The rumor mill has a tendency to churn relentlessly, even regarding teams that may not be doing business in a given window or period. For Everton, this has been true more often than not over the recent years, with this year’s loaned out defender Jarrad Branthwaite the only player purchased during last year’s winter window. If Marcel Brands is to be believed from his recent statements regarding the club’s activity given at the Annual General Meeting, this winter may be no different than the former, despite the marked progress of the club since that period.
And that is a problem, and not simply because I write a fair amount of transfer rumor pieces. No, the issue is not for me at all, but for the Toffees themselves. With the brilliant young talent shining on the team currently, learning from a legendary manager, Everton sits prepared to challenge for a top six finish on the Premier League Table. And while we have gotten here with the squad we currently possess, it is understood that the most competitive teams in European football are proactive during these summer and winter transfer windows.
Neglecting to pounce on team improvements cannot be seen as a sound strategy, but as simply missed opportunities and it would kill Toffees across the world to witness a team falter later in the season simply because of injuries or a lack of world class depth behind names like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and James Rodriguez; there is still time however.
Players still available this Winter for Everton
While there is allegedly no plan for the Premier League to shutter matches, despite what various managers have said regarding the prospect over the last weeks, the recent postponement of matches sets a precedent that may well continue in place of a suspension of play overall. Should this season continue with postponements, a deep roster cold be even more necessary for contending Premier League clubs than usual with fixtures piling up later on, and with all of the positives that have been witnessed so far this season, neglecting to provide Don Carlo, Big Dunc and the entire team with reinforcements for whatever this season brings is simply unwise, no matter the current financial state of the club. As the saying goes, in this world as currently situated, “it takes money to make money”.
But while more expensive names like Leon Bailey, Hirving Lozano and Thomas Lemar may have to wait until Summer if at all, I think that players of a certain history, caliber, accomplishment, and price tag, will have a chance to become reality before the current window closes. Names like Isco, Sami Khedira, and Arkadiusz Milik feel more reasonable because of either their own experience, or that experience that they share with their old boss Don Carlo.
Both Real Madrid and Juventus are looking to clear wage space, and both Isco and Khedira cost a pretty penny every year, and are also out of contract at the end of the season, so this is the last opportunity for any sort of return on them. It makes sense that those two might find their way onto Merseyside, following James Rodriguez and Allan during the previous summer window. The Polish national Milik, who has yet to even play in a match across any competition since the new Serie A campaign began, should be available for less than the previously reported asking price; should Napoli concede this, I’d be shocked if the Toffees didn’t move on what is surely a better backup to DCL than Cenk Tosun.
“Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”
The famous Teddy Rooseveltism can be applied less militarily in the space of football surely. To that point, I think it’s smart on Marcel Brands part to stick to a quiet public stance, but the realities of this particular season must also be taken into account. With over a week until our next match in any competition, the fourth round of the FA Cup in which we’re hosting Sheffield Wednesday, the club can take a deep breath, regain itself and rest before the next burst of games in this hectic and uncertain season.
Just days after the FA Cup tie, Everton host Leicester City and Newcastle United on the 27th and 30th of January respectively. With the team currently in fifth place on the League table with 32 points so far, the Royal Blues have a chance to end January with 38 points and chance remaining in contention for Europe and the FA Cup. With this time and the prospect of these potential innovations, Everton cannot tarry like they might during an underperforming campaign; they must act decisively, if not for more expensive additions, then at least for the aforementioned former Ancelotti men.
Holding one’s cards close to the vest is admirable to be sure, but Brands must wield a big stick in this transfer market for Everton to make it to where the club can bring in funds at even greater rates. To accomplish that, European football is required, as is success domestically, and to accomplish those things, top tier talent is necessary, across the squad, meaning even on the bench. It is up to Marcel Brands to deliver these players to Don Carlo so that he can reward the club’s trust both financially and with trophies.