A couple of days left in the January transfer window, and we got asked an interesting question from one of our faithful readers - PMarinelli wanted to know what we would do differently if we had the chance to go back to the summer and re-do the summer transfer window all over again.
While we put our heads together in the RBM round table format, here’s PMarinelli’s thoughts -
Instead of Davy Klaassen ---> Bertrand Traore
In looking for an Ajax attacker, we should have gone with the 22yr old Traore. Last season at Ajax he had comparable per-90 metrics to Davy, but offers blistering pace and more upside. He was sold to Lyon for only €10m, €17m less than Klaassen. How has his season fared? He has 6 goals in 18 appearances, including a game winner against Everton at Goodison.
Instead of Michael Keane ---> Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire’s season has started so well for Leicester City they are calling him the Yorkshire Beckenbauer. Over the top to be sure, but his ability matched more with what Everton needed, a ball playing center back. Add that to better defensive stats per 90 in 2016/17 than Michael Keane and that he cost half as much, and Everton picked the wrong young English centre half.
Instead of Sandro ---> Jakub Jankto
There is no replacing Sandro for value, but for production and upside, the Udinese starlet is a much better fit. Physical enough for England, and technical enough to excel, Jankto has 5 goals and 6 assists in 20 appearances this season.
Instead of Cuco Martina ---> Baba Rahman
We aren’t finding a player around on a free, but a loan costs just as much (nothing!) We didn’t need the right back with Jonjoe Kenny, and desperately needed a cover for Leighton Baines, so Rahman fits the bill.
Instead of Gylfi Sigurdsson ---> Riyad Mahrez
We were all expecting a little more after spending £45m on a #10. At this price, there were a ton of players I’d rather see- Leon Goretska, Nabil Fekir, or Emil Forsberg top the list. But if we are talking about Premier League proven creators, Mahrez offers a little more zip than Sigurdsson. Their stats are almost the same, but the space Mahrez opens up with his pace, for an Everton side that lacks it, would make big changes to the way we could attack.
Where do we go from here? I’d spend whatever it takes to get Ryan Sessegnon (he is leading his team in scoring… as a 17yr old left back) or Ben Chilwell. Moussa Dembele from Celtic could be one, but if RB Leipzig miss out on Europe, get Timo Werner for any price.
Interesting thoughts indeed here. A few of the writers took on the challenge as well, and here’s their thoughts.
Instead of buying Davy Klaassen, I’d buy Jonathan Viera. Viera’s release clause was vvery similar to what we paid for Davy and he’s not only a better player, he would have been the perfect solution for the wide attacking issues we had all through the early part of the season.
Brian L -
The obvious answer is Klassen to begin with. I’d replace him some cover in the back. Back then I would have been screaming for some cover at RB, but with how the season has gone a CB or LB cover would have been great as well. I think Sandro was fine for the price even if he hasn’t been used properly, but Klassen is the big move that just hasn’t made sense. For that money Everton could have bought some real defensive cover. I’m not even concerned with who it should be, just that there was some.
I’d re-do the Davy Klaassen transfer. It’s not that I dislike the Dutchman, or even that he’s a bad player. However, it was clear from the word go that Everton had too many attacking midfielders, and Klaassen was the one with the least amount of Premier League experience. There was a never a way where he’d fit seamlessly into a roster that includes Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Tom Davies. There were too many other holes in the roster to carry so many central midfielders, and Everton have paid for it.
Instead, the Klaassen money would have been better served going to another defender. The need for a backup left back was evident long before Leighton Baines got hurt, given that Ramiro Funes Mori was already on the shelf and Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are old. Someone like Marc-Oliver Kempf from Freiburg or Stefan de Vrij of Lazio would have fit the bill nicely, and allowed the club to build from the back. Instead, Klaassen is likely to (eventually) be on his way out, and Everton still need defenders.
I think the obvious temptation is to undo the Sandro transfer and replace him with another striker, but I’m not sure that would have made a ton of difference. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been decent up front, and regular playing time this season will be a boon for his development going forward. I don’t think Sandro ends up amounting to anything at Everton, but the 5 million pounds spent on him don’t amount to much either.
Instead, I’d be dumping Davy Klaassen, who I think is a player with decent ability, but is never going to be able to jump ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, or Idrissa Gueye for a regular place in the team. Instead, the approximately 20 million pound transfer fee would have been better spent on Nathan Ake, who made the move from Chelsea to Bournemouth this summer for the same price. He’s not an outstanding defender, but he’s a decent one who brings significant flexibility. He’d have been a valuable asset in the middle while Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane were injured, and can also play left-back, where Everton desperately needs cover as well.
First, the board should have gotten the Gylfi Sigurdsson deal done quicker. The price was steep, sure, but the entire market was bloated. If Sigurdsson was the main man you wanted, go pay Swansea whatever it takes to get him. Gylfi was the centerpiece of the summer. Getting him in the door earlier in the summer could have had an impact on the entire window. It possibly would have affected my second point.
The painfully obvious change I would make is not pursuing Davy Klaassen. I do believe Davy has quality and can be a Premier League player, but he is a center midfielder on a team full of center midfielders. Unless Tom Davies went out on loan or Idrissa Gueye made a big money transfer, he was the definition of surplus to requirements, while the club lacked depth in other places on the pitch. The money spent on Klaassen could have been spent elsewhere.
Where it needed to be spent was along the defensive back line. Luke Shaw could have been an ideal long term heir/replacement for Leighton Baines at left back. Cheaper, short term options like Gael Clichy and Kieran Gibbs were also available. And while the addition of Michael Keane in the center of defense was solid, the club still looks old with Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams in the ranks. They could have been complemented by the likes of Harry Maguire, Kurt Zouma or even John Brooks if he was willing to move to England.
What would you have done differently in the summer if you were the Everton Board and knew then what we all know now?