Everton are playing really good team football, as both the statistics sheets and Premier League table can demonstrate for any nonbelievers. This is not to say that it might not all fall to pieces as it did a season ago under Carlo Ancelotti’s watchful eye, only that under Rafa Benitez, the Toffees seem a more complete, talented and well-organized lot.
Benitez has accomplished this to date without the proper financial backing that a manager of his calibre deserves. Having not qualified Everton for Europe at the end of last season, the former boss decided to take his talents back to La Liga and Real Madrid after Zinedine Zidane walked away from the Bernabeau for the second time as a manager.
This fact makes what the current boss is doing all the more impressive. He is taking, essentially the same club as Carlo had last season, aside from Andros Townsend, Demarai Gray, Asmir Begovic, Salomon Rondon, and James Rodriguez, and has increased the total team production and spirit, while relying less on the two star potential players of the squad to carry the entire scoring burden.
When those pieces come back — Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison — the team will be stronger for having had to overcome adversity without them both there to help. This is a positive for Everton, as the wilting that occurred at the end of last year likely has left a bad taste in the mouths of everyone at Finch Farm and Goodison Park.
Yet to accomplish this, even with the newfound resilience and production out of the entire club, additional reinforcements will likely be necessary in January. As no large names were taken during the summer, the bargain-bin business that the Toffees were able to muster has proven incredibly useful and thrifty of Marcel Brands.
On the other hand, the Blues must grab someone to assist their quest for the second half of the season, and while Porto’s winger Luis Diaz remains an absolute dream scenario, and AC Milan’s midfielder Franck Kessie could very well be available to sign a pre-contract, Donny van de Beek who remains trapped at Old Trafford should firmly remain a January target in some form, if possible that is.
The Premier League’s Financial Rules Haven’t Been Kind To Everton, But That May Be Ending Soon
In a piece that I wrote while the previous summer window was still open, I detailed the financial plight that Everton was in and why it was stopping them from acquiring the players that they would’ve liked to have signed.
It remains dreadful, yet with stadiums open to the public once again, things are likely turning around to some extent for many of the suffering clubs of Europe and the world. With the sale of James Rodriguez away from England to Qatar, it is suspected that the Toffees will indeed be able to swoop in for someone during the winter window, whether on a permanent or loan basis, and the young Dutchman remains both a real possibility, and a near-perfect potential fit for the Blues.
While van de Beek remains trapped on the bench for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, he is clearly getting frustrated in his role there. The player is used to participating in club football as he did with Ajax for many years in his still young career; he is used to parlaying those playing opportunities into national team playing opportunities too, and the lack of the former in this instance will likely diminish the possibilities of the latter as well for the 24-year-old attacking midfielder.
Manchester United have too many options for him to get consideration in the middle, even if he might help them gain some consistency in that area on the pitch; he is young and behind more familiar United names like Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard to name but two. Were he to come to Everton, he wouldn’t be moving too far from where he is now, and would likely have many more opportunities to play for this Blues side than those Red Devils.
Donny van de Beek could very well play as a number ten were he to come to Merseyside, and could potentially thrive with so many attacking options to choose from in his potential position. The 24-year-old is not a direct replacement for either the hard-running of Abdoulaye Doucoure nor does he slot into Allan’s aggressive shielding of the backline. However, he is certainly a step or two above the overall quality of what Andre Gomes or Tom Davies give the Blues.
Fitting everyone in might be difficult with van de Beek, yet it would certainly be less difficult than the task Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently faces when attempting to do so for his outfit; Rafa could manage it much better, and would fashion the team with much better depth than we currently have, even if it’s improved with the new Rafa Benitez administration.
United will likely not wish to sell him considering they shelled out over £35million, and they have certainly not used him enough to justify that fee. A loan with an obligation to buy might be the best scenario for the Toffees here.
Luis Diaz is a really brilliant winger, and a player that would accentuate the rest of the talent the team already has, yet he will not come cheap and I am unsure if the Blues will have the money for him this winter; meanwhile, by the summer, he could very well be even more expensive after his hot start to the season, and so therefore out of our reach once more. The 24-year-old might well be worth breaking the bank for, but is also likely considered a Richarlison replacement for whenever he leaves.
Which brings us to Franck Kessie. The midfielder is reportedly going to be available to sign a pre-contract in January as he and the club have yet to agree on new terms to keep him in the north of Italy beyond this season. He is a good and proper mixture of offensive and defensive midfielder and should likely cost Everton a pretty penny to sign. While his wages won’t be the cheapest salary on the team, his contributions will likely match whatever his weekly checks read.
Yet similar to the Dutch van de Beek, whose numbers are virtually nonexistent, both this season, and in general since he came to Manchester United, and so therefore unnecessary to talk about in this piece, the Ivorian Kessie remains a proud and competitive, if not productive, player in Serie A this season. Kessie, also 24, like his Dutch counterpart, has produced nothing this season either.
For each of these young men, the issue is not ability, but apparently scenery. Niether is happy in their current set-up anymore, and so each needs a change. While van de Beek is more a number ten, Kessie would be a marvelous addition to the Allan-Abdoulaye Doucoure dynamic, while he is also capable to play further up the pitch to join the attack when it becomes necessary to do so.
Figuring out a way to make the numbers work for each this summer, if possible, should be amongst the moves the team decides to move on; right-back help for Seamus Coleman, as it was this summer, would also be very useful is possible as well, yet that is for another piece. For Everton to continue their winning ways, they will have to make further winning moves during the upcoming transfer window too. There seems to be some hope from the boss that this will be possible this January, and the thought of the Blues getting better this season, instead of falling off, should scare a good majority of the outfits in England this season.