Hiring a manager with three UEFA Champions League trophies is a big deal for any club. Clearly a man who has achieved what Carlo Ancelotti has achieved in his long and storied career knows what he is doing and can succeed given the right players.
Here’s the rub though. Hiring a manager that prestigious is only half the battle. Farhad Moshiri has spent a good deal of money since coming to Everton, but none of it matches the sort of ambition this newest manager hire implies. Let me give this discussion some context. Everton’s record arrival is Gylfi Sigurdsson who came in at a price tag of €49.40m according to Transfermarkt.
Comparing it to Ancelotti’s other stops in the 2010s, that would be €30m less than the record arrival at Bayern Munich, barely in the top ten in fees in the history of Real Madrid, almost exactly what PSG spent on David Luiz (and less than a quarter of their record fee), and less than what Chelsea spent on Fernando Torres for Ancelotti all the way back in 2010. The only club in the last decade that Ancelotti has managed that has a cheaper record arrival than Everton was Napoli and it is also the only club where Carlo won no trophies (though he was ten points clear of everyone but Juventus in Serie A last season).
Ancelotti’s primary value added is what he brings as a man-manager on teams with large egos. Don’t mistake me, I have seen Carlo do tactical wonders, like turning James Rodriguez into an elite ‘number 8’ for a spell in 2014-2015, but what he is best at is coming into locker rooms with loads of talent and being a calming presence that allows that talent to display itself fully.
Right now, Everton does not have the level of talent required for that value added to really show itself. We have pieces that could be part of that sort of project going forward, like Jordan Pickford, Lucas Digne, Richarlison, and potentially Moise Kean, but if Ancelotti is going to succeed at Everton he will need the club to reinvent who it is on the world transfer market.
The fans who are skeptical of Carlo’s ability to succeed here because they doubt that Everton will spend this way have, in my opinion, valid fears. My hope is that with Carlo at the helm we can attract a better caliber of player for our money, but that remains to be seen. Only six clubs in English soccer have ever broken €60m in a single transfer and I think we are going to have to make it seven if we are really gonna change this club’s image on the world scene.
Carlo Ancelotti has cemented his legacy as one of the great managers in football history. Most of that success has come at club superpowers. If Everton intends to join those ranks, and has hired the Italian as a signal to the rest of the world that they are going to spend with the best of them to get there, I think this will all work out fine. If the transfer dealings are of the same level of expenditure we have seen in recent seasons then I feel like we’ve hired a man-manager but not given him any real stars to manage.