Remember how Everton’s frantic summer transfer deadline day last year triggered a tidal wave of optimism among a previously pretty-underwhelmed fanbase?
Within the final few hours of the window, in came Yerry Mina, Bernard, and two excellent loanees in André Gomes and Kurt Zouma. The club left their business extremely late - again - but, ahead of the season-opener the following Saturday against Wolverhampton Wanderers, it simply got the supporters excited again.
This year? Well, all is not lost, but Everton’s late deals will hardly have caused the same sort of buzz among fans.
The £35 million signing of Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi certainly improves the side’s attacking options, and provides stronger competition for Bernard and Richarlison than his former Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott.
But after a deal with Crystal Palace for Wilfried Zaha failed to materialize, coupled with many Evertonians not wholly convinced on Iwobi - considering his return of 15 goals in 149 Gunners games, probably understandably - it’s perhaps not the Toffees’ most mouth-watering deal of the summer.
A move for PSV Eindhoven winger Steven Bergwijn was also rumoured, but ultimately came to nothing.
Meanwhile, a return for Zouma on a permanent basis from Chelsea long seemed off the table, but Everton clearly needed to replace the centre-back. They didn’t.
A late move from Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo never came to fruition, and whether you think the erratic 29-year-old defender suits Everton’s needs or not, Marco Silva’s side certainly enter 2019-20 short at the back.
After Yerry Mina and Michael Keane, the only other natural senior central defender is Mason Holgate, who is only 22 himself and did not even make the bench for Everton from October 6 onwards last season before joining West Bromwich Albion on loan in January.
Matthew Pennington, 24, could have been seen as a viable, if uninspiring option, but the club loaned him for the third successive season, as he moves to Championship side Hull City for the duration of 2019-20.
Everton were able to get further dead wood off their books - at least temporarily - with outcast midfielder Muhamed Bešić agreeing a season-long loan move to Premier League new boys Sheffield United where he joins former captain Phil Jagielka.
All things considered, though, it was a fairly disappointing deadline day for the club as talk of another central midfielder thrown into the mix didn’t end up happening either.
This window has seen certain areas of the squad strengthened - certainly up front and probably in midfield, despite Idrissa Gueye’s departure - but others, namely central defence, significantly weaker.
Finally getting capable backup for Seamus Coleman is also a big relief, with the feisty Irishman getting older.
Only time will tell if the squad good enough to mount a serious top six challenge this season. But there will doubtless be a overriding feeling of mixed emotions among the majority of the the blue half of Merseyside tonight, though.
Confirmed Everton transfers
Loaned - Djibril Sidibé (AS Monaco)
Transferred - Nikola Vlašić (CSKA Moscow), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig), Idrissa Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain), Joe Williams (Wigan Athletic), James McCarthy (Crystal Palace)
Loaned - Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke 04), Sandro Ramírez (Real Valladolid), Korede Adedoyin (Hamilton Academical), Kieran Dowell (Derby County), João Virgínia (Reading FC), Luke Garbutt (Ipswich Town), Josh Bowler (Hull City), Nathan Broadhead (Burton Albion), Matthew Pennington (Hull City)
Released - Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United), Ashley Williams (Released), Harry Charsley (Released), Boris Mathis (Released), Mateusz Hewelt (Released), Shayne Lavery (Released), Jack Kiersey (Released), Danny Bramall (Released), Joe Hilton (Released), Chris Renshaw (Released), Brendan Galloway (Luton Town)