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What could have been - how did the players Everton sold do?

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A quick look back at how things turned out for the players the Blues let go last summer

MLS: New York Red Bulls at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Everton fans have long held that it’s a rare occurrence that a player leaves Goodison Park and finds success elsewhere, once in a blue moon you could even say. With the arrival of Marcel Brands to take over the mantle of Director of Football last summer and Marco Silva being appointed manager soon after, there was a flurry of transfer market activity as the Blues tried to lower the wage bill while simultaneously getting rid of deadwood and lowering the average age of the squad.

In all, there were a total of 23 departures over the 2018-19 season, including players who went out on loan and will return (unfortunately, in some cases) to the Blues this summer. We take a quick look at all the players we sold with the lens of what they could have provided Everton had they still been part of the picture at the Toffees in this just-ended season.

Wayne Rooney

An icon of the English game, it was very clear during the 2017-18 season that despite his astute awareness of the game, his legs were indeed gone. Roo moved to the USA to play for D.C. United in the MLS, and proved to be an instant hit across the pond.
The 33-year-old scored 12 goals with 6 assists in the 2018 season as captain of his club, and has continued that great form this season too, with 8 goals and 4 assists in the 2019 season.

Davy Klaassen

The Dutchman seemed ill at ease in England, and never really adapted to the pace and physicality of the Premier League. Maybe another season shadowing Gylfi Sigurdsson would have helped, but this is one transfer that seemed mutually beneficial. Klaassen immediately slotted in at Werder Bremen, getting back into the form he showed at Ajax Amsterdam when the Blues signed him in the summer of 2017.
Klaassen made 38 appearances for Bremen this season, scoring 7 goals and picking up 6 assists while playing mostly on the left side of a 4-3-1-2 formation in Germany. His side faltered in the final stretch, falling out of a Europa League spot finishing in 8th. His 37.9 passes and 1.2 key passes per 90 minutes shows that Davy remains on the periphery of the action and isn’t ready to take on the role of playmaker in one of the top five European leagues anyway.

Joel Robles

The much-loved goalie bid the Blues a fond farewell last summer as his contract expired and he looked to get more playing time than he was getting behind Jordan Pickford. Out at Real Betis, he was still backup, this time supporting Pau López but got a lot more minutes especially in the Copa del Rey and the Europa League.
The 28-year-old Spaniard featured in 19 games this season, keeping 8 clean sheets as Betis left the Europa League in the first knockout round and finished in a disappointing 10th place in La Liga. Manager Quique Setien has left his post and the club’s future is uncertain, as is Robles’ position in the side.

Ramiro Funes Mori

Another player popular with the fans, the rambunctious defender became a mainstay of the Villareal side that made a deep run in the Europa League, eventually getting knocked out in the quarter finals but were struck by the European football plague that most smaller sides struggle with, finishing in 14th place in the La Liga.
Funes Mori chipped in with 2 goals and 2 assists helping his side clamber out of the relegation spots when it looked a certainty early in spring. As far as his defending abilities, he continued his ill-discipline with 16 bookings, making 1.3 successful tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 5.4 clearances, 0.8 blocked shots and 41.2 passes per 90 - not terribly outstanding numbers, but nothing that would have improved the Blues this season either.
There was some good news for the defender though, as he has been named in Argentina’s 23-man squad for the Copa America later on this summer.

Tyias Browning

Gone and not missed. The defender started the season with the Under-23 side as an over-age player, featured 14 times and even captained David Unsworth’s side but was sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in February.
He’s finally broken into the starting XI at the club who sit in third place in the Chinese Super League where the season is halfway through. Evergrande made it through to the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League and play their two-legged tie in the end of June.

Conor Grant

The midfielder failed to impress in loan spells away from Everton over the last couple of seasons and was sold to Plymouth Argyle in League One last summer. He began the season in the starting lineup but was demoted to the bench and the practice squad by the end when the Pilgrims failed to climb out of the relegation zone late in the season and were relegated.