When I went to the twitter-verse to solicit questions for this weeks mailbag, the answer I received was... well.... resounding silence.
What was going on?
Is there a lack of interest in Toffees offseason coverage?
Are fans quickly growing tired of my hilarious GIFs and irrelevant movie references?
Did I include Adam Braun in too many mailbags?
The questions raced through my head, my confidence waned, and I debated my self-worth.
However, after thinking on it for a few hours, and by the time one courageous fan finally DID respond, I had finally realized what was going on!!
The reason for the collective silence from the Goodison faithful wasn’t for any of the reasons listed above. I had just forgotten what time of year it is.
You see, I didn’t get a response because Toffees fans everywhere had begun their annual rite of passage.
You see, as soon as the season end, Toffee fans begin holding their breaths, waiting for the transfer window to open, and bring with it the inevitable disappointment of negotiations fumbled and targets missed.
Add in the fact that this feels like the first true summer window for the Moshiri money to make an impact, and Everton fans are fighting the urge to actually have EXPECTATIONS for a succesful summer window.
This of course is a dangerous direction to go, as hopes for a Gabbiadini-level player can quickly give way to a harsh reality of a Calvert-Lewin haul.
(Not hating on DCL...he is going to be a very good player....eventually)
So as we wait for Everton to (hopefully) kick into gear, we can join the rest of the league as we watch Manchester City begin to buy players like a FIFA Ultimate Team teenager with his parents’ credit card.
Speaking of money...there was an interesting back and forth about the cost of center backs, namely one Harry Maguire of Hull.
@Sean_Lunt In a vacuum, yeah. But in reality if there isn't another player close to his ability you can get, you might have to suck it up and pay up— Adam Braun (@abraun_15) May 28, 2017
First off, Sean is absolutely correct.
The thought that Harry Maguire is worth £22m is absolute nonsense. I mean N’golo Kante was stolen from Leicester by Chelsea for only £8 million more!!
(I would pay a lot of money to find out how Chelsea got that deal done.)
Then again, Adam is also 100 percent correct. If Maguire is the level player we are aiming for (he is, even if he’s within the ‘low end’ of our range) then we have to pay up.
That got me to thinking.......
Why has the cost of a Maguire-level center-back sky rocketed in the past few seasons?
I know....there is now a Premier League tax as every team knows a team in England’s top tier has money (they have) to spend, but beyond that factor, it appears as though the value of center-backs has ballooned.
Well, my theory is that a center-back is becoming much like a quality quarterback in football, or Hugh Grant in a Rom-Com, without them you just aren’t going to be very successful.
In an ever-expanding fixture list, there are only two positions where you can play the same players without over extending their legs too much.
It’s not that your center-backs play EVERY match, but they can be the consistent influence as the wide and attacking players change over.
Have a mid-week game in Spain then back home hosting West Brom?
Keep your center-backs and keeper for consistency, and change the other pieces as necessary.
(This point also drives home the Toffees DESPERATE need for reliable centerbacks and a QUALITY KEEPER, whatever the cost!)
Jordan Pickford for the full £30 million asking price? Done! We have Moshiri!
Sunderland have rejected an £8m bid from Everton for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. (Source: Liverpool Echo) pic.twitter.com/IkVCTCjBK8— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) May 31, 2017
So Everton & Sunderland are only £22m apart on Pickford then— Everton Aren't We (@EvertonArentWe) May 31, 2017
Report on Merseyside Everton had an offer £8m bid for Pickford rejected by #safc. First I've heard of it. More of an insult than a bid— James Hunter (@JHunterChron) May 31, 2017
Bournemouth agree 15 mil for Begovic whilst Everton made an 8 mil bid for Pickford!! It's going to be a long summer...— Gareth Jones (@photogareth) May 31, 2017
Oh look...EVERYONE is getting in on mocking the Toffees...great start to the window...
Everton offering £8 million for Jordan Pickford. Like playing Football Manager against your mate and making stupid bids just to annoy him.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) May 31, 2017
BREAKING: Everton have bid £8M for Jordan Pickford. Here's live scenes of Sunderland reacting to the offer: pic.twitter.com/9hiKnhLmUZ— Coral (@Coral) May 31, 2017
Perhaps an explanation?? PERHAPS?!?!?!?!
In fairness to Sunderland, if Everton's bid for Pickford actually was £8m they'd have every right to think there was a fault on the line. https://t.co/SysXX6Bwax— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) May 31, 2017
Ok.....well for now I’ll assume the bid was 18 million and keep my hopes high....
Ok...back on topic.....
With every Premier League match competitive, and every European match life or death, there is little room for error.
Your choice is to either pay up for a known league product (Maguire), or go searching Europe for a cheaper option you have confidence can perform.
With Koeman’s obvious eye for the position, I expect the Toffees to have both high-priced and unknown options coming through the door at the center-back position.
Having a center-back who you know can perform week in and week out in the league while coping with the physical and mental demands of all of the other competitions, your squad is at a HUGE advantage.
I know that I am not breaking new ground here, but I also believe we are seeing the beginning of a trend where attacking players will be considered increasingly interchangeable and the focus each window will be on signing the next big center-back.
With all that being said, I will go back to holding my breath along with every other Toffee and hope we see Maguire, or another center-back, come through Goodison any day now.
Onto your question!!
I’ll be honest....I have no idea what to think about this situation anymore.
I mean, I’m still waiting for a statement...it’s only been 9 days!!
My gut feeling is that Ross is walking a fine line between negotiating for a raise and forcing the Toffees’ hand into selling him.
I don’t think he wants to leave, but I can imagine he also feels like he has the best chance to dictate his own situation now.
It’s crazy to think because of all of the matches he’s played, but Mr. Barkley can still play the “he’s still young” card to explain away an perceived lack of under performance.
I know, I know it’s nuts, but unless he improves at a steady pace the next few seasons, you could argue that this is going to be the highest price he may ever go for.
So if you are Koeman, and not 100% convinced Barkley can be a lynchpin in a Champions League team (he’s not), why not flip Ross for someone like Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is essentially a more polished version of Barkley, while you still can?
I don’t know how this is going to play out, but unless the club is able to quickly secure and announce the signing of a replacement player like Sigurdsson, selling Barkley has bad decision written all over it.
I am a Koeman believer though, so whatever happens I am sure it won’t come as any surprise to the Dutchman and he will be well prepared to keep the squad moving forward.
But seriously....pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease stay Ross!!
From your friendly Toffees supporters.
Window is open
Toffees wait with bated breath
Who will join the Blues?
Note: Rom-o-meter only improves because he hasn’t been sold yet. YET.