For Everton fans, transfer deadline day over the last few years has been an easy one to miss. With no money to spend, no players being brought in and no one leaving, fans have treated the day as any other and gone about their own business.
This year though Everton happened to be playing at Goodison Park on the day of the deadline, against Premiership leaders Manchester City no less. While we all know that the day itself tends to be tumultuous and deals are being brokered all the way to last second, we never really expected the Toffees to be involved in any significant wheeling and dealing. But by the time the clock struck 11pm at Goodison, the entire psyche of the club seemed to have undergone a transformation from just twenty-four hours previously.
More after the jump.
As the day dawned, Royal Blue Mersey's Twitter timeline was already abuzz with transfer rumors, including some involving Everton - a transfer fee had already been agreed with Glasgow Rangers for striker Nikica Jelavic, defender Kostas Manolas was coming over from Greece for depth, Italian winger Alessio Cerci was being targeted, and Louis Saha was being asked about (gasp!).
And as the day progressed and Saha's move to Tottenham was being confirmed, more rumors started surfacing that Spurs outcast Steven Pienaar could be making a shock return to Goodison. Junior Hoilett and possibly Hugo Rodallega were also names being mentioned by this time as possible pickups. Talk was also circulating that depending on Jelavic's fee, there might not be more money to spend so whoever came in would be on loans.
Then there was the small matter of a game that had to be played, in which Everton continued their recent domination of visitors Manchester City, beating them 1-0 to the utter befuddlement of coach Roberto Mancini for an eighth win in ten fixtures. That was easily the loudest we have heard Goodison Park as the crowd was in full voice throughout the nerve-wracking last twenty or so minutes, every clearance being greeted with a cheer and every block with a roar.
When all was said and done, Everton had gained Nikica Jelavic (#7) and Steven Pienaar (#22), while Louis Saha has left the club. Including Landon Donovan's two-month loan, bringing in Darron Gibson and selling Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, it all summed up to a quite hectic yet severely budgetarily-limited transfer window orchestrated by David Moyes, and kindly sponsored by the Department for Work & Pensions of Her Majesty's Government.
To the new (and returning) players, we welcome them with a ringing cheer of COYB! while to those making their exit, we thank them for their time here and wish them well, except when playing against us, of course!
Landon Donovan - Everton fans haven't forgotten the energy he brought to the squad in his last loan stint at Merseyside in 2010. While he hasn't been as effective as his previous run at the club, he has made the right wing spot his own, and has consistently been assisting on goals since his arrival, including the winner on Tuesday. He does tend to lose the ball easily, but makes it a point to chase the player, back to his own half if needed.
Darron Gibson - The midfielder was sidelined from Sir Alex Ferguson's squad at Manchester United after a series of unconvincing displays. The United fans made him the scapegoat for their Champions' League exit in April 2011, and spammed him off Twitter in a matter of hours - he'll find the Blues' fans a much more hospitable crowd after that lot. He has tended to drift in and out of games but possesses a fierce shot that the sky-blue half of Manchester will not be forgetting in a hurry.
Steven Pienaar - Another player that the fans shouldn't have forgotten yet. Leighton Baines and Pienaar formed one of the most fearsome left-wing pairings in the Premiership, blessed with guile, speed and vision. This seems like a low risk - high potential reward move for the Toffees, lest we forget Pienaar had a brutal time in the beginning of the 2010-11 season. The quicker he settles into the groove the better the chances for Everton to push for a spot in the Europa League.
Nikica Jelavic - The Croat striker has hit the back of the net with regularity while at Glasgow Rangers, to the tune of 36 goals in 55 appearances. However, he will quickly find that Premiership defences are built of better stuff than those he has faced in the Scottish Premier League. As this highlight reel from last season shows, he does pose an aerial threat, possesses a poacher's eye for goal, is well-versed with taking free-kicks and manages to get to the ball when it's played in to him in and around the penalty box, all of which bode well for his future here.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov - Billy, as he came to be known in his time at Merseyside, was always full of potential that ended up never being realized (8 goals, 59 games). As frustrating as it was watching his performances, it must have been equally frustrating for him to play at a club that never practiced the free-flowing football that he had hoped to be part of. To be fair, when given the opportunity to claim a spot in the starting XI after Pienaar's departure, he did not step up. He even fired in a parting shot at Moyes while leaving, claiming that Spartak Moscow's "attacking, entertaining football" was what drew him to choose to leave. We'll see how he fares back home.
Louis Saha - Indeed, uneasy is the head that wears the crown. The man dubbed as the 'King' never got quite comfortable with the mantle placed upon him as lead striker, and missed games due to injuries played a big part too (27 goals, 97 games). This season more than any other he epitomizedstruggles in front of goal, with only one all season long in the Premiership. His paucity with scoring can be quite inexplicable considering that he has excellent vision and oozes talent. One feels he will have more luck at a club where he is part of a striking force with better service, as opposed to the figurehead of the 4-5-1 that Moyes has often played him in.