The 2021 January transfer window came to a close a few days ago, but with how hectic the Everton schedule has been, we only just got a chance to get our heads together and discuss our observations of the Blues activity during the month.
We asked the crew here at Royal Blue Mersey two questions about the work done by Director of Football Marcel Brands and the rest of his staff.
Your thoughts on the players Everton sold or loaned out - did the club do enough/too much?
Matthew - The club probably did as much as they could given the difficulties of the January window and the obvious lack of interest in some of the players we wanted to sell. Not ideal, but hard to have too many gripes under the circumstances.
Pete - Generally speaking, I’m happy. Satisfied with the players we’ve offloaded and absolutely delighted we’ve sent Anthony Gordon, Ellis Simms, Jarrad Branthwaite and Beni Baningime out on loan - they all desperately needed those moves for their development. Also, if the deal is decent, Joshua King gives us a better attacking edge - even if it’s from the bench.
My only disappointment is that we haven’t yet sorted long term solutions at RB and an attacking midfielder.
Pat - I’m really excited to see how our youngsters perform on loan. I’m also relieved to see Cenk Tosun and Yannick Bolasie one step closer to (finally) leaving the club.
Zach - The two loans that stuck out the most for me were Gordon and Jonjoe Kenny. For Gordon this is a loan that probably should have happened in the fall and for Kenny I’m worried he’s running out of opportunities to show he will do it with the first team. In fact, this loan for Kenny is a step back from his last one, to be honest. Overall though, they did a good job clearing dead weight.
Tom - As a fan you always want more, but given the circumstances Everton have done a decent job. You only have to look around at the relative lack of transfer activity to gain an understanding of just how difficult the market is. But the club have managed to move on number of players who don’t have long-term futures at the club, send some promising youngsters out on loan and strengthen a key area of the pitch.
Trent - I thought that, with our precarious situation relating to FFP, we did a good job of moving folks on loan to clear up enough space to sign King. While I would’ve loved to have seen more incoming business, which likely would’ve happened had Bernard left, the Toffees got someone useful in King and that is a relief after our second Newcastle stumble.
Ian - Loaning Bolasie (past his prime), Simms (U23), Branthwaite (congested CB position), Jonas Lossl (third-string GK at best), Tosun (never adapted to the Premier League), Baningime (U23) and Kenny (surplus defender with potential) to other clubs to get experience is totally fine with me — none of those players figured to feature heavily in the second half of the season.
My one quibble is the loan of Gordon, not because I think it will be bad for his career, more so that I would have liked for him to get more of a chance under Ancelotti than he did.
Calvin - The squad is finally getting to that 23-25 number that Brands has previously said he wants to have. Unfortunately, some of the departures are only temporary with loan deals, but it’s a start and sets up a platform for a big summer where the club can start upgrading some key positions.
Is Josh King what this team needed, and under the circumstances could/should the club have done more?
Matthew - He seems a panic buy, but if he helps us get into Europe then we’ll recoup what we spent on him, so the end would justify the means. And a short-term contract is much more sensible business than some of the deals Everton have done recently.
You can always say they should have done more but we’re not privy to the club’s finances and I’m sure they tried their best. At the end of the day, without wanting to go all Theresa May, no deal is better than a bad deal.
Pete - I’d say so. It’s not a glamourous signing, but he does provide us cover and an added threat from either the wing or up top. A spot on the right wing is still up for grabs, but if he can’t secure that, at least he should provide us with an attacking alternative from the bench when we need it.
Pat - He’s 29 and hasn’t had the best season so far, however, a year or two ago he had a top-notch partnership with Callum Wilson for AFC Bournemouth. I think he can easily find that same connection/form with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, and James Rodriguez around him. I think a player like King is exactly what Carlo Ancelotti was looking for so I’m pleased.
Zach - I know the club was also linked with Joshua Zirkzee and optically it feels wrong to sign a 29 year old when you had a chance at a 19 year old, but I think the King signing fits better with the club’s timeline. He’s more versatile, should settle in quicker and leaves the door open for a Moise Kean return.
Overall, probably best the club didn’t try to force any more signings than this during the January window because you don’t want to create a new bloated squad issue just as soon as you are fixing the old one.
Tom - Brands’ task in January was to make the team stronger while simultaneously reducing the wage bill in a horrendously difficult market to operate in. He has done just that. King is a solid if unspectacular signing but he is an upgrade on Tosun. Plus, being a short-term deal further reduces the risk and avoids the possibility of having yet another unwanted player stuck on the books.
Trent - While King has scored as much as the recently departed Tosun this season, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In a normal Josh King season, as we’ve seen from him before, he is a talented striker who can play across a front three as a real threat; other names would’ve been useful but likely not financially plausible at this time.
Ian - Not to harp on Moise Kean too much, but he would have been nice to have this season... anywho, I like the signing of King. He has Premier League experience, is a proven goal-scorer at the top level and offers quality depth up front should DCL need a break or get hurt (please let him stay healthy <knocks on wood>).
Calvin - The Blues inability to stretch opposing defences remains a weak point, and this is where King can really help the cause with his pace. Everton’s success this season has come from getting vertical quickly when they regain the ball, and the 29-year-old has the right skillset to do just that.
Chime in with your answers to the two questions in the comments below, always good to hear your thoughts as well!