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Toffees Mailbag: Tosun, Vlasic, Baines and the Everton financial statement

Answering all of your relevant, and irreverent, Everton questions

Well folks, it looks like Everton are jumping right into the transfer window with two feet this winter, so why not celebrate with a song!

(Sung to the tune of Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden)


Won’t you come

And bag a bunch of goals


Won’t you come

And bag a bunch of goals


Won’t you bag

a bunch of goals



Won’t you bag

a bunch of goals


Ok, I’ll be straight-forward that wasn’t my first choice, but I couldn’t steal this wonderful idea:

Anyways, for all the consternation among some Everton fans (many of whom know no other way it seems), I believe Everton have made a prudent, logical investment in their purchase of Tosun.

I’m not going to guarantee the (former) Besiktas striker is going to light up the league from day one, but I do believe that he is exactly the type of player who COULD burst onto the scene and establish himself as a Premier League striker.

While many fans would like to see the toffees bring in a £60 million dollar ‘proven’ striker, there are simply too many holes throughout the team to justify bringing in a player of that cost, assuming it would prevent upgrading at other positions (more on that later).

I’m excited to welcome a top-level talent to the team and think Tosun will be a ray of light in an otherwise dark season in the attack.

Lastly, it appears that Tosun not only knows how to score (including this one yesterday in his ‘farewell’ match)

He also works hard on and off the field to earn the love and respect of the notoriously tough Turkish fans, who sent him off yesterday with a rousing ovation:

The next time Tosun puts on a jersey it will be that of the Toffees, and I for one think he will prove to be a quality signing for the present AND the future.

So with that out of the way.....

To your questions!!

For all of the discussion about lack of goal-scoring under Sam Allardyce, often attributed to both the attacking roster and the managers tactical deficiencies, there is something to be said for Big Sam being hamstrung by his current personnel choices.

It’s not that Big Sam is looking to bring tiki-taka to Goodison (so far it’s been more like smashy-grabby) but without a creative center forward (I love DCL but he is still a young man) and a set of center backs low and confidence and full of mistakes, Sam had nothing else to do but go to his trusty relegation-avoidance emergency kit.

Now that the team has stabilized in both on the field and in the table performance, it is up to Sam to try and progress the team forward.

The addition to the front line has been made, but that is only half of the issue. With a solid midfield rapidly improving in form (THIS is the Morgan Schneiderlin that Everton forked over £25 million for) the back line seems to be the next logical place to improve, for as you said the upgrades will not only be felt in the defensive third, but in the attacking third as well.

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League
Morgan Schneiderlin’s uptick in form has correlated with the Toffees climb up the table
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

While Jon Joe Kenny has steadily improved since picking up the right back job full-time (at least until Seamus Coleman returns), the loss of Leighton Baines, and failure to sign the left-sided defender Ronald Koeman publicly yearned for in the summer, has left Cuco Martina to man the left back position.

While the former Southampton man has done an admiral job (especially the past few weeks), he is naturally a right back and is thus limited in his attacking abilities.

(On a side note I have appreciated Martina’s attempts to cross with his weak foot. His left-footed efforts lack pace but the accuracy is impressive)

This has a chain reaction as Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and the rest of the midfielders are forced to adjust their games slightly to create space/ cover for Martina.

Additionally, with Ashley Williams, Mason Holgate and the rest of the Everton center backs still recovering their form, Allardyce has leaned on his direct, clear the ball methods even more than usual.

Presumably the clean sheets being kept have increased the confidence of everyone involved, so the build up from the back should increase, but the addition of a natural left back (and/or left center back) will help to balance the team and allow for the midfield to rotate more naturally and cut down on the emergency defending.

Withe Toffees starting off the January window showing intent and expedience, I can only hope back line reinforcements will arrive shortly after Cenk Tosun joins Everton.

Like the questioner said, the improvement will be felt not only in the back line, but will resonate throughout the entire team.

Thank you!!

For a while there I was starting to wonder if anyone would write to to ask regarding the whereabouts of Nikola Vlasic, the Croatian midfielder who burst onto the scene for the Toffees during a time of the season when the rest of the team was only capable of bursting into a dumpster fire.

Showing strength, resiliency and a knack for creating (and finishing) goals, it was presumed Vlasic would be given a chance by any future Toffees manager.

Seeing as the Croatian firecracker had adapted seamlessly to the epic (mythical?) ‘Premier League physicality’ AND had shown qualities on the ball that were are sorely lacking, it is baffling he has been nothing more than a sporadic participant for the Toffees.

One issue could be that much like Ross Barkley (and basically every talented England midfielder for the last decade), Vlasic doesn’t have a set position.

He has been played as a winger and as a hybrid #8/ #10 at times, and though Ronald Koeman expressed an expectation that the Croation would mature into a member of the spine of the team as a #10, Vlasic has yet to find a niche in the lineup since Koeman’s departure.

For fun, let’s compare Vlasic’s performance to two players Vlasic could/ should be competing with for playing time depending on how the manager deploys him.

In the league, Vlasic has shown similar qualities in possession as Davies, as well as contributing equally in defense. (Yes these are just stats, but I’m making an argument so stick with me).

When compared to Mirallas (who is probably on the way out the door) he has proven to be far more dangerous on a consistent basis.

The story is the same in the Europa League:

I am firmly in the pro-Vlasic camp and hope that Big Sam will see his way to including him in the side.

Hopefully by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around Allardyce will have warmed to Vlasic and will extend an olive branch of sorts:

I finished it!

I jest...I jest....

In case you are unaware of the book Baines said he was reading a few summers ago, here is a BRIEF rundown:

  • It’s 1,079 pages long
  • It involves a death-inducing movie about wheelchair assassins, drug-addicts, an elite tennis academy and the family that runs it.
  • Those characters are also real people. (?)
  • It’s so lengthy it’s considered an encyclopedic novel.

So, as to whether or not Baines, the long-serving and currently hobbled Toffees left back, has read the book, I would go with......

Why am I so exuberantly confident that Baines, a player known for being notoriously quiet (and poorly coifed, sorry LB but I can’t lie)???

Because slap a festive vest and lanyard on that guy and he is every librarian I ever had in school!

However, because LB is such a badass, I tend to think of him more this way:

Here’s to hoping LB gets back to full-strength sooner rather than later!

Late-stage capitalism involves a reorganization of priorities between employers, stock holders, and the general public.

In a world where almost all information feels accessible, whether voluntary or not, the ability of companies, sports teams, and anyone else with the financial capital to hold clout over employers and revenue streams while simultaneously refusing to be candid with said workers is nothing short of nefarious.

I am a committed and passionate Everton supporter who takes great pride in the work the club does in the community on a more than standard basis.

Players like Seamus Coleman foster a spirit of togetherness and family with their on field performances and their off-field humility and recognition of the fundamental importance that fans play.

I can only hope as the club manuvers into new financial territory that the connection the fans feel with the players can be felt about the club as a whole.

The first step the club could take would to be more transparent with the money they spend.

While I enjoy reading @theesk

I would much prefer to have the club lay out (in basic language) the ways in which they are spending, and how it effects the long-term future of the club.

Let’s hope the people that make the big decisions for the Toffees feel the same way.

Toffee Tunes


Hide in the Ocean

While I admittedly only came across Hawai a few months ago myself, they are quickly rising up the list of my favorite bands.

Hide in the Ocean is only five songs, but each is uniquely engaging and interesting.

Slow drums and smooth vocals get mixed in with songs that bang the bass a little harder and get you up and moving.

I hope you get as much joy out of this album as you have out of the Toffees moving up the table!

Favorite Tune: I’m Not Dead