It is now customary here at Royal Blue Mersey after every transfer window to poll the writers here on how they think Everton did with getting rid of unwanted players and bringing in new players to strengthen the team. Here are some thoughts from the crew, in no particular order.
Richarlison and Digne are exciting new additions. Now there’s three more new players and I’m a little worried it’s too much change in too little time but hopefully I’m wrong! There seems to be more positivity this year, no more weird comments about why certain players wouldn’t sign and players seem eager to sign with Everton. This all points towards better leadership.
It’s a huge relief that Jordan Pickford is staying at Everton. Phew. I’m also glad that Lookman is staying.
I know we are talking about the men’s team here but I want to stress that Everton Ladies need to sign 1-2 goalies very soon because they are almost done their preseason and still only have one keeper.
The good - we have brought in more players than we ever dreamed possible! We now have competition for places in all positions. The squad appears balanced, all positions are covered, and we have raised the bar in terms of quality also.
The bad - pre-season results weren’t great. Most of our transfers were completed late, so we have several players who haven’t played much for us, if at all, in pre-season. We are going into the season with a GK and back 4 that have never played together.
Ugly - nothing for me in particular. We do still have some work to do though. Ideally, we still need to ship out some players no longer required - Bolasie, Besic, Vlasic etc. We also need to get the players to gel.
All in all, the foundations are now in place. The work now begins on the training ground, and let’s hope we can get some momentum behind us early on.
Good- The back line has been improved across the board. The center back group has been improved with Mina and Zouma, while Digne brings some much needed depth to the left back position. Gomes and Bernard are cheap, low-risk attempts to find talented young players and Silva clearly sees something special in Richarlison.
Bad - The biggest complaint is that so much of this business was done too late in the window. It’s great to have these players here, but there’s a match on Saturday and I suspect several new additions may not feature or will struggle with team chemistry.
Ugly - I still don’t know if this team is good enough to get above 7th or 8th place. I’m willing to be patient with Brands, and this window is certainly a good start, but Everton still haven’t made the kind of move to propel us up the table.
What is interesting about Marcel Brand’s first summer in charge is that he clearly does not mind spending heavily on players he thinks fit what the team needs. The fees for Richarlison, Digne and Mina were higher than their former clubs would have been able to find anywhere else, and the reported salary for Bernard is incredibly high also. I think it is rather obvious that we overpaid for these players, but such is the life of a monied English club.
Unlike last season, I can see a clear plan for each of the new players. I see how they fit the larger team structure and I see a direct line between their talents and what Marco Silva wants to do. Last season we wondered what the point of buying both Klaassen and Sigurdsson was, and why we refused to by a left back. This year, we have appropriate cover at every position, and new players that fill holes we had before. I am not sure whether all of these new arrivals will pan out, but I’m very pleased with the way in which Everton identified needs and sought to address them. Good window.
The good: We’ve balanced out our squad and trimmed the fat. We have at least two players of reasonable quality in every position. Richarlison and Digne in particular look like they’ll significantly improve the team, while Bernard certainly has the potential (if he can deal with the physicality of the league) to be an excellent signing.
Hopefully we can still manage to shift Cuco Martina before the end of August.
The bad: Just because you’ve signed someone from Barcelona doesn’t make them a great player (see: Claudio Bravo, Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan). Jury is definitely out on Mina and Gomes, but I hope to be proven wrong.
The ugly: Why do we leave our business so late! The idea of bringing in three or four players on deadline day is absurd – and it’s not like most of these players were even away at the World Cup.
It’s like the kid doing his homework on the bus to school – he’s not exactly the star student, is he?
Last year aside, we always leave our business too late, and it plays a big part in why we often start the season so slowly. Give the manager a chance and have your squad ready in July.
Very little to get upset about in this window. All the major needs were addressed, the team got substantially younger, and the club is positioned to at least make a run at the top 6. I’m not particularly fond of Gomes, but the other players added this window should be able to make significant contributions this season -- and I acknowledge that Gomes is a low-risk, high-reward project.
The summer should be remembered as a big statement of intent -- as last summer was. Yet, the major difference this summer is the very clear plan that’s gone along with the intent. Each signing filled a targeted need, and you’d be hard-pressed to point to an incoming player who you can’t understand the thought process behind acquiring. It’s a big change of pace from last summer, and an exceedingly important one.
I think the word that best describes my feelings at the end of the transfer window yesterday is “wow”. It seems that for the first time in a long time the club have seen their needs and addressed them from top to bottom. We have added depth, talent and, basically, a new defense, while, also, not spending recklessly, which was the problem last year. The window did start a little slow, taking a while to sign a player, but once things got down to the late hours, you could see the clubs desire to get the deals they wanted done. For the first time for me as an Everton fan, I was left happy at the end of the transfer window and without the feeling that we didn’t do enough and, I have to say, it feels pretty awesome!
The good- Most of the squad’s gaping holes have been plugged properly. Down the left wing, Lucas Digne, Richarlison and Bernard should add the pace and verve that deserted the likes of Cuco Martina, Leighton Baines and Gylfi Sigurdsson on that flank last term. Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina, on paper, appear far more athletic and imposing centre-backs, and I hope André Gomes will be the creative central midfielder we clearly lacked previously. Meanwhile, Marcel Brands and Marco Silva’s vision looks much clearer than the scattergun approach under Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman.
The bad- The squad still needs trimming. Cuco Martina, Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic, for instance, remain on Everton’s books when, realistically, it’s hard to see them getting a game. Phil Jagielka or Michael Keane are not good enough for a team supposedly challenging the top six, either, even if now only as back-ups. If I’m nit-picking, I would’ve liked to see another right-back, too; competition for places is healthy and Seamus Coleman has suffered from a lack of it.
The ugly- Leaving our business so late creates great excitement and the deadline day optimism among Evertonians was palpable, but it’s hardly ideal planning. Quite what the team sheet at Wolverhampton on Saturday will be is anyone’s guess. I’ve also questioned the mentality of players we’ve previously signed from bigger clubs; hopefully Mina and Gomes don’t leave the Nou Camp thinking they’re too good for us and come with the right attitude.
The good - Marcel Brands has removed nearly all of the underperformers or high earners off the wage bill and replaced them with younger, better players in the process. At the same time, he has systematically targeted and improved every position that needed it and rebuilt the faith among the fans.
The bad - That it took so long to get the deals done. Relying on finalising deals on deadline day is a risky strategy but such was the nature of this window, with the World Cup thrown in, it was always going to be tricky. Factor in that it was clear players had to leave first before moves could be made and this becomes a minor gripe at best.
The ugly - Some of the fees and wages Everton are likely to have paid out are high but that is now the nature of the market.
The Good - Brands ans Silva addressed problem areas that have been festering for a numbers of windows (left back and center back), while also upgrading positions where Everton seemed to be at least ok (winger) relative to their other positions. Additionally, the systematic thinning of the squad has given the new manager room to work. The new team was not arrogant about their work and took their time assessing the roster before going about making wholesale changes. The best thing they did though? Give supporters around the world something to be excited about for the first time in a while.
The Bad - A number of important deals did end up stretching to the end of the window (Mina/Zouma), which means the first few weeks won’t display the new talent and hopefully doesn’t cause the team to sputter out of the gate. (Though to be fair better than the players coming in August 31st and THEN trying to integrate!)
The Ugly- I got nothing. That’s shocking
What an excellent deadline day that was for the Blues! Every target we wanted we got, even though there were some heart-stopping moments late before the window closed. We now have two competent players for every position, have improved pace and skill in the starting eleven all while reducing the average age of the squad.
If I had to find fault, I would say I’m disappointed we left it right until the end to fill in the gaps and get business done. Understandably, we had to get rid of some players before we could bring more in, but at least with the transfer deadline closing before the season starts, it’ll only be a couple of weeks before they are settled in and playing.