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Obscure Former Everton Player: Philippe Senderos

Continuing with our pandemic-time series with one of the most peculiar additions of the David Moyes era

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Portsmouth - Goodison Park Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Images via Getty Images

Ed. note: I love to look back at old Everton rosters and find guys who make me go “OH MY GOD THAT’S RIGHT, HE WAS ON THAT TEAM. With no football currently being played, I thought I’d share my love of this pastime with you, the loyal RBM reader. If there are any players you’d like me to take a look at in future iterations of this series, let me know!

We’ve already looked at Andy van der Meyde and Jose Baxter — two players you probably remember played for Everton because their off-field headlines were more memorable than their on-field contributions.

This week, I’ve dug deep into the archives to find a player who will almost certainly make you say, “Wait, really? He really played for Everton?”... that player is Philippe Senderos.

Senderos had a weird career on the whole, really. He played for 11 teams in his career, appearing in 14 or fewer league matches for a staggering eight of them. He did appear 57 times for the Swiss national team, including at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

But his time at Everton was significantly less notable.

Everton Acquisition

The Toffees added Senderos, a center-back, on loan from Arsenal in the January transfer window of 2010. The Swiss defender was in dire need of playing time, having appeared only twice for the Gunners in the 2009-10 season to that point and the World Cup coming up.

Senderos was no stranger to loan spells, having spent the previous season on loan at AC Milan after again being deemed surplus to requirements by Arsene Wenger. He played 14 times for Milan in 2008-09, creating a little bit of hope that he could play a meaningful role at Everton.

High Points with Everton

That meaningful role never really materialized, which makes this section a little difficult to fill out. He played just three times for Everton — 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic, as a late substitute in a 2-1 victory over Chelsea, and 52 minutes against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League. Everton ultimately conceded three goals to the Portuguese side after he departed due to injury, and the Toffees were bounced from the competition.

I guess that makes the clean sheet against Wigan his high point at the club — not exactly the most memorable of moments.

Player’s Departure

Senderos’ loan expired at the end of the 2009-10 season, at which point Everton expressed no real interest in bringing back the Swiss defender, despite the fact that his Arsenal contract was expiring and he was available on a free transfer.

Instead, the Swiss defender moved to Fulham on a free, where he was a regular contributor for the Cottagers over the next four seasons.

Why It Never Worked Out At Everton

Looking back, I have no idea why David Moyes and co. elected to make the move to add Senderos. Philippe exclusively played center-back his entire career, and yet the Toffees were already essentially filled to capacity at the position.

Everton already had four proven center-backs on the roster when Senderos was added — Sylvain Distin (before he got bad), Johnny Heitinga, Phil Jagielka, and Joseph Yobo. Distin and Heitinga were the preferred pairing that season, with Yobo and Jagielka serving as the next two up on the depth chart.

Injuries to those players briefly put Senderos into the conversation for a meaningful role, but he was never going to seriously challenge any of those defenders for playing time when healthy.

Where is He Now?

Senderos retired from football in December of 2019, after a bizarre five-year run in which he played for Valencia, Aston Villa, Grasshoppers (of the Swiss top division, where we prcoured Shani Tarashaj from), Glasgow Rangers, Houston Dynamo of MLS (where he weirdly scored four goals in ten appearances), and FC Chiasso (again of Switzerland). He did win the US Open Cup with Houston in 2018.

He was part of the draw for the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League in Amsterdam this March, but has largely remained out of the public eye in the months following his retirement.