This past weekend I decided it would be a good idea to dive into the head of Everton fans and look at both the reasons that would lead to both the BEST and WORST possible outcomes of the Wayne Rooney situation.
Of course a lot of people called me names and ridiculed my reasons (they are not my own beliefs, more on that later), but I think they didn’t appreciate the exercise I was undertaking.
I struggled with how to explain what I was saying.
That was until this tweet showed up.
where's the 'probably somewhere in the middle all things considered view'?— Paul Riley (@footballfactman) July 18, 2017
Well played Paul Riley... well played.
His question is a valid one though, and serves the same purpose my articles did (or at least were intended to): to make fans realize that there are a number of valid arguments as to why Rooney (or any player for that matter) will fail OR succeed.
It’s just a matter of the picture you WANT to paint that determines how you view Rooney’s arrival.
Don’t like the idea of the 32 year old forward returning?
You will read the ‘FAIL’ column and most or all of the points were the ones you have been echoing to your friends.
Think Rooney will have a huge impact?
Well you probably read the ‘SUCCEED’ column and felt those points resonated more strongly because you had been echoing them since Rooney’s arrival became imminent in 2015.
So where DOES the truth lie?
Who knows really?
What Paul is asking for though, is a column that combines and narrows the lists contained with the two articles and come up with what is a more realistic picture of Rooney’s output his first season back at Goodison.
In other words, what will MOST LIKELY happen.
So let’s do it.
First, a glance at the two lists:
Now, if I had the choose the five factors based both on their likelihood to happen as well as their chances of being most likely to be cited for their impact on his upcoming season they would be:
I think the narrative of the season will be along the lines of:
In spite of Rooney’s lack of pace limiting his ability to score even more goals, and the gut wrenching decision by Gareth Southgate to not include him moving forward, Wayne Rooney repaid Ronald Koeman’s guts and guile by tapping into his natural scoring abilities to have a successful first season at home.
I think that is how it’s really going to happen.
So why no separate article Paul?
Well frankly, even though it is what most people are thinking, no one wants to read it. Preseason athletics is the only time people seem to loathe confirmation bias and choose instead to swim in the crystal clear waters of optimism and sulk quietly in the corners of pessimism, all depending on how they WANT it to go.
It’s not about clicks, (heck I don’t even keep more job or profit off them!) it’s about trying to take the debates that are happening everywhere and rearrange them into extreme compilations of evidence skewed toward an argument in order to make readers think twice before hemming and hawing with the same old arguments compiled to make themselves right in the moment, only to be rearranged based on the goings on in the world or just their own feelings.
Either way, Paul was right.
I should have offered an extended look at a balanced outcome in which both some of our wildest dreams and deepest fears about Rooney come true.
I don’t know about you, but I’m betting on the guy with the most goals in the league.
You know how big of a deal Rooney is??
He auctions off body contact.
For a lot of money.
Alright...enough about Wayne!
To your questions!
What should the club do with Kieran Dowell this season? Should he be kept around to fight for his spot and provide cover, or go out on loan?— Norman R Groves (@NormanGroves) July 18, 2017
Kieran Dowell has had quite the year so far.
Hoisting the PL2 trophy with the U23 team then (along with half the Everton squad) helped lead England’s U-20 team to the World Cup in South Korea.
Now heading into the Premier League season, we are all interested in seeing what Koeman chooses to do with the talented young midfielder.
In the first friendly, Dowell played in the second half and hit the cross bar before providing this sweet finish:
The classy turn and the spectacular finish give us an idea of the talents Dowell possesses.
With his current form for club and country my first instinct would to be to think Koeman will give him a run, but the fact the Dutchman never utilized him late last season gives me hesitation.
Dowell is a bit of a #10 by trade, but finds himself in a jam packed position.
With Davy Klaassen and another attacking center mid (Gylfi?) on the way, playing time will be sparse.
I would love to see another academy player break straight through, but in this case I think the best thing would be for him to go on loan in the Championship or POSSIBLY a nwely promoted side and fight for playing time on a more regular basis.
I am sure teams would love to have him, especially given his recent multiple team successes, and then Koeman will have a bigger sample from which to pull from and make his decision.
Why do our merchandising partners consistently fail supporters? Fans in Manchester to the US still can't buy a kit locally. Mail Order only.— ConsiderTheLillies (@Maria20131967) July 17, 2017
I know I keep putting questions about Everton’s abysmal marketing and availability to consumers, but the rapid growth of the on pitch presence must be matched by the marketing side of the club or the growth we all dream of won’t happen.
So I’ll just drop this here again:
Why is marketing and public interaction important?
So you don’t end up at a club like this that tells it’s players not to sign autographs so the club can sell officially signed gear at absurd prices.
Shocking... This is why Liverpool fans feel disconnected with the club sometimes these days. Fair play to Sturridge and Milner though. pic.twitter.com/bSLrFGV78g— Football Away Days (@footyawayday) July 17, 2017
David....your English is fantastic. Learning a (second) language is difficult.
My concern is not with language comprehension and expression abilities.
No, my concern is about the fact that you are to club soccer what Gerard Deulofeu is to international soccer:
Most caps for Spain U21s: Gerard Deulofeu (33)— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 17, 2017
Most goals for Spain U21s: Gerard Deulofeu (17)
King of the Kids. pic.twitter.com/MUN9YiKvYX
King of the Kids.
The ultimate backhanded compliment.
The difference is that the Spaniard leads by scoring and creating goals, while Henen’s maturity and on field leadership keep him a big part of the reigning PL2 champions.
The funny part is that each is missing exactly the traits the other possesses, and it prevents them from breaking through to the next level.
Oh, one more concern David, besides your plateauing career:
Your hair... to include your facial hair....
You have a Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man thing going on, what would Simon Phoenix say if he saw that goatee(?)?
I may not get to Goodison as often as I would like, but I still root for the best possible experience for my other Toffees who do make it to the matches.
So if the news above IS true, I’m not saying Carling is the final answer to the beer question, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
On a separate, and completely personal note, it is nice to no longer have Chang on our jerseys because as an educator I’m not supposed to wear clothing promoting alcohol in school so I always had a pang of guilt when I did wear it on appropriate ‘spirit days’.
(Don’t worry I sport a shirt and tie in class every day... which is saying a lot in my profession...trust me..the bar is low)
Now, however, I can sport a new Everton strip with no fear of retribution since we are now sponsored by a gambling company, and the education system doesn’t mind if I strut around promoting a gambling website when it’s jersey day.
Because, you know, education.
Why do people care what kind of money we spend as long as RK and Walsh rate them and they think will make the team better?— jon hein (@jdhein13) July 18, 2017
To be honest, I don’t know.
I could understand if the Premier League operated with a salary cap, but with Financial Fair Play Agreements all on our side, and most the players we are signing being young, I still think this summers spending spree will be more of an aberration than the standard for Everton.
While they will still have money, I don’t expect Everton to spend money in teh same fashion moving forward, but rather identifying players who they can upgrade on and selling them at the appropriate time to maximize their value while moving the team in the right direction.
As far as the dollar values go, and if the Toffees will end up being a hugely over priced flop, I think the fact Everton did their business so early meant what they were spending on Pickford and the rest was being gauged on LAST years market which was dramatically different (see: CHEAPER).
This might put £50 million Everton may spend for Gylfi into better perspective:
Want an even better example of how crazy the transfers have been and that £50 million for Gylfi is looking like market value?
West Ham have agreed a £24m fee with Stoke for Marko Arnautovic [Sky Sources] pic.twitter.com/JXaUVYG02N— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) July 18, 2017
West Ham are basically paying £24 million for a more physical version of Deulofeu.
So is Gylfi worth twice as much as Arnautovic?
Besides the numerous invaluable leadership qualities Sigurdsson would bring, he also had a hand in 22 goals (9 G, 13 A) in the Premier League to Marko’s 11 (6 G, 5 A).
So to answer your question, I don’t know why people just don’t let Mr. Moshiri spend his money in peace.
Especially if he is spending it on improving our squad!!
So....how do I answer a question like this?
Would it be better to splash 50 million on Gylfi Sigurdsson or spend the same money on two players like Jonathan Viera and Wilfried Bony?— Joshua Fauver (@fauvertwin1) July 18, 2017
This is an ENTIRELY reasonable and sensible question, and can be taken two ways:
1.Which option (Gylfi or Viera/Bony) gives you better value for £50 million?
In that case, it would depend on what you believed the team NEEDED, and WHEN. Viera could very well be a better version of Gylfi, but transitioning to the Premier League is difficult and there are never any assurances.
I mean, just look at Bony, he is going into his 6th year in the PL and he still hasn’t settled in.
Moshiri and Koeman have stated that they are not interested in some drawn out process though, and are looking to add talent who they know can operate in the world’s deepest league week in and week out, which Gylfi has done for a number of seasons.
Sure, if we run his legs out of him over the next three years he may not have the best resale value relative to his cost, but if he has produced for the team as Koeman needs over that time and the team has progressed and ACHIEVED, then he is more valuable than the pairing of Viera and Bony because he comes with assurances.
The other way to take that question is:
2. We have £50 million to spend, which option should we take?
In that case, the answer is that the question is invalid and we should take all three players because Koeman and Walsh have obviously identified them as players who can help in the long and short term and depth is sorely needed.
This isn’t an easy shift in mindset, and in fact it makes you feel like Chelsea, who are renowned for their ability to scoop up talent (spitefully?) and then kill said talent by burying it in lower leagues until the club has no choice but to release them to some team well below their standard and have to restart their careers.
If you are someone like Kevin De Bruyne. you are thankful you escaped from Chelsea when you did.
I mean, here he was after he learned of his move to Wolfsburg:
Anyways....the point I so elegantly veered off of was that we as Evertonians need to make peace with the fact that outside of the top tier talent like Neymar, we have to consider ourselves IN for everyone and hope they all work out.
I would send us ending up with Bony and Viera and while I would be remiss to say I wouldn’t be disappointed in missing out on Gylfi, I would be happy with the additions and the purpose they serve.
I think Koeman prefers to have Gylfi AND go out and get another forward, and will spend every second of the clock in pursuit of that goal.
Either way you split it (OR DON’T) Everton would be better off however they spend their £50 (or £100) million.
The need a big forward though, there is no questioning that, and there are options abound, though recent developments have thinned the pool....
and the competitors...
Now, personally I DON’T want Wilfried Bony unless we find ourselves forwardless in late August.
In fact, I still hold out hope that Olivier Giroud will come riding in on a horse to save the day.
However, if things don’t work out with the Frenchman, there are a number of other options from Christian Benteke to Jozy Altidore (KIDDING) I would choose before Bony.
In fact...speaking of other options.....
To be honest, everyone that I speak to that is an Everton fan is absolutely perplexed as to why the Toffees haven’t pursued the Kelechi Iheanacho as part of the multi-piece replacement of Romelu Lukaku.
Additions Sandro, Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen (to a varying degree) will all be asked to contribute to the goal scoring total lost when Lukaku hit the road for Manchester United.
Everton fans, and by all reports the Toffees front office, are still keenly aware of the missing elements of the attack that must be addressed before the close of the window.
The first is to add a true attacking midfielder, which Koeman has tagged as Gylfi Sigurdsson and has spent the summer pursuing him to no end.
If that doesn’t work out, it appears Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera has been tabbed a possible backup plan.
Second on that list is to bring in a true physical presence at forward (like Iheanacho).
There have been plenty of rumors about possible targets for the Toffees, and I don’t expect Everton to finish the window without signing at least one forward in this mold as we discussed above, so why not Kelechi??
I don’t know that he’s a Ballon D’or winner, but he has shown the ability to score consistently in the Premier League and at his age is due a run as a central striker.
Now, there is always the chance he doesn’t want to come compete with Rooney, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sandro for time in a formation that may not perfectly suit him.
Short of that, I struggle to come up with reasons why the Toffees have not pursued the Nigerian striker, but with Walsh and Koeman having seen him plenty the past few seasons it is doubtful the pair haven’t considered, and apparently disregarded, the Manchester City player.
So I guess we will just have to continue to trust Koeman and Walsh and hope that some September 1st they are confident all the pieces are in place to achieve the lofty goals they have set for themselves.