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Everton made the right call not buying Zaha

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Because sometimes you just need to talk about football

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Goodison Park Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Normally I wouldn’t do this. Normally, when a summer transfer window is over I’m not going to be coming back the next March to get some 20-20 hindsight on the decision we made regarding the move unless we actually bought the player. This, of course, is not a normal March. I just want to talk about football, consider it a bit of an escape. If you need that escape too, let’s talk about last summer’s Wilfried Zaha rumor.

Last summer, Roy Hodgson compared Zaha to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It was pretty funny. Then Crystal Palace slapped an absurd £80m price tag on him if he was going to go anywhere. I heard a lot about how winning penalties was an underrated skill, and about how 10 goals and 5 assists from a 26 year old in the English Premier League was something that should be marveled at. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and he stayed at Palace.

So how has it all turned out? Well, we did fire Marco Silva, which suggests our transfer strategy didn’t work entirely according to plan, but then Duncan Ferguson switched us to a 4-4-2 and Carlo Ancelotti discovered that Theo Walcot can still play a little football! Zaha, meanwhile, has just three goals and three assists in over 2500 minutes this year, and Palace as a team have only received three penalties, so it’s not like he’s bringing home much bacon their either.

To break down a little further how good a decision Everton made in not signing Zaha, I want to show you a couple of comparisons. First up, is Theo Walcott vs Wilfried Zaha in a few different offensive categories:

understat.com

In 2.5x the number of minutes, Zaha’s only managed two more goals and one more assist than Theo. I took a quick look at Zaha vs Bernard, and on a per 90 Bernard’s out playing him too (similar number of minutes). If you’re completely adamant that Wilfried is a better player than both of them, that’s fine, doesn’t bother me either way. All I know is that with an attack that is built entirely around supporting Zaha he’s not putting up numbers that are as good as those of two supporting players in an okay but not outstanding Everton offense.

The Toffees make a lot of transfer decisions that make us scratch our heads and before next season (whenever that is), I expect we’ll have a new wide midfielder out on the right. But for now, I’m absolutely thrilled we didn’t waste £80 million on a guy that doesn’t produce better than Theo Walcott.