Several sources are reporting that Everton are plotting moves for Kieran Trippier and Salomon Rondon.
But this isn’t true.
This is just lazy speculation that has, at best, been planted by agents looking to garner interest in their players. Everton won’t be after either player in the summer.
How can we be so sure of this, given that Everton’s greatest areas of weakness currently lie at right-back and striker?
Well, it simply wouldn’t fit in with Marcel Brands’ transfer policy, which he has clearly set out.
Last summer, the Blues signed six first-team players - the oldest of whom was 25-year-old Bernard. This was youthful business by design.
In the early throes of Farhad Moshiri’s reign, the Blues plugged in gaps as needed by players supposedly at the height of their powers. This included moves for Ashley Williams (then 31), Yannick Bolasie (then 27) Gylfi Sigurdsson (then 27) and Theo Walcott (then 28).
The trouble is, you pay a premium for players who are around 27 and 28, both in terms of transfer fees and wages. Indeed, all four of the above players earn at least £70,000 per week at Everton, with each getting at least a three-year contract.
There’s also no hope of recouping these costs in future transfer fees as their values only dwindle after this point – even if the player has done well. If the player struggles, you’ll basically have to wait until their contract expires before you can move them on permanently, a la Williams and Bolasie.
It was partly for this reason that Marcel Brands was appointed as Director of Football in the summer.
While Moshiri has been happy to invest, he can’t be expected to keep throwing good money after bad.
Brands invested in youth at PSV and did whatever he could to bring young players from the academy into the first team. Now, he’s expected to do the same at Everton.
When asked in January whether he’d be bringing in a striker to the club, Brands replied:
>“I think we are a very, very lucky club in England that we have three players with great potential who are just 21-years-old – we have Dominic, we have Richarlison and we have Ademola.
>“And if I bring in a new player, a huge striker or a name, should I destroy one of them?
>“It is also my goal to protect those boys. Everyone agrees with me that they have great potential and a great future.”
Everton’s strategy has changed.
It’s not that there’s no transfer kitty, but the club won’t be splashing the cash on a 28-year-old right-back and a 29-year-old striker.
The Blues will first look at the youthful options the club has in each position. At right-back, those options are primarily Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate. Up front, it’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
If the club deem that these players aren’t the future of the club – or that they need more support - only then will they make moves in the transfer market. But not on players coming to the end of – or even past – their peak.
If Everton do sign a right-back or striker in the summer, they surely won’t be older than 25.