The transfer window has closed, and we now (more or less) know the squad that will compete in the 2023-24 season under Sean Dyche.  Before the window opened, I wrote an article setting out a few priorities and the sorts of gettable players who might fit the bill.  In order of priorities, I felt we needed:

1.       A striker of quality to compete with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, not just cover his absences

2.       A centre-back of quality to replace Mina (and support the development of Branthwaite)

3.       A winger or forward to give us different options in attack

4.       An extra body in midfield to bolster the squad

5.       Full-back cover

The point of all of this was to secure a mid-table finish, rather than a third nail-biting relegation fight in succession.  The challenge was to do this with possibly the weakest financial position of any clubs apart from Luton and Sheffield Utd.


Compared to say, Aston Villa, it’s been another disappointing summer.  They have added Champions League standard quality in the form of Youri Tielemans, Pau Torres and Moussa Diaby, and now have a squad with an outside chance of a Champions League place (although I think they may regret selling Aaron Ramsey to Burnley).

We still have a thin squad with question marks in midfield, full-back and central defence.  On that basis, I expect many fans will consider Kevin Thelwell to be a waste of space as Director of Football.

But taking account of our disastrous finances, I give the recruitment team 8/10.  Could they have done better?  Possibly, but you can see the constraints they’re working to. 

We have spent about £36M and sold about £43M worth of players (and Gray may yet leave for Saudi Arabia too). Loan commitments might make up some of the difference but it’s clear that we’re not just adrift of the big boys, we’re now lagging well behind the likes of Bournemouth (net spend of -€126M) and Forest (net spend of -€56M).  In fact, it’s only us, Brighton and Wolves with a positive net spend coming out of the window. 

For the coming season, I expect that our squad (with Sean Dyche at the helm) is now good enough to finish between 12th and 15th. It is possible that we finish higher but to do so, we would have to do so on heart and organisation rather than quality.  My expectation is that we’ll finish around 13th and many fans will think that’s because Dyche is a dinosaur, failing to notice just how poor the playing squad remains relative to the competition.

How did we do it – the strategy?

This is interesting.  There’s been a very clear strategy not to sell off the crown jewels of Branthwaite, Onana and Pickford (the three players who most obviously look like they have Champions League ability or potential).

Instead, Thelwell has done well to get weaker players off the books – which sadly includes Tom Cannon.  Shame it was a sale and not a loan, but maybe we have a buy-back option or a percentage of future sale? That disappointment is probably offset for many by the sale of Alex Iwobi to Fulham for a surprisingly high fee given his contract was up in June 2024.  I doubt anyone will be disappointed to see Maupay leave for Brentford either – although I expect both he and Iwobi to do quite well for their new clubs. 

Spending strategy has focussed on the free, the cheap and the on-loan.  And by 'cheap', I mean up-front payments – not necessarily the overall fee.  It looks like initial payment demands for the likes of Wilfred Gnonto and others, placed them out of reach – despite them possibly being “cheaper” in headline terms than Beto.

We also seem to have gone for a healthy mix of Moyes-type signings of 23- to 26-year-olds who are ready now but not quite top quality (Beto, Harrison and Danjuma) along with some Martinez type Champions League potential (Chermiti and, of sorts, Branthwaite). Young is just cheap and experienced cover of the sort both Moyes and Martinez might have signed.

In the circumstances, this looks like a decent strategy.

Priority 1: Striker

Beto is an experienced striker who should be first-team ready now. Chermiti is an imaginative signing for a club often criticised for failing to look to cheaper markets for players.

Both have the physique for the Premier League.  We look much stronger now in attack. Crucially we are no longer over-reliant on Calvert-Lewin, which allows him to recover from injuries properly.

Are there any real “ones who got away”? El Bilal Toure is now injured so we dodged a bullet there. Not sure anyone within our financial grasp is genuinely better than what we ended up with. Just a shame about Cannon.

Priority 2: Centre-Back

Branthwaite is probably the best young English centre-back after Colwill and Harwood-Bellis, so we should be excited at the prospect of him securing a first-team spot over the course of the season.  He is, in effect, like a new £25M signing at centre-back.

In my article at the start of the window, I mentioned a few who ended up having fairly low-cost moves: Bueno from Girona to Wolves; Montes from Espanyol to Almeria; Porozo from Troyes to Olympiakos, Holding from Arsenal to Palace; Phillips from Liverpool to Celtic and Williams from Liverpool to Aberdeen. 

Given Godfrey looks like he’s forgotten how to play football since Ancelotti left, we could have done with a bit more cover here.  Holding, for just over £1M, would have excited no-one but fit the bill. Interest in DeWinter of Juve, Maguire of Manchester Utd, Chalobah of Chelsea and Solet of Salzburg obviously came to nothing.

Priority 3: Winger or Forward

Surprisingly, perhaps, we have gone all out for players in this category.

Danjuma and Harrison are both good, experienced players with a strong track record in English football. They are players for now.  I expect we’ve added 10+ goals minimum to the squad by signing them (goals and assists).

Danjuma is also very versatile and can play as a striker if needs be.  Although he’s not a traditional striker, he’s as much a striker as, say, Gakpo or Richarlison.  So it is an improvement on prior seasons.

It looks as though we tried really hard to bring in one of Sulemana or Gnonto too but couldn’t quite get a deal over the line.  We’ve not sold Demarai Gray yet but the Saudi Arabia transfer window remains open, so that could still happen.  If so, it looks like Lewis Dobbin will be given a chance.

Extra bodies in midfield

We’re fairly well-stocked in numbers for the coming season (especially with Dele Alli and André Gomes still on the books), but I’m not sure about the quality and blend.  

Garner and Onana are our best footballers but they don’t seem to play well together yet.  Doucouré and Gueye can be effective but are very limited footballers.  I think we’ve got one of the weaker midfields in the bottom half of the Premier League.  We will also be hit by Afcon in the New Year. 

We may come to miss Iwobi’s assists and forward passing (and I expect him to do pretty well at Fulham) but I wonder whether Dwight McNeil might be moved inside from the wing, with Arnaut Danjuma starting wide left.  

We obviously tried to get a bit of cheap cover in – with Wharton, Alzate and Reed all heavily linked – but again we couldn’t get the deals over the line.  With Lewis Warrington on loan at Plymouth Argyle, maybe Jenson Metcalfe or Tyler Onyango can push themselves into the first-team reckoning.

Full-back cover

Ashley Young is sort of a strange signing due to age but I’m fairly content that this was a sensible move given Mykolenko and Patterson are first choice still, I expect.  We also have various players who can cover the positions at a push.  We just didn’t have the money to do much more in this area by the looks of things, so Young is the sticking plaster for the time being.

Unfortunately, we sold possibly the best U18 left-back in Europe for £4M. It’s extremely disappointing that Ishé Samuels-Smith has gone.  I don’t necessarily blame the club – because sometimes it’s the young players agitating for moves (like Thierry Small and Emilio Lawrence both did, possibly to their respective detriment). Sad nonetheless.  Oh well… when Young is called upon then he’ll probably do okay – and might also be a good influence on the younger players too.

Reader Comments (52)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:22:43
I haven’t read all of your article, Robert, but I will later.

I’m deeply disappointed that we didn’t get a CB and a creative MF player.

On the other hand, I’m glad we got rid of some of the deadwood (not including Tom Cannon) who were simply not good enough to wear the Everton shirt

Tony Everan
2 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:31:48
It’s obvious that Thelwell is in a financial straitjacket, so I’m relieved that we have got the striker in , Beto and DCL should keep us strong up front for the season. Chermiti will be introduced gradually.

CB is the one area that I am concerned about, we needed a Mina replacement to work with /rotate /cover Branthwaite throughout the season.

Further considerations are that we may, or may not, receive a significant fine in October. Also we may want to keep some finance to activate Harrison’s buy clause at some point later in the season. We don’t know how much up front we’d have to pay for that. He may well become indispensable getting 5-10 goals and replacing and improving on Iwobi’s assists. So getting him in permanently will be a necessity.

It’s a 7/10 from me as the CB issue and possibly another midfielder could have been addressed with more planning. I feel the squad is thin, any injuries will hurt us, and needed more midfield strength in depth due to the Afcon.

Brent Stephens
3 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:33:16
Robert, I think that's a fair analysis of our overall (not just yesterday's) transfer business. I agree it's important to see that business in the context of both the significant financial constraints, and the amount of business that had to be done - i.e. getting players out (sale or loan) not just in.

A final point, I think it's not just a question of counting individual players coming in but also the synergies that come from the signings. In other words, and just as an example, the stronger forward unit arguably reduces weaknesses elsewhere by taking pressure of those other areas; the more we have the ball with the forwards, the less chance there is of cock-ups elsewhere.

Kevin Molloy
4 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:40:58
I think Thelwell has done a remarkable job given that Moshiri told him last week, 'listen, we've taken in well over a hundred million in the last eight months, but you're not getting any of it. Ok, look, you can have a couple of loans, and 1-2 million, but anything else needs to go on the never never'.
It's been an astonishing window really. We were weak as piss last year, but one of our ever presents has been sold for big money and not replaced. We couldn't find £4m to make Coady's move permanent, so are now on an absolute cliff edge for the next four months. An injury to either Tarkowski or Branthwaite leaves us with no alternative but to pitch into PL games Godfrey or Keane. Both fullbacks are weak, and so is the cover. We play with a midfield 3 (2 of whom are in their mid 30s) and have one guy (Garner as cover). We are going to get found out there, just as we are at centre back. We seem fine now on the wings and up front.
If' we'd have just spent the £4m on Coady loaned a centre back, and got in another midfielder for 5-10m we'd have a fighting chance. As it is, the moment injury strikes its curtains.
Brian Harrison
5 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:42:22
Just read a stat which really highlighted what's been wrong with our transfer policy ever since Moshiri took over the club.

We signed Sigurdsson, Mina, Bolasie, Gbamin, Walcott and Tosun for a combined total of £156.7 million. Total fees Everton received for those players: £0.

Ian Jones
6 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:42:37
Robert, good analysis again – seems fair.

Brent, agreed re synergies. Sometimes it just brings one or two characters to come in and change the mood in the changing room and in training.

I am interested to see how Beto gets on. If the forwards can bang some goals in, it must surely breed confidence in other areas of the team.

Joe Digney
7 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:44:24
Great article, mate. I also think Iwobi will do well at Fulham played as a more attacking midfielder with plenty of runners around him.

I agree with McNeil coming inside, I've always thought he doesn't quite have the pace to be a premier league winger and think he looks most dangerous when he floats inside picking the ball up on the half turn in and around the opposition box, would like to see him almost given a "James" free role just behind the striker.

All-in-all, under the obvious financial constraints, I think it was a fairly decent window.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:45:00
A very fair assessment, Robert, and we obviously know where the blame lies regarding recruitment of players and it definitely isn't with Thelwell and Dyche.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong but this threadbare squad, again, fills me with doubts about staying in the premier league this season.

A win at Sheffield Utd today would buck us all up, and I hope for that, but it won't remove my doubts for this season, I hope everyone travelling to Sheffield comes home with a big smile on your faces, if anyone deserves success it is you lot, best of luck.

Jim Wilson
9 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:47:03
Disappointed Tom Cannon was sold.
We had to bring a replacement in if we sold Iwobi.
I prefer Holgate to Keane and Godfrey.
I agree on Samuels-Smith.

So for me we have got the improved forward line we needed but are weaker in midfield and defence.

Onana is the one I would have sold as he doesn't do enough in a game and we don't seem to get the best out of Gueye and Doucouré with him in the team.

A midfield of Garner Gueye and Doucoure is preferred by me.

Jim Lloyd
10 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:59:36
Robert, A really thorough and excellent article. Hopefully, January will see us moving along in the same pattern. It shows the amount of work Thelwell and Dyche have been doing in order to strengthen our first team on very limited funds. They must have been looking at Dele and Gomes to see if either/both could contribute to the first team.

It makes a lot of sense to me, that the more goals we score and pressure we put on "them" will lessen the "Alamo" effect we often suffer. We've got the goalscorers to do that, McNeil, Harrison, Danjuma and Beto, and not much money to work with either.

Dave Williams
11 Posted 02/09/2023 at 10:59:57
I think Thelwell has done a decent job. With very little to spend- basically we have only spent what we have brought in- he has acquired what at first viewing is an exciting striker, a dangerous player in Danjuma, a promising centre forward supplemented by the youth of Dobbin,Onyango and Branthwaite. It’s high time we gave these young lads a chance.
He hasn’t wasted our money buying players on a whim. Yes our squad looks thin but I do wonder if he has held back some cash just in case Dele comes good and we have to pay Spurs an instalment. One can but dream!
Gradually Sean has ditched those who were either not good enough or didn’t give everything. Iwobi ran his socks off but did tend to back away from tackles, cancelling Gbamins contract at zero cost is excellent business and whilst selling Cannon is a shame I’d sooner him go than Branthwaite or Onana

It will all look better if we win today of course!

Barry Rathbone
12 Posted 02/09/2023 at 11:04:35
Thanks for doing the maths, Rob, I sorta felt selling to spend was where we are at "We have spent about £36M and sold about £43M" confirms the matter.

In that respect, we've done as expected with a few loans and cheapo buys resultant of our present Moshiri-induced penury.

No Rooney, Arteta, Rodwell, Lescott, Lukaku, Stones to sell for big money down to a village idiot transfer policy over the past 7 years. Now, is it enough to save our bacon? Very doubtful in my opinion.

Mark Taylor
13 Posted 02/09/2023 at 11:09:23
Let's be honest, it's a poor window under any measure that does not include our poverty-stricken status.

We have problems all over the pitch and our circumstances have forced us to fix only the most glaring, in attack. We have now replaced Richarlison and Gordon, albeit with probably slightly less good players, and at last have a striker. Let's face it, no goals equals relegation and at least we now have a chance of scoring them, even more so if Calvert-Lewin ever gets fit.

The lesser but still big problems still prevail. On paper, we are well stocked with midfielders but 3 of them can't or won't play and another may well be needed at right-back. We lack ingenuity and footballing ability with those that remain and two of those will miss part of the season at Afcon.

Branthwaite is certainly a ray of hope but one (back) in does not replace the depth of three out, especially as one of our back-ups (Godfrey) appears to have forgotten how to play the game. A long-term injury to Tarkowski doesn't bear thinking about. The full-back position is as weak as ever and we can only pray Seamus can recover from his bad injury and hit the ground running. That is a big ask.

We are wafer-thin on real quality and the only reason I think we could avoid relegation is that the promoted teams are a poor crop and at least now, we might be able to score some goals. However, I would be truly astonished if we got as high as 13th. 16th or 17th would be okay and a decent achievement.

Ian Bennett
14 Posted 02/09/2023 at 11:21:45
We didn't breakeven, we sold €75m, and bought €40m. Great for the numbers, but the squad is threadbare in numbers and low on quality.

We dumped wages with Holgate, Maupay, Iwobi, Mina, Coady, Davies, Townsend, Begovic. That's nearly £400k a week or £20m+ in wages.

Kean, Nkounkou, Cannon, Simms, Iwobi, realising decent fees and gains in cash and ffp.

Muddling through till the stadium, and then it will be sold.

Robert Tressell
15 Posted 02/09/2023 at 11:26:51
I'd have given top marks if we'd have ended the window with, say, Harry Maguire on loan and a talented young midfielder like Varela (who went to Porto for €8m) or Mannsverk (who went to Ajax for € 6m).

Hard to criticise Thelwell and Dyche for this though, when your net spend is less than Luton Town.

I think the plan is simply to add more goals to the side and make do in other areas. I suspect it will take at least 2 more summer windows before we've properly turned over a really badly assembled squad and built something interesting.

But let's be honest, compared with the end of last season it is nice to be going into a fixture with the likes of Beto, Danjuma, Chermiti and Dobbin available. Sheff Utd are no mugs - and have bought well themselves in Archer, Souza, Hamer and Thomas - but hopefully the win in the week has got us going.

Dale Self
16 Posted 02/09/2023 at 11:30:22
Robert, I will take an 8/10. It was imperative that we make some forward moves but we were never likely to address it all in one window. We went younger and stayed with asset buys that make sense rather than the quick loan fix.

It is risky but that will play well for Dyche as he trusts the players and they respond. We have absolutely turned our reputation around and rid ourselves of the weaker minded players that were never going to recover here.

Dupont Koo
17 Posted 02/09/2023 at 15:26:04
Thank you Robert for another well-written piece.

Other than not being able to get rid of Gomes, Keane and Gray (reaching a contract buy-out with Gbamin is still a win and an addition-by-subtraction), I actually like the work done by Thelwell & his team, despite my membership in the #ThelwellBrigade might have blinded my assessment.

The sales of ISS & Cannon might look bad on paper but like the Humphrey Bogart "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" quote, this might just be the very beginning of Thelwell adopting and implementing the strategy that has made the Red Shite & Chelsea a lot of money: getting youngsters out every year out of their "famed" academies, with the "blue blood" ink still wet on their heads. Then sell them for good money before they are found out. If Bruce Wayne's coffer needs to be replenished, so does ours. Although we are really late into this game, but better late than never.

#ThelwellBrigade remains open for new membership applications!

Kieran Kinsella
18 Posted 02/09/2023 at 16:43:53

I think offensively we are stronger, the rest of the side is about at the same level and financially we are better off so a net positive.

The lack of depth is reminiscent of the Moyes era when a few injuries meant a central midfield of Jagielka and Baxter. I suspect we will live or die on injuries. If we avoid them for six or seven better players, we should be okay; if we lose Beto, Danjuma, Pickford, Tarkowski etc for any length of time, we looked screwed.

Paul Tran
19 Posted 02/09/2023 at 18:02:40
Robert, that's a good balanced piece that has saved me writing something similar.

Under the financial contraints, we’ve done good business. We can't sort out the whole team in one window. The priority was to bring in players who can score. We did. My only concern is that we'll be vulnerable to injuries snd suspensions

Stephen Vincent
20 Posted 02/09/2023 at 18:42:25
Not blaming Thelwell, he is working under ridiculous constraints that are none of his doing, but it is a 4/10 for me.

We signed a geriatric fullback, a winger who didn't want to know us last January, a winger who is injured probably until October and whose wages we are paying in their entirety, a centre forward who we apparently have to give back next summer if we can't afford the payment and a kid who has played 15 games in Portugal.

If I live to be 100 I will not understand why we signed Chermiti for £11m when we had a very similar forward and are absolutely crying out for a decent fullback.

We sell Ellis Simms to pay off our God awful directors and send Warrington and Mills out on loan and then put 5 outfield players on the bench today.

Where you get 8/10 is beyond me. We are just amateurish and scattergun at best.

I'm prepared to bet that no one from the club ever spoke with Gnonto's agent. Just another pack of lies and smoke screen put out by Teary Bill's media contacts.

Nick Page
21 Posted 02/09/2023 at 18:57:10
Thoroughly agreed Stephen Vincent. The club is an utter shambles from the top down and has been for 30 odd years, the exact time when other clubs were moving forward with Sky TV and media money we got fucking Kenwright, a poor man’s Doug Ellis (at best). We might scrape along the bottom for a while or finally plunge through the leagues but it won’t change until He and all the obsequious toads that do His bidding are gone and gone for good. Like a Stalinist putsch. The entire philosophy of the club has to change - Dyche has mentioned this too because he sees it everyday….comfortable with losing….it’s a family club after all etc etc. We do a lot of good work in the community (add smokescreen). The only reason it ever got this bad was that Kenwright led a managed decline since 1999 because 1. He knew he didn’t have enough money to compete and 2. He would never let go. So he covered his back by making everyone think he was doing his best and was leading a 24/7 charge to find an investor (not a buyer). It took 17 fecking years and the greedy old bastard even fucked that up. Not that he cares one bit as he’s trousered millions. It’s all complete lies and it’s why we are where we are.
Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 02/09/2023 at 18:57:49

Maybe Chermiti is like one of those old Clough deals that conclude with someone handing him a brown paper bag at an M62 service station?

Jim Bennings
24 Posted 03/09/2023 at 07:19:05
Some good signings hopefully but still way way too light in key areas.

Lack of a creative central midfielder still does my head, why do our scouts never seem capable of searching the globe for one?

I was surprised that we didn't use up at least one of those four available loan slots too.

Derek Thomas
25 Posted 03/09/2023 at 08:01:43
Dyche and Thelwell have pondered the 'Everton Question' and, having come up with an attacking answer, they now find the question has been changed on them — it's The Defence.

Mihir Ambardekar
26 Posted 03/09/2023 at 08:46:02
I think Thelwell and Dyche have done very well in this window. We are strapped for cash but we managed to construct deals and sign players. We have made a decent profit and also saved lot of wages. From attacking point of view we should do well. We are creating chances and have now scored 4 goals in 2 matches albeit against inferior opposition. Beto has made a great difference, hope he continues the same and doesn't fizzle out as the season progresses. We have added Chermiti and with DCL available, I hope we score a lot of goals

However, what worries me is the midfield and too much time we dwell on the ball. I do feel we needed to sign a creative midfielder. When we get pressurized by the opposition, we tend to make mistakes. So far we were playing Garner on the wing. Now that we have got McNeil back and Gray / Harrison about to join we are well stocked at wings. Garner can now play in the midfield and could be our answer to creativity. Doucoure / Onana and Gana can just stay behind and break up the play. If Dele discovers his form it will be a dream scenario and maybe next season onwards we will be much more stable. We have had too much bad luck and this chain will break soon. Cheers COYB

Henrik Lyngsie
27 Posted 03/09/2023 at 09:00:25
Considering the mess we are in and the financial straitjacket I agree that this was a good window.

We have a better starting 11 and a better top end of the bench than before the window. And we have a better balance in the squad.

We got rid of some terrible players in Holgate, Iwobi and Maypay.

Very important was that we got rid of some of the players on fantasy wages like Iwobi, Gbamin and Mina. I think the wage structure is very important for the culture in the squad. High earners should be top performers and effective players. There is still a way to go to get a long term healthy wage structure.

Downside is that our squad dept is worrying. We are probably ok with our top 16 players but very vulnerable to many injuries. But given our financial situation again I think it is an OK priority.

I agree regarding the comment on the balance of our midfield. There seems to be no clear roles. In fact it is a bit strange for in Dyches first match against Arsenal I thought our midfield was outstanding and the way Doucoure and Onana pressed high while Guye kept the balance was so effective. I would like to see Garner in the middle. I think he is a really clever footballer.

I am happy that Branthwaite finally became first choice. He looks really good and Tarkowski is rock solid. Young I have always disliked but probably a good all rounder to have. Worry is that both Keane and Godfrey has lost all selfconfidence and you really don’t want to see them on the pitch at the moment. However again considering our financial situation I think it is an OK risk to take.

So overall a very smart transfer window from Thelwell.

Mike Doyle
28 Posted 03/09/2023 at 10:40:43
Bit of a mixed bag really.
Many TW posters thought this window would focus on player exits and fundraising as the primary aim - and that seems to have been the case.
A couple of weeks ago the guy from The Athletic (speaking on Roger’s business podcast- you can find the link onPaul the Esks twitter feed) said that most of the deals we were being rumoured/reported to be involved with were fantasy as we have no money to spend.
With the Beto deal appearing to be a ‘buy now - start paying next year’ arrangement and the other incomings being frees or loans, this report seems accurate.
Attack looks stronger- midfield pretty similar- a defence without Mina & Coleman looks weaker.
The strange one for me is ‘one for the future’ Chermiti. If we did layout money for him, presumably it was covered by the Tom Cannon sale.
The squad still looks weak in several areas so I’m waiting for someone (Sam Hoare?) to identify any possible free agents we might approach.
Jim Bennings
29 Posted 03/09/2023 at 10:57:54
Think if I could have made one move possible it would have been the Conor Coady deal at 4 million.

4 million is nothing these days especially considering centre halves can go on playing at a good level until 34 or 35.

Finally Gbamin has gone off the wage, shame we didn't get some permanent offer for Holgate, who should never be allowed to wear a Blue shirt again (echoing what Saint's fans are saying after one game lol).

Gomes should have been moved on too, clearly another that is a thing of the past, surely someone could have made a 2 million offer from Portugal no?

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 03/09/2023 at 11:19:01
I find it hard to disagree with Stephen (20), It was a decent window up to Thursday night when balancing the books looked to be the main object, it looked as though the attack had been sorted out for this season, possibly will be an improvement on last season.

Then on Friday we sold Iwobi for a good price and a lot of fans were happy with that, but the central midfield and defence were completely ignored, not even any loan players were considered, I mean seriously considered, which left us with a very weak and threadbare squad, we will struggle even if there are no more injuries or suspensions, if there are then I fear the worse.

4/10 Stephen? A bit harsh, I think 4and a half out of ten is fairer!

Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 03/09/2023 at 11:37:23
Half a point Dave! I agree though, it seems it was a case of balancing the books

As expected from you Robert a very well written and articulated piece.

We've managed to reshape the squad and given us much needed forward reinforcements.

The comment on lack of depth and having a thin squad is something I've been banging on about for a few years. Even when we had numbers, once you scratched the surface and went past about 14 players, we were down to the bones.

I don't know what's happened to Godfrey. He seems to have totally lost his confidence. Could he do a better job for us a right back?

Ashley Young is obviously causing a bit of division because of his age, but Gareth Barry didn't do a bad job.

I commented on Michael's match report that Branthwaite looks extremely promising, but let's remember his age and be patient with him.

Maguire. I have to disagree with you. An expensive version of Michael Keane. There's my Michael Keane moment for the week. I'll go to the swear jar.

I too am very disappointed we didn't get Warrington and Mills involved with the first team this season.

I'll be up for the Arsenal match. It's on my Birthday, which is also Neville Southall's.

Jim Bennings
32 Posted 03/09/2023 at 11:40:36

Godfrey was never that good even under Carlo.

He was a fine athlete that had pace to burn but through the injury and apparently his bout of Covid it seems to have taken a large chunk of that athlestism away.

He's not actually a very good footballer at anything else, his reading of the game is poor, his awareness is poor and his passing is poor.

Christopher Timmins
33 Posted 03/09/2023 at 12:21:58

I would take 15th spot at the end of the season if offered it now! Beto is a major plus but we are going to need to have some luck with injuries. The big minus was the sale of the young talent that we could have developed and improved. I don't think Sean is a believer in the theory that you can win things with Kids!

Hopefully, this will be the final year where we will have either a minus or a break even spend and we can start to move things forward next season.

Given the poor quality of the sides that have come up, we should be okay but I am hard pressed to name any other teams that I would be confident of finishing above come the season end, maybe Wolverhampton if pushed but that's about it.

Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 03/09/2023 at 12:26:19
He's certainly lost his way, Jim.

He doesn't look like he's enjoying playing football.

One thing I've always thought is that I don't know what his best position is. He's not comfortable at centre-back.

Christopher, I'll put it out there. 10th and win the League Cup. Why not?

Jim Lloyd
35 Posted 03/09/2023 at 12:42:29
Points out of 10? Depends who for.

I think Thelwell has brought in some, badly needed, good attacking players, who with McNeill and Calvert-Lewin, give us a proper attack.

We haven't see an Everton attack for years, this one looks capable of giving us a chance of staying up. If Gray stays (?), then it would be a shame not to use him in the squad.
Gomes, don't think so, Dele, it's wait and see.

Defence/Midfield? Well it looks like Thelwell has been told "You've got nothing to spend above X amount, including, wages and what we bring in by selling, getting rid".

I go along with the emphasis on attacking goalscoring players. My view it's no good spending whatever money we've got, for wages and transfers, on defenders, if that means we lose any of the players that Thelwell's brought in. The one we all wonder about is Chermiti? I haven't got a clue on that transfer. I think, for who he's brought in/got rid of, a 7.

Overall, I'm fairly optimistic that we can score enough goals, to draw/win matches, that we lost/dre last season. IF we steer clear of injuries, as we've had an awful run of them.

The Chairman? -10. Kenwright brought in an investor/owner who he thought he could twist round his little finger, after refusing the offer from Sheik Mansour to buy the club. Prick!

Moshiri? Spent hundreds of millions that other clubs would have relished but should have got a proper Chairman in years ago. He let Kenwright guide our club to near oblivion. 4 for the money he put in mainly. For getting involved in the recruitment process: 0

Robert Tressell
36 Posted 03/09/2023 at 17:51:02
Surely Dele Alli will never play for us?
Jim Bennings
37 Posted 03/09/2023 at 20:08:39
Dele Alli is highly unlikely to play for Everton again, I agree.

Too many obstacles in the way both with the deal we have him on and the injuries and troubles with Dele's mind himself.

Ashley Roberts
38 Posted 03/09/2023 at 20:41:37
A totally shocking transfer window apart from Beto and Danjuma. We needed a striker a year ago and so Beto was long overdue.

I cannot believe the squad is now significantly lighter than it was previously. The squad is threadbare and, while we may have gotten rid of some deadwood, the fact that we have not signed quality players for the full-back positions and midfield is unbelievable.

The lack of quality within this squad makes me very concerned for the season and, if we get any injuries to our limited quality players, we are doomed. The board need shooting.

Simon Jones
39 Posted 04/09/2023 at 10:53:32
I find all the marks out of ten quite disrespectful to Kevin Thelwell. No-one truly knows the financial constraints he had placed on him and no-one truly understands the murky world of transfer dealings. This all set against the back drop of a club in financial difficulty and further complicated by still trying to fund a multi-million build of a new stadium.

During the transfer window he got fees for young players that in the past we'd have given a three year contract extension to and then sent them all out on loan. He got a significant fee for a much-maligned player with just a year left on their contract, rather than allowing them to leave for nothing (and answering some of the points raised above regarding Walcott, Tosun et al).

There were a number of TWebbers who reckoned we should cash in our best players in order to fund a rebuild, but who is to say that the money generated would have gone into the first team? My point is none of *really* know the financial situation we are operating under. Thelwell has delivered a more balanced squad with some actual goal threat, while retaining the players of genuine quality. I'm sure, like us fans, he'd wish to have more cover in defence and full back, but again, unlike Thelwell, us fans have no idea if we can afford those extra players.

In my opinion Thelwell has likely done exactly what was required balanced against what he was able to do. Judging his individual performance is a waste of time because football is a team game. It's up to Dyche & Thelwell to blend the squad, Dyche to integrate the players and get the tactics right, the fitness team to ensure the players are able to play 90+ whatever minutes required and crucially the players themselves to perform as required by all of the above.

The fact we seem to be behind Brentford, Brighton and a number of other clubs is not down to Kevin Thelwell.

David Currie
40 Posted 04/09/2023 at 22:23:04
I agree with Stephen at 20.

Also, I'm probably the only fan that would have kept hold of Maupay as I think he would have shown more playing in behind Beto or alongside him. I think we have made a mistake letting both him and Cannon leave.

If Beto, Pickford and Branthwaite get injured, we are in big trouble. Surprised we never got another centre-half in. One point from 12 is an awful return and we have already played Fulham, Wolves and Sheffield Utd.

Andrew Bentley
41 Posted 04/09/2023 at 22:52:31
I agree with most of the posts – not a bad window in terms of Danjuma, Harrison and Beto – these 3 improve the team and offer us depth and different options. Young is okay, and was a sensible squad cover option but he's not great (still better than Mykolenko which says a lot about him!!).

But I do think we've cut very deep on the squad numbers and left ourselves exposed at centre-back, full-back, right-wing and if I could have prioritised one signing over any other, it would have been a true No 10 to sit in behind the striker and be the link from midfield to attack. Someone creative with an eye for a pass and who could take set pieces too.

(Is it just me or are our set-piece takers some of the worst in the Premier League? We hardly ever beat the first man on free-kicks and corners; with the size of our team, we should be scoring for fun from set pieces!).

Look at Hamer at the weekend for Sheffield Utd, the likes of Pereira at Fulham, Morgan Gibbs-White at Forest (I'm deliberately not calling out players like Maddison, or Foden as we could never afford or attract them!) and think we have missed a trick by not having a player like this in our squad.

For me, I'll give it a rating of 6 out of 10 – not bad, got some dead wood off the books and got money in for Iwobi which was a good move – but I do think we are at least 2-3 players short in the squad so I can't believe we couldn't get more loans over the line for the season to help us.

Rob Dolby
42 Posted 05/09/2023 at 10:55:58
Is the squad stronger than last season?

Beto is a big strong agile lad at a good age. Finally competition for Calvert-Lewin.

We have 2 loanees to replace Iwobi and Gray.

We got rid of the very poor Maupay and brought in a youngster from Portugal.

A 39-year-old full-back that up to now hasn't performed attacking or defending.

Financially we are in a better position, selling players and reducing the wage bill.

Football-wise, I think we are slightly better off but only slightly with the addition of Beto and emergence of Branthwaite. The rest are pretty much like for like.

We do have the feeling of a rudderless sinking ship. How Many more defeats until Moshiri pulls the trigger again?

We need to get the financial hearing out of the way in October and Moshiri to sell up asap.

Ironically the accountant's accountancy skills have put us up shit creek without a paddle.

I expect us to be fighting relegation with Luton, Burnley and Sheffield Utd – 3 from us 4.

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 05/09/2023 at 11:21:10
Simon (39), I agree with most of your post.

All my marks out of 10 were for Kevin Thelwell; without his input in the transfer window, my marks would have been 0/10 because we have been put in this financial position by Moshiri.

But more so by the borrowing, again, and at huge interest rates which are down to Kenwright — but not out of his pocket.

Steve Brown
44 Posted 05/09/2023 at 12:30:27
From the Athletic.

“Of the five new signings that arrived this summer, two were loans (Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Harrison) and one was a free agent (Ashley Young). Strikers Beto and Youssef Chermiti were signed for significant fees — a guaranteed €25million (£21.4m; $27m) and €12.5m (£10.7m; $13.5m) respectively — but, in both cases, Everton are not due to make a payment until the next fiscal year.

In total, the only fee they will spend on a new signing this year is the €3million owed to Villarreal for Danjuma.

Due to the sale of Iwobi to Fulham for £22million ($27.8m) and the departures of high earners like Yerry Mina and Jean-Phillipe Gbamin, Everton took £40million ($50.5m) off the wage bill and generated £45million ($56.8m) in transfer fees. The decision to terminate Gbamin's contract alone is worth in the region of £3million this year.

Including other departures like those of Richarlison, Anthony Gordon and Moise Kean, Everton stand to receive around £180million ($227.2m) in transfer fees from sales made in the last 12 months.”

Tom Bowers
45 Posted 05/09/2023 at 12:30:45
There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes regarding the players and the club's finances that we are not privy to but we have carte-blanche to form our opinions.

We wonder why certain players are still on the books but apparently will no longer be regular performers due to certain reasons that we just guess about.

Yes, some intel is bona-fide but it does seem that the hierachy have been remiss in their running of the club for many years otherwise they wouldn't be in this position.

The team overall seems to be better equipped to get up the table as Dyche gets his mind set on what he expects but there are still problems to resolve to be competitive every week.

No need to be a rocket scientist to know that the Gunners game will be very difficult despite the fact that we snatched 3 points last season.

They play a great passing game which is a joy to watch and with the likes of Saka, Odergard and Rice in the side they will be formidable, to say the least, but football is a funny game and in the Premier League, any team can get a result on any given day.

Stephen Vincent
46 Posted 05/09/2023 at 12:43:00
My 4/10 was not a knee jerk to our business this transfer window. My concern is that it does very little to improve us long term.

This time next year Harrison will have gone back to Leeds, Danjuma will be back at Villareal, I honestly can't see Young or Coleman lasting beyond this season and can anyone guarantee that we will be able to pay Udinese the €10m that has been agreed. So once again we will be reliant upon DCL's glass legs and our only back up will be an untried Portugese lad since we have seen fit to sell Cannon and Simms mainly to pay off our God awful board. Will Maupay return for a last season?

Unlike most on here I find it hard to castigate Moshiri, OK the guy has been naive in the extreme in the trust he has placed in Kenwright, but he has done exactly what he said he would do and invested heavily.

Kenwright on the other hand has headed up a board that presumably knew all the FFP regulations and what the limits of the club's spending capabilities were and has completely chosen to ignore them. He and Ingles are culpable beyond belief.

The club's accounts for 21/22 spell out the consequences of relegation and the administration that would follow.

As the Esk has pointed out if our borrowing from R&M extends to its full limit we will be paying north of £22m pa in interest alone and the loan is secured on the whole of The Old Lady, Finch Farm and basically anything that isn't nailed down.

Kenwright out NOW.

Ajay Gopal
47 Posted 05/09/2023 at 13:06:26
Thanks for this article, Robert, really enjoyable reading, and I mostly agree with your rating, but would drop your rating from an 8 to a 7. Also, I think what you meant was: "In fact, it’s only us, Brighton and Wolves with a NEGATIVE net spend coming out of the window."

By my count, 13 players have exited Everton this summer - Nkounkou, Gbamin, Mina, Davies, Holgate, Cannon, Isaac Price, Townsend, Begovic, Simms, Ishe Samuels-Smith, Iwobi and Maupay. I also believe we received the Moise Kean money and some performance related John Stones money.

And, we got in 5 players - Young, Danjuma, Beto, Harrison, Chermiti. In addition, Dyche seems to be relying on Dobbin and Branthwaite to play major roles this season.

I also believe that Dyche is trying to get Alli back in the squad and therefore, 10 million may be kept aside for that possibility. Dyche - even without being asked in the last presser - said that Alli is training on the grass. I also noticed that Alli was a keep observer during our 1st game against Fulham, and he 'looked' connected and eager.

Also, on the Demarai Gray front, I fully expect Dyche and Gray to bury the hatchet and work professionally with each other. After all, if Gnonto - after downing tools and bad mouthing his club - can be reintegrated in the Leeds squad, no reason why Gary cannot. Of course, if he shows the right attitude and professional approach.

I am really worried about:

The Goal Keepers scenario - we should have got in a decent PL experienced backup for Pickford. I would be very, very nervous if Virginia were to be called up for action - not because I think he is a bad goalkeeper (he actually did very well against Man City a couple of seasons ago), but because he has hardly played any top level football in ages.
The Centre Back scenario - I have zero confidence in Godfrey, in fact, he should have been got rid of in the transfer window. So, essentially we have 3 CBs - Branthwaite, Tarkowski and Keane. Huge gamble by Dyche & Thelwell, in my opinion, unless we are able to sign some out of contract CB.

The squad:

Centre Forwards: Calvert-Lewin, Beto, Chermiti
Attackers: Danjuma, McNeil, Harrison, Dobbin, Gray (?), Alli (?)
Midfielders: Gana, Onana, Doucoure, Garner, Gomes (?), Onyango (?)
Centre Backs: Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Keane, Godfrey (?)
Full Backs: Young, Mykolenko, Patterson, Coleman
Goal Keepers: Pickford, Virginia

Let us pray that the injury gods are kind to us this season.

Barry Hesketh
48 Posted 05/09/2023 at 13:07:02
Stephen @46
I'm not giving Moshiri a free-pass, despite the emergence of a new stadium. Anybody who served on Everton's board in the past seven years and anybody who was in a position to 'sound the alarm' is culpable for the mess that we find the club in. It's going to take years to fix, and it may not be fixable unless there is a nation state ready to buy the club, lock, stock and barrel.
Michael Lynch
49 Posted 05/09/2023 at 13:27:12
In the olden days when I were a lad this squad would be good enough for mid-table. Back then, you would expect to use no more than 14 or 15 players in the entire season,. with any minor injuries being sorted by a regular injection to keep the player going.

There was only one sub back then of course, but nevertheless nobody really had massive depth in their squad.

If we don't get any injuries or drops in form, we could still finish bottom half but clear of relegation. For once, we look relatively strong up front - assuming we get DCL and Harrison fit at some point. Midfield is massively undercooked though - come the African Nations we'll probably be starting Gomes - and defensively we look very weak, with two shaky full backs and one geriatric, and only two half decent centre backs.

But Branthwaite is indeed like a new signing, and he looked marvelous second half against Sheff U. Of course we will have to be forgiving of youthful errors, but he looks the real deal long term.

Beto might be the centre forward we've lacked since Lukaku, and Danjuma is the reincarnation of Mirallas - talanted but selfish.

The main problem is it's not 1985. It's not even 2015. Every club in the league has strength in depth - just look at Forest. As it is, I can only see the three promoted teams and possibly Wolves being in the mix with us.

Three of five go down. Best we can hope for is 16th.

Robert Tressell
50 Posted 05/09/2023 at 13:59:44
The state of the squad now and into the future as a result of this window are entirely down to finances.

Yes, there's been an element of short termism.

Yes, the squad is still thin.

Yes, we're still reliant on poor or developing or inconsistent players.

I don't believe Thelwell could realistically have done much more in the circumstances and he could most certainly have done plenty worse.

As for Cannon, I hope he does well but I doubt we'll see this as a particularly significant departure once a bit of dust has settled.

As for Alli, I'd be extremely surprised if he ever plays Premier League football again for us or anyone else. It's very sad but as of now, I expect his best chance is a short-term loan in January to a club like Luton if they'd have him.

Terry Downes
51 Posted 05/09/2023 at 14:16:01
One of the strangest things for me was that we were offering or allegedly offering in the region of £25M for Gnonto and the saga just rolled on and on but, in the meantime, Hudson-Odoi was available for £3M??

Why on earth would we go to £25M for Gnonto when we could've tried Hudson-Odoi for £3M? Very baffling to me.

Stephen Vincent
52 Posted 05/09/2023 at 15:23:55
Not strange at all Terry, Gnonto was just a smoke screen and Hudson Odoi was beyond our means.
Michael Lynch
53 Posted 05/09/2023 at 17:08:06
I think we probably did try to get Gnonto, but Leeds laughed in our faces at the terms we offered. We might even have offered a figure they would have considered, but told them we would pay a tenner up front, and the rest on the drip over the next half century or something.

Leeds didn't want to lose Gnonto anyway, but they definitely wouldn't have lost him to us on a promise of future payments.

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