squad.
56 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:50:27
Danny, my fear is that the coach who is here today looks to be shaping the whole structure of the club in terms of playing style, signings, youth development etc. But when he's gone tomorrow, what then for continuity of overall, integrated strategy - with a new coach, with different preferences, and no DoF?
57 Posted 09/12/2021 at 12:56:04
No club plans for the manager after the manager they already have. While Benitez is in charge he should be allowed to manage as he sees fit. Otherwise what is the point of having a manager at all.
58 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:02:30
59 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:10:58
Unless you have an inside friend then we have no idea what the actual financial parameters and limitations were. Benitez preference for experience over youth is well documented and it may have cost us an exciting young right back here.
If you believe The Athletic (who presumably do have inside sources) then Brands was after Gray before Benitez arrived. But yes Townsend was presumably a Benitez signing. So was Rondon.
60 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:12:18
I take the point that a back four needs some experience but haven't we tried that now for Donkey's years and look where it's got us!...be brave try something new,you never know it might just work!...and I also see young Godfrey as a future Captain too btw.
61 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:16:54
Some very successful managers would not work at other clubs.
Take Ten Hag at Ajax, he works on a development and sale basis that revolves around their youth system.
But I wouldn't fancy his chances as the next Man Utd manager.
Equally, I'm not sure how well Mourinho would do at Ajax.
I think Danny's concern is that we're dismantling everything that was supposed to give us some longer term direction, to accommodate Benitez.
Given we haven't hung onto a manager for more than 18 months recently, you have to question the wisdom.
At some point we have to look at the longer term, otherwise we will always be lurching from one short term approach to another - and wondering why we can't find a decent manager to reverse our fortunes.
62 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:22:11
Get it right and you can accommodate managerial or head coach changes more smoothly.
Well said, Robert. That sums me up. We have to put a strategy in place.
The Ajax model is interesting. I love it and for a long time, it was my German Everton (Schalke) approach. A very impressive academy that not only serviced a first team that hit the heights of Champions League, but also made them money. But it's a balance and they went too far down the selling path. To the point they are now in the 2nd tier of German football. Hopefully short-lived.
I draw a lot of comparisons between Everton and Schalke, but I can't do so with the academy. Theirs, over the years, has been world class. We won't fall into the trap of over-selling as we don't have anything worthy of selling.
I will counter myself there in that maybe there have been some foundations laid and there are some gems, like Lewis Warrington, about to come good. These things take time and years to materialise.
63 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:28:07
64 Posted 09/12/2021 at 13:58:17
As for the assertion that Brands was after Demarai Gray prior to Benitez getting here, I would hope that is true. But to what extent? He had him on a list? He was actively pursuing him? He had transfer negotiations underway? All I heard when Gray signed was how Benitez had been tracking him for years, had kept in contact with the player, and that Gray himself referenced Benitez as a big reason why he signed - a manager who believed in him.
65 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:06:15
Tell me if I get this wrong: you're advocating that we emulate a club that established a go-ahead Academy model that proved to be so good that they sold too many of their best players, so much so that their first team was presumably starved or not prioritized... to the rather embarrassing ultimate result that they were relegated from the top flight and now must bide their time in the second tier???
Correct me if I'm wrong, but that doesn't look like a very good template to me. Because I'm of the opinion (expressed by many) that relegation of Everton FC would absolutely destroy it.
Yet you do keep harping on about Schalke...
66 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:10:25
Whoever was responsible for Gray and Townsend deserves credit. More of the same may well be required but Benitez's transfer record overall makes for pretty mixed reading.
For the last 5 years we have made mostly very poor moves in the transfer market and the reports that are surfacing in the wake of Brands' departure suggests that a lot of that may be due to managers and chairmen going over the dutchmans head. These reports may or may not be true of course but they ring true to me. We have got in a mess by allowing managers (and the chairman) to dictate transfer policy, which leaves us with an unbalanced squad every time the manager gets sacked and needs replacing. My concern is that we are not learning from these mistakes.
67 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:13:07
You might well be right.
Certainly there was no money to buy Luis Diaz unless Rodriguez was part of the deal.
Less sure about RBs because we seem to have bid up to £8m for Patterson - with suggestions of late bids for Maitland-Niles (about £10m) and DeBeek on loan being knocked back by their clubs even though the players wanted to come.
Maybe there was some slack. Or maybe it was smoke and mirrors with complex / delayed payment terms.
Whatever the case, with Rodriguez now gone I expect we'll get a RB in January (Maitland-Niles probably) and maybe one or even two others.
68 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:21:28
69 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:38:58
The report stated ex Everton player, have I missed something and that he is no longer our player.
I have been visiting the hospital these last two weeks so asking as as far as ai am concerned, he is still an Everton player.
70 Posted 09/12/2021 at 14:55:42
I saw that too. Technically its a two year loan with a requirement to buy but they said that about Tasharaj or whatever his name was and he ended showing back at FF
71 Posted 09/12/2021 at 15:04:48
72 Posted 09/12/2021 at 15:06:29
He scored but missed a couple of sitters
Regarding Digne. I think its Benitez just showing everyone whos boss.
Digne was probably the first to question Benitez so he got it
Could have been anyone
Mind you every manager has their favourites and whipping boys-same as us
73 Posted 09/12/2021 at 15:27:52
What we need to do is buy several more key players so that we have close to two good players per position. When was the last time Everton had anything close to that? The 80's?
If we have to sell to buy right now, then we're in real bad shape and that means selling Digne out of an already thin squad would be the definition of insanity.
74 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:23:45
So, if we sell an out of sorts Digne to buy, say, Gomez (the Anderlecht LB we're strongly linked with) and Maitland-Niles then it might make sense.
There's no easy answer to any of this due to financial constraints.
One way or another though, we need to figure out a way to get two good players for each position in spite of financial constraints. Some of that will necessarily involve sales in order to reinvest.
So we also need to buck the trend of buying high and selling low.
75 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:38:10
I'm saying that Schalke, a team that has many parallels with Everton, and a team I have followed from a very young age, had and has a very good academy over many years. One that has produced genuine top drawer players, not just also rans or unrealised potential.
Search and compile a first eleven of Schalke academy graduates and it will impress most. They don't get the praise of the likes of Ajax, but they have produced consistently. And it is mostly local to the city of Gelsenkirchen where they are deeply rooted.
Apologies. My point was actually critical of my adopted second team, Schalke, a club I spend time and money on to go and watch at least once a season. They went too far down the route of using the academy as a cash cow rather than balancing it between that and servicing the first team squad. That was my point about the academy; it's a balance.
Everton's academy is nowhere close to doing either right now. We don't make money, but neither do we produce for the first team.
Sorry to "harp" on. But I have enjoyed the allowance to watch the Schalke youth teams train and play first hand in the shadow of the stadium on a match day. I wish we had that open approach rather than the closed gates of Finch Farm. Last time I was there, the latest of the Sane brothers was happily mingling and chatting with the fans watching one of the U16s teams play.
76 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:39:23
Bill and Robert, agreed. Those calling to sell Digne are assuming we'll use the money to get someone better back in to replace him, and we have absolutely no recent record of doing that.
It was odd watching Barkley play a dominant game yesterday. He was Chelsea's MOTM, no contest.
77 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:40:22
Burnley were prepared to pay around £5/6 million for him last January, and Brands, apparently wanted another million, which is probably what it has cost to keep the kid at Everton for another season, with this being another decision that hasnt done anybody any favours.
78 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:42:02
I don't know why, maybe it's sentiment, but I just think there is one roll of the dice left in that one.
79 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:43:20
It's just hard to believe the sums of Money being blasted, without a strategy and governance model. Its unheard of in professional sport or any business surely. When Rooney came back he was on 70k per week more than Salah, who I think netted over 30 PL goals that season, its incredible isn't it.
80 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:46:29
Most responses were along the line of needing to buy the right players. But the chances of getting a dud is far higher in the £20-£25m range than in the £40m-£50m range.
Looking at the purchases in the Moshiri years we have spent enough to have 8 players in the £50m bracket, along with 3 home grown (DCL, Seamus and Tom Davies - with the other 10 he would be OK). Problem is we have spent the money on the 14 of the £20-£25m and quite a few have been duds and so it has been wasted.
We can name names, but only players who have left or about to leave - Tosun, Walcott, Schneiderlin, Klasssen, Kean, Bolasie. Let us not be vitriolic to those still here.
81 Posted 09/12/2021 at 16:54:05
82 Posted 09/12/2021 at 17:00:45
83 Posted 09/12/2021 at 17:05:49
84 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:09:52
Both the Directors of Football we have had aid over the odds for players that had no significant resale value apart from Gueye. Brands was a poor appointment, in his role in Holland his preferred market seemed to be South America and former Dutch colonies. The UK has far stricter/different immigration policy so young footballers cannot no be imported as a commodity from the third world. There is a significant number of young players both in the UK and Ireland to recruit at that level. It is obvious to me that given the likelihood of BREXIT no serious consideration was given to the impending changes in the law with regard to recruitment.
With regard to Ramsey given the problems we've had with injuries does not seem to be a sensible buy. Trippier is over thirty would want a long contract so would be an expensive short term solution.
85 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:10:45
86 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:18:34
87 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:23:53
Trippier has always been a good, committed and determined player, but as you allude, not the kind of signings we need long term. Maybe Benitez has immediate concerns about the position.
88 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:37:20
I was and remain doubtful of his ability based on where I want or expect Everton to be. But right now, I would be inclined to give him another chance.
He might just take it and prove me wrong.
89 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:55:32
Benitez transfer record isn't great but I think Ramsey would be a good addition, but Trippier no thanks, ok going forward but a poor defender.
90 Posted 09/12/2021 at 18:55:40
Apart from that fluffed chance vs Brentford? hes never looked like getting on the end of anything in 12 games and thats worrying. OK his work rate was admirable v Liverpool, but thats not enough to justify his inclusion as we need first and foremost someone up front who can score.
91 Posted 09/12/2021 at 19:19:10
92 Posted 09/12/2021 at 19:39:52
For the short to medium term we need to pick up low cost, high value players wherever possible - ideally in the 23 to 26 age group. Ideally no more than about £10 to £15m.
There will be exceptions, of course.
But this will generally avoid us saddled with deteriorating assets on high wages, being precisely what has left us in the shit.
Whilst this sounds impossible it is enabled by the post(?) Covid market which sees an unusually high volume of young / quality players nearing the end of their contracts (and a few firesales to make ends meet)
93 Posted 09/12/2021 at 19:53:04
94 Posted 09/12/2021 at 20:20:14
I dont know whether he can make it at our club, but Id love to see it.
95 Posted 09/12/2021 at 20:52:39
If he was suddenly needed for the first team, he would go straight in and give 100% for the team and the club he loves, or he did do from when he joined the club until he came back from being on loan in Germany.
It would be hard to imagine how feels for the club, seeing how he has hardly been helped since making his debut a few years ago. He's never had a consistent run in the team, stop-go all the time...
I'd love to see the lad get a proper good run in the team to prove he can do the business... or not, as the case maybe, although a good majority of fans have written him off long ago.
96 Posted 09/12/2021 at 21:05:13
I agree with you about Jonjoe Kenny. Since coming back from Germany, he's never been given a consistent run to see if he he's up to the challenge. Celtic fans were 50/50 about his performance in Scotland.
97 Posted 09/12/2021 at 21:07:46
There are always going to be factors that prohibit who can be brought into a football club - size of transfer budget will be a key factor, as will the status of the club and of the player - but right now, and for the foreseeable future, I expect that our finances will preclude us from being able to compete for the potential stars of tomorrow. There is such a premium on young talent, precisely for their potential resale value, and at present we seem to be sufficiently short-stacked that its going to be an uphill battle to be able to trade well in that market. Right now we need to steady the ship, and if it means signing two or three more senior players (26+) that can give us greater strength in depth for the second half of this season then that short-term benefit is what we chiefly need. The obvious caveat is that they need to be the right players - which is the perennial challenge with recruitment. I fervently believe those players are out there - but will Benitez be able to find them and sign them on reasonable terms; who knows?
98 Posted 09/12/2021 at 22:53:27
99 Posted 10/12/2021 at 02:59:26
Thank God Rondon got injured and let's hope he is out for a long time. The manager has given him enough chances now and still no goals. He is Rubbish.
100 Posted 10/12/2021 at 07:06:06
Let's face it, the media will hype anything up to get a story. Such a load of overpaid cretins!
101 Posted 10/12/2021 at 08:55:14
But beyond that I'd agree with Robert that in the medium term where possible we should be looking for players aged 23-26. Yes, many younger players can be overpriced but there are usually bargains to be found and arguably four of the best PL transfers this year fall into that age category or younger. Our own Gray is aged 25 and costs £1.7, Livramento at Southampton is 19 and cost £5m, Emmanuel Dennis at Watford is 24 and cost £3.4m and Maxwell Cornet at Burnley is 25 and cost £13m. All these players have (so far) proved very useful additions and will have doubled in worth (if not a lot more in the case of Gray and Livramento).
Currently there are only 6 older teams in the league, with an average age of 26.9, so I would not say we are lacking in experience.
I'm not saying there should be hard and fast rules and clearly a transfer like Townsend (or Gareth Barry in the past) makes a lot of sense but keeping one eye on resale values and future growth is essential, short termism (and bad scouting) is how we got into this current mess.
Obviously the hard bit is in getting the right players and perhaps it is easier to make that evaluation if the player is more experienced but conversely it may be easier to shift a player, who has not settled, in his mid 20's rather than early 30's; plus his wages would possibly be lower. Every case is different of course so it all comes down to good scouting and decision making, two areas where we have not excelled in recent years!
102 Posted 10/12/2021 at 09:35:54
He's a poor defender, a liability around our own box and now he's stopped delivering near the oppositions' box and is constantly on his arse and out of position, he should be fine getting a part in a French drama with that constantly pained kipper.
103 Posted 10/12/2021 at 10:32:12
Now Newcastle will be lurking, offering the agent and player more money and Tottenham miraculously always seem to register an interest in every player we are interested in.
I too expect loans and maybe an end-of-contract deal In January. An interesting one today is Idrissa Baba, 25-year-old Ghanaian midfielder being mentioned again. He won't be cheap… what do you make of him?
104 Posted 10/12/2021 at 11:27:18
I seem to be engaging with you and Robert on recruitment issues fairly regularly, and I think it generally comes back to us having fundamentally different estimations of the job at hands; you both think its much easier than it looks, and I think its much harder than it looks.
105 Posted 10/12/2021 at 11:59:44
Tony(103), what Ive seen and read of Babu is very encouraging but very unlikely we can afford him anytime soon Id guess. I still wish wed bought Sangare for £8m.
106 Posted 10/12/2021 at 12:26:57
Alternative approaches rely solely on good judgement, which we've seen a severe lack of.
The 23 to 26 age range (and low cost) is basically the strategy Moyes used to build the core of his squads - being fairly experienced players where you know what you're going to get with some room for development (but probably never world beaters).
The up to 23 age range is less predictable but gives a better chance of a club with modest budget to acquire, probably with patience and development, a top class player. More along the lines of what Martinez did. But you need a decent side before you can go down only this route and we've probably deteriorated too far and need to rebuild now.
Whatever the case, we just can't buy ready made top class players.
107 Posted 10/12/2021 at 21:27:06
I like it.
108 Posted 10/12/2021 at 22:34:04
If they dont take too kindly to any criticisms, show them the door. Some players have taken the piss for too long out of our once-great club while being paid a fortune. Time to get ruthless.
109 Posted 11/12/2021 at 10:56:26
110 Posted 11/12/2021 at 16:07:56
Which is funny because, when you translate the article, all it does is blather on about el diario británico 'Express' reporting that he's going to Chelsea in January.
111 Posted 11/12/2021 at 16:32:30
I'd prefer to keep him and he comes back into form... same with Gomes.
112 Posted 11/12/2021 at 19:57:38
I would definitely be looking elsewhere. Maybe Trippier on a loan but he is already 31 and so would be a silly purchase. Maybe we should go back to Rangers for the young lad now that Gerard has departed.
113 Posted 11/12/2021 at 20:11:04
It's always the case. You get far better value casting the net further than the Premier League.
114 Posted 11/12/2021 at 20:37:36
115 Posted 11/12/2021 at 23:28:35
On Lucas Digne, I think it's hard for him to get back to his best form, which is more as a wing-back than a full-back, when he's partnered mainly with Demarai Gray who prefers to use an over-lapping player as a distraction and carry the ball inside looking for an opportunity to shoot.
No-one can complain if he regularly gets results but he definitely cramps Digne's style and I doubt he really enjoys being restricted to a more defensive role. Complaining that Digne ain't as capable as Ben Godfrey of covering ground is pretty harsh because who isn't? What is the solution? I'll leave that to the manager.
116 Posted 12/12/2021 at 06:01:42
Alternatively, we could offer Kean and Digne to Juventus for Ramsey, Weston and Arthur, who it is rumoured they prepared to let go, and a cash adjustment to us, say £10M.
Giz a job, Lah, I cud do DoF.
117 Posted 12/12/2021 at 08:43:05
Anyway, there is no denying he has dropped his output so, if Benitez thinks there's a better solution, I'm okay with that.
118 Posted 12/12/2021 at 20:14:33
119 Posted 13/12/2021 at 08:16:41
120 Posted 14/12/2021 at 13:07:14
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