Now that the dust is settling after the chaos of the transfer window and deadline day, we got the Royal Blue Mersey crew to share how they think Everton did and what to look forward to.
1. Overall verdict on the transfer window
2. Best completed signing by Everton
3. Biggest opportunity missed by Everton
1) For me, it’s tough to be anything but happy with the window as a whole. The club is much stronger than it was at the end of last season. Sure, deadline day was anticlimactic, but none of the players the team was heavily linked to on Wednesday were game-changers. At the end of the day, the team added a new manager and a director of football in addition to five senior-level pieces that will all contribute to varying degrees. John Stones is gone, which stinks, but he wanted to go. More importantly, Romelu Lukaku is staying put. This was a good window and has me confident of Everton’s ability to challenge for a spot in Europe.
2) Does Ronald Koeman count? He should prove to be more important than any one player. You can already see the difference so far this season. However, if we are staying between the lines, the pick has to be Idrissa Gueye. He intercepts and wins back so many balls for Everton, sending them on the counter. Gareth Barry looks like a different player (in a good way) with Gueye next to him. And the defense seems less strained with him shielding the back line a bit. How was this guy only £7 million?
3) The often talked about “£100 million war chest” was never really touched. What happened to it? I don’t expect Everton to spend frivolously. And you can’t force a team to sell you a player, but I did hope to see that one, big-name signing and it never took place. Juan Mata? Julian Draxler? Maybe these were always unrealistic or even impossible options, but that doesn’t make me any less disappointed on that front. One marquee transfer could have catapulted this team to the level we are all hoping for.
1) I think you have to be at least somewhat pleased. The big thing to keep in mind is that this was year one of the project--new owner, new manger, new director of football. The goal here was to address needs, don't let the best talent leave (unless the bid is off the charts), and keep the team competitive. In that regard, I think this window was fine. Gueye will probably pan out well, Bolasie I'm not sure of at this point, Williams is fine now but he's contracted until he's almost 35 which doesn't seem very smart. Valencia is fine for depth I guess. Lukaku is still here though and you have to say that's a huge victory. I can't emphasize that enough. We're building something here, or at least trying.
2) Idrissa Gueye for £7.1 million is the kind of move a smart team makes: league-adjusted, reaching peak age, good price, fills a need. In so many ways it is the opposite of spending £30 million on Sissoko or 40 on Brahimi. The team is better with him in it, period. So I'm pleased with that one.
3) It would have been nice to make some more younger/depth signings...the squad seems a little thin down the spine (GK/DM/CM/CAM). Valencia addressed that at the forward position but this still looks like an upper-mid-table team to me. A true top class Gareth Barry replacement to play alongside Gueye would have really taken the cake, and with Schneiderlin not getting into Mourinho's team I started dreaming a bit. Barry looks great now but truth is he's old as dirt and will break down as the season wears on.
1) Expecting huge moves on the last day is always tough even for the biggest teams. You already saw teams with Champions League qualification make their big moves early not wanting to waste the chance by missing the deadline. That said another two solid additions yesterday would have made things feel a bit better. I think now while we have added it's still a large portion of the Roberto Martinez team and hoping that a manager switch is enough to close the leaky defense while still keeping the offense.
2) I don't think there is any debate here. You could change the cost to £15 million and I would still say Idrissa Gana Gueye by a long shot. He's already got a 5 minute highlight reel of Everton plays and his ability to control the midfield is staggering. His interceptions and poke tackles have been so well timed and he lacks the recklessness that Gareth Barry shows. If we're going to compete for European spots then I have a feeling Gueye is going to be a big part of that change.
3) Signing a big name in his prime that stamps this new ownership and management as in it to win. Sure I think we're going to be better, but all we're left with today is the feeling we got snubbed by so many players including Moussa Sissoko, which is just nonsense. We needed a Axel Witsel, Juan Mata or similar name and valuation to say this team is serious. Just one of those signings changes the mentality of the team and fans in a way that even just holding onto Romelu Lukaku does not.
1) I'm not sure how you can view the window as a whole as anything but a success. Smart teams don't leave their important business to be done on deadline day, because we saw what can happen in those last minute deals yesterday. In this window, Everton was a smart team: they signed a winger, central midfielder, central defender, and goalkeeper all well before deadline day. Two of those players, Gueye and Stekelenburg, you could easily argue have been Everton's best two players in the opening month of the season. The only major deadline day move from the Toffees was a bit underwhelming in Enner Valencia, but the team needed depth at striker and their top target fell through, making it a reasonable if unexciting move. Overall, the window was an absolute success.
2) Idrissa Gana Gueye is without a doubt the team's best signing from this window. He's controlled the midfield in every match he's played, making Gareth Barry look 5 years younger in the process. We saw what N'Golo Kante did for Leicester City in a similar role last season -- and he's now the engine that drives Chelsea. Gueye isn't quite that talented -- he isn't going to drive Everton to a title like Kante did for Leicester, and I certainly hope he won't be leaving us for a bigger club at the end of the season! But, his ability to break plays up, spring counters, and cover seemingly endless ground will serve Everton very well.
3) Losing out on Manolo Gabbiadini was disappointing, especially considering that it seemed all parties seemed keen on a move until Napoli couldn't find a replacement for the player. He's younger than Valencia, probably already more talented than Valencia, and can play anywhere across the attacking positions. That being said, I think missing out on him is a much bigger miss than Sissoko, who is a good not great player who showed his true colors in yesterday's mess. Also, to dwell on not bringing in players like Joe Hart or Juan Mata, who we never appeared to be really in for, is silly and a waste of energy.
1) Based on past Everton transfer windows, I'd consider this one to be a success. However, unlike past windows, the club has a new majority shareholder in Farhad Moshiri and an ambitious new manager in Ronald Koeman. Both seemingly promised lots of major signings that would help the Toffees push towards the top of the table. While Everton permanently brought in some very solid players in Bolasie, Gueye, Williams and Stekelenburg; I'm still not seeing that splash player. Gueye has looked great so far and Stekelenburg has been surprisingly solid. But I believe that most fans thought that we were going to land a bigger fish, say like Joe Hart. I'm still on the fence about the Valencia loan but if he works out, I'm glad that the buy option is in there. I think everyone's hope is that these most of these players will be immediate contributors and will stick around for a while.
On the outbound side of things, Stones is finally gone. I'm fine with that. We fleeced City for as much as we could get and dropped a player that didn't want to be with the club. I would have liked to have brought in a another defender aside from Williams, but there's always the next window.
2) To date, that has to be Idrissa Gueye. The 26 year-old has stepped in and played well for Everton. He's definitely had his detractors but so far things are looking up. He's played the ball very well and has limited his mental errors with great passes to his teammates. He is one of the main reasons that the Blues remain undefeated in the early season.
3) There were quite a few missed opportunities this window. The club needed to bring in another goalkeeper to compete with Stekelenburg since Joes seems to be out of the picture, they needed depth at most positions and they needed one or two more solid first team players. The biggest miss I would call it is not being able to seal the deal with transactions that were reportedly on the verge of going through.
Everton were heavily linked with the likes of Witsel, Gabbiadini, Brahimi and Sissoko and they were either snubbed or the deals fell apart. I understand that not playing in Europe is hurting the Blues but it's not like Everton is some small upstart club out of nowhere. It's difficult to accept that we couldn't complete some transfers that would have had a major impact this season. I'm not going to fault the club too much since Koeman and Steve Walsh are still relatively new and did not have a lot of time to assess the squad and cast a wide net for transfer targets.
1) The transfer window was highly successful for us. We added in three key positions and with solid signings to boot. I refuse to be disappointed that the club didn't spend vast fortunes on average players on deadline day. Frankly, I'd rather see Tom Davies developed that have someone like Sissoko in the team anyway.
2) While Gueye has been a revelation, I think Ashley Williams is a super buy for the price we got him. He'll add defensive nous and leadership to a team sorely lacking in both.
3) Probably Joe Hart. We still need a goalkeeper and he's top class, despite what Pep Guardiola may think. Ronald Koeman wasn't interested though and that's good enough for me.
1) I think this was a fantastic transfer window. We buttoned up several areas of concern in addition to adding several players who are going to have a positive impact immediately. I think that fans will always feel like the team could have done more. But this was the first transfer window under Moshiri and it was a good sign of things to come.
2) Has to be Geuye. For the price we paid, I'm hard pressed to pick another player. Williams was a good signing and Bolasie has the potential to be a hit with the team, but Gueye has been so solid thus far and has added an extra dimension to the defensive midfield position.
3) Probably goalkeeper, but I'm glad we didn't jump into a bad move. Joe Hart would've have never succeeded for the reported price we were rumored to be paying. He could've been a very solid keeper for us, but I think it's foolish to pay a high fee for a keeper. I think Steklenberg can see us through at least until winter and we can re-evaluate the position then.
Weigh in with your opinions as well in the comments below, we’d like to hear what your thoughts are on Everton’s transfer window.
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