The rat race that is the January window is nearly over. While the summer window is one with careful big picture planning for the future, the winter iteration usually involves teams assessing how their season is going and deciding if the possible outcomes of that season are worth more expenditure.
Everton are a good example of this, and their poor vein of form over the last month and a half will certainly impact what they do over the next couple of days. So, here are a few players linked to various moves and what Everton is likely to do about them.
Yannick Bolasie surprised a lot of people by cancelling his own loan at Aston Villa. He was not getting the sort of playing time he was looking for, but he reportedly came back without even discussing the move with Marco Silva.
Since that time, he has been linked heavily with his former club Crystal Palace. I am not entirely sure why a Premier League club would want a winger who could not get playing time in the Championship and has never looked the same post major knee injury, but more power to them.
There’s been some talk of a loan to Newcastle, but that makes no sense with the Toon already carrying Kenedy and Salomon Rondon as their two loan players.
Prediction: Transfers to Crystal Palace
Idrissa Gueye’s reported move to Paris St. Germain has been the talk of the transfer window for Everton fans. PSG is cash strapped thanks to Financial Fair Play scrutiny, and thus far they have low-balled Everton with their offers.
Marco Silva said after the Huddersfield Town game yesterday that he knew nothing of the latest offer for Gana, but mysteriously the Senegal player was ‘injured’ and out of the 18 yesterday. I suspect that injury will miraculously heal the day the window ends, one way or another.
PSG has signed Leandro Paredes from Zenit St. Petersburg for a similar fee to what Gueye’s transfer value probably ought to be. I do not see how they can afford to buy Paredes (who occupies the same area of the pitch as Gana) and then turn around and pay us what our man is worth.
If Marcel Brands is as good a Director of Football as we all think he is, he will not be accepting any low-ball offers. The French club seems to be trying to sell off some smaller assets to accumulate the funds to make this purchase, but unless they can get their bid over £30m I do not see it happening this window. To top it all off, a French source has reported that Silva has threatened to quit if Gana leaves. I am not sure Silva has enough chips to cash in for such a threat, but it does complicate things for Everton.
Prediction: Stays with Everton until the summer, then moves to PSG.
Cenk Tosun had reportedly declined eleven different clubs to stay at Everton in a story that I found a bit dubious. However, he came on and scored a big goal against Milwall to give Everton a lead and he was absolutely magnificent moving off the ball and with his passing against Huddersfield.
With no real time to sign any replacement 9’s, Oumar Niasse gone to Cardiff, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin being the only other true striker on the roster, I expect Tosun to stay and play more or less depending on his current form. I do not think Marco Silva truly believes in the striker, but it is easy to see that Richarlison does not read the game like a 9 and Dominic Calvert-Lewin lacks Tosun’s subtlety and veteran savvy off the ball and with his passing.
Prediction: Stays until the summer, then moves.
McCarthy has simply not been relevant since his horror injury. In all likelihood the club would like to send him out on loan, with the forerunner being Crystal Palace. The astute observer will notice that both Bolasie and McCarthy are being linked with Palace, and they are only allowed to take one of them on loan. I anticipate Yala will be the buy and McCarthy will be the loan.
Prediction: Loaned to Palace to help with the survival effort
One one hand Silva says Morgan Schneiderlin remains a part of the squad, on the other hand he hasn’t had a look-in at a matchday squad since.. since..
The Frenchman has indicated in the past that he would like to return to his home country to finish out his career, and it’s likely his wish comes true, if not today then at the end of the season definitely.
Prediction: Loaned out to Olympique Marseille or Strasbourg
If Idrissa Gueye does end up moving our midfield will be in a very difficult spot the rest of the season. Tom Davies did an admirable job defensively, but I doubt his ability to do that against better opposition and even yesterday his passing was not at Gana’s level. That said, I just do not know that there is sufficient time left to work out a real replacement.
That is a shame, because at this writing we are only two points out of what will likely be a Europa spot, with a huge game against Wolves coming up this Saturday. Best case scenario is that we manage to delay PSG for six months and keep our destroyer for our push to get back to Europe. If he is sold, some kind of defensive midfielder would be a desperate need.
Unfortunately, what we are likely to get back for Gana is a loan/sale of Thomas Meunier, who is a right back. Meunier would probably be an improvement over Seamus Coleman, but he is not a defensive midfielder so from a team balance perspective I am not sure how good of an add he would actually be at this time.
It seems as though Everton is making a late push to sign Michy Batshuayi. It is not surprising that Everton has waited until the Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata deals were finalized to make a decision on the Belgian forward, but realistically Maurizio Sarri does not have him in his plans and they need to move him today.
Losing Gueye and gaining Batshuayi would make the team worse because of issues of balance, but keeping the midfielder and bringing in the forward ought to be enough to secure 7th place for us this season.
If we can keep Gana and get through Saturday’s suspension/injury crisis at left back, the group Everton has should be good enough to get into 7th place. If that happens and a top six club wins the FA Cup, then we will find ourselves back in Europe and I think this season can be considered reasonably successful.
Otherwise, we will have spent a year playing what was at times more attractive football while moving absolutely nowhere in the table and not progressing in any cup competition. A respectable fee for the services of our destroyer midfielder would be small consolation for an entire year of stagnation.