So, Steve Walsh has been talking about Everton to The Athletic. From great players he claims the club wouldn’t back him on to warnings he gave Jose Mourinho about Lukaku, how much of his chatter one finds believable probably vary from person to person.
For instance, he claims he gave Jose Mourinho an absolutely scathing warning about Romelu Lukaku:
‘When Jose signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton, I remember saying to him, ‘You have to be careful with Lukaku. He is a big baby, you know.’ He said he could handle him. I don’t think he really got Lukaku on-side mentally, which you have to do. That is the case with him and Paul Pogba. They aren’t my type of players. They are more about themselves than the team. I wouldn’t have touched them. Because they are good players doesn’t mean you are going to get a good team out of it.
I personally take issue with his characterization of Lukaku. It’s easy to come in after his time at United and label him a problem player, but the man was money at Everton and he has been money at Inter. I think his issue at United was the same issue that everyone else who has touched United since Fergie left. It’s a poorly run club with more money than sense. Under Mourinho they had hundreds of millions in attacking talent and a manager who wanted to played scared timid football.
If you hear Walsh describe his time at Everton, you would think nothing was his fault at all.
While I was at Everton, I offered them Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire deals, when they were at Hull, and it was worth £20 million for the pair, Everton wouldn’t take them. I had a deal done for Jonny Evans too before he came to Leicester, but again they wouldn’t take him. Erling Haaland, the striker with Salzburg, I had him and his dad at the club with a deal done for €4 million. The club wouldn’t back me.
Okay... first of all. You did not have a deal done for Erling Haaland. Kid was 17 years old just getting started in the Norwegian first tier. By the time Salzburg paid €5.7m for him two years later he was a completely different player. I might be more willing to believe some of the other names he is tossing around if he wasn’t telling such a bold-faced lie about the new European darling Haaland. I’m sure Haaland, along with hundreds of other players, was on a young players prospect list in the offices at Everton, but no one in the Premier League was seriously interested in him at that point. Zero chance.
The Athletic paints Walsh as reluctant to talk about his time at Everton, and not bitter at all about what happened. I call hogwash. Walsh gave an interview looking to repair his image and like all people in football he wanted to make his previous failures look like it was the fault of his former employer. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Walsh era at Everton, but if he’s honest he needs to suck it up and admit that a lot of that blame is his.