With the summer transfer window upon us, it’s a good time to ask if Everton need to review what they have on their hands first and foremost before casting envious glances elsewhere as far as players to add to the squad.
In the first of two parts, we start by looking at the Blues’ midfield, which somehow is clogged with options without actually providing any permanent solutions beyond Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, both signed over the last summer.
The Royal Blue Mersey crew got together to discuss whether the Toffees should Keep, Extend or Sell a list of ten players whose names often come up in transfer chatter. Below are the players in question with their current ages and when their contracts expire, starting today with the midfielders and we’ll look at the forwards tomorrow.
Fabian Delph - 31 years old, contract ends 2022
Matthew: Sell. Just hasn’t worked out for him. Best for all parties if he has a fresh start elsewhere.
Pat: Keep. While I don’t think he should be anywhere near the starting 11, I believe he provides some much-needed depth.
Pete: Sell. There’s a decent player there, but his body just can’t handle it. If anyone wants him, let’s get the wages off the books.
Tom: Sell. Brought in to provide depth and leadership, Delph has provided neither. You can’t blame him for getting injured of course, but Everton knew what his fitness record was like when they signed him. Fortunately, he did not cost a big transfer fee though his wages are hefty enough. As a result, it may be difficult to move him on before his contract expires.
Brian L: Sell. Enough said here.
Trent: Sell. The former Manchester City midfielder has not been anywhere near his previous form since coming to Merseyside; his departure is vital to clearing wages and depth.
Ian: Extend. Delph isn’t the most exciting player, but there’s one simple reason why I vote to extend him: versatility. The injuries are an issue, but if the 31-year-old can stay fit, he can be a swiss army knife player.
Calvin: Sell. Surely there’s a Championship side or a newly promoted Premier League team that can be conned into believing he will be bringing leadership and maturity into the dressing room, much like Everton did.
Gylfi Sigurdsson 31 years old, contract ends 2022
Matthew: Sell. Did much better last season but I still just feel he detracts from Everton’s play more than he adds. 32 in September, slow and at times passive, and on too much money to justify using as a bit-part player. Credit to him for improving in 2020-21, but Sigurdsson is a player I personally think we should just move on from.
Pat: Keep. I think Gylfi had a decent season and wouldn’t mind him sticking around a little while longer.
Pete: Sell. Can definitely be a useful squad player, but shouldn’t be a regular starter. If an MLS side wants to throw a few quid our way, let’s take it.
Tom: Extend. Controversial I know but I would extend Gylfi’s contract. Financially it would makes sense because we can then spread his initial transfer fee over a longer period and therefore help the balance sheet. I am also uncertain whether anyone would pay a decent enough fee or offer the same level of wages. I also think he still could make an impact on the team, albeit as a squad player.
Brian L: Sell. At this point we need to get younger and faster in the midfield, he’s had some good moments but he’s not the future and really not even the present.
Trent: Keep/Sell. While the Icelandic international had a bounce back season his advanced age leaves questions that mean that extending him might not be the wisest endeavor; sell if a good offer exists otherwise let him remain.
Ian: Extend. Only if it doesn’t break the bank. At 31, Sigurdsson isn’t getting any younger, but he did contribute six goals and five assists to the cause last season. He won’t beat anyone with pace, but he can still be a useful player in the middle of the pitch.
Calvin: Extend. Had a long hard think about this one - offer him a two-year extension in return for a reworked lower wage to reflect his lessening importance in the side. The Icelander is a consummate professional on and off the pitch and could be a good role model for younger players in the side as well as an important depth piece.
Tom Davies 22 years old, contract ends 2023
Matthew: Keep. Wouldn’t extend yet, but 2020-21 was Davies’ best season yet. He really turned a corner under Ancelotti as a deeper midfielder; here’s hoping he can continue that progression during the next manager’s tenure.
Pat: Keep. He still has some inconsistency issues, but has shown his quality and I think he’ll be around for a while.
Pete: Extend. A useful squad player and possibly an important first team player in the future if he can find some consistency. Crazy that he’s still only 22 as it feels like he’s been around forever.
Tom: Extend. Extend to protect his value. Davies is still only 22 so there is room for improvement, even if he maybe lacks the potential to become a top Premier League player. A decent loan where he will play every week in the same position - two things he has lacked so far in his career - may be just what he needs at this stage of his career.
Brian L: Keep. I like a lot of what he did, but he needs to show it long-term and continue to be more consistent.
Trent: Extend. The young defensive midfielder has passion and will continue to learn as he grows, assuming he can get a few solid seasons under one manager of course. Don’t let him off Merseyside now.
Ian: Sell. Personally, I have never been a fan of Davies. He always plays a step behind the game, gives possession away too easily and constantly seems to be making clumsy tackles. He was linked with Southampton last season, so maybe Everton can cash in on the former Academy player.
Calvin: Keep. I thought he had more good than bad moments last season and for a 22-year-old that’s not a bad thing. He is a cost-controlled, homegrown resource, we shouldn’t be in a hurry to get rid.
Andre Gomes 27 years old, contract ends 2024
Matthew: Sell. Terribly sad to say but he just offers nothing. Other than chiseled good looks and (presumably) a warm hug.
Pat: Sell. I don’t think he has been the same since his injury. He tends to be invisible sometimes in the middle of the park and while I don’t think the club will sell him, I think it’s best for both parties for him to move on.
Pete: Keep. In the unlikely event that a good bid comes in, take it, but can still be a useful squad player for us.
Tom: Sell. Pains me to say it. Gomes has struggled to live up to his early hype and that horrible injury looks to have robbed part of his game forever.
Brian L: Sell. He’s had some decent years and some ugly ones. If Gbamin is truly healthy I could see keeping him, but otherwise Gomes is a traffic cone with the occasional great game.
Trent: Sell. The former Barcelona man has seen his production decrease over the years. Easy choice.
Ian: Sell. Gomes has a pretty nice soccer resume, with stops at Valencia, Barcelona and now Everton, but the Portuguese midfielder seems too slow for the Premier League. Zero goals and one assist in 28 league fixtures doesn’t exactly scream, “give me a new contract.”
Calvin: Sell. The analytics folks have been screaming for years about his lack of output and now we’ve seen that even surrounded with better talent like Allan, Doucoure and James Rodriguez the Portuguese midfielder still cannot elevate his game.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin 25 years old, contract ends 2024
Matthew: Keep. Just. Selling him would be really harsh given he’s played three times in two years, but I do wonder if we’ll ever see the best of Gbamin again after his dreadful injury problems. Need to see more before making a proper judgement.
Pat: Keep. Hasn’t really had any time to prove himself, but if injury issues continue, have to get rid of him fast (if any club is willing to take the risk).
Pete: Keep. There’s no point selling him, so let’s cross our fingers and hope he can get a full pre-season behind and we can actually see if he’s any good.
Tom: Keep. The guy has had rotten luck with injuries but by all accounts there is a decent player in there. He will hopefully have a full pre-season this summer so should be ready to start the season. Then we can truly assess his long-term future in 12 months’ time.
Brian L: Keep. His age and contract means we should keep him, we just shouldn’t plan everything around him being available.
Trent: Keep. Injuries have completely derailed Gbamin’s career. Whatever his value might’ve been, it is no more; maybe the next boss can help resurrect his career at Goodison Park.
Ian: Keep. If he had a shorter contract, I’d say sell, although I’m not sure that any team would actually want to sign him. Thankfully for Gbamin, he’s signed for another three years and is only 25. I wish him nothing but a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the pitch at some point.
Calvin: Keep. He’s young-ish and still under contract for three more years at reasonable wages. Besides, doubt he has much value in the transfer market right now not having played for ages.