Several years of wasteful spending seems to have caught up with Everton this summer, with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules reportedly hamstringing the Toffees in the transfer market.
All the signs suggest any big-money arrivals will largely be dependent on sales, as the impending arrivals of Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray for a combined £1.5m will testify.
The squad is littered with players who either have no future at the club or are on substantial wages that their performances do not necessarily justify.
It all adds up to a tricky balancing act for Marcel Brands and Rafael Benitez as they look to strengthen the squad while simultaneously improving the balance sheet.
But who should they look to let go and why? We have taken a look at some of the candidates:
The Italy international looks to be the most saleable asset and one that could kick-start spending elsewhere. The 22-year-old struggled to make an impact during his first season in England but scored 17 goals on loan at PSG last year. The French side are keen to sign him again but a deal has yet to be reached, with rumours they would rather take the striker on another loan. Everton would likely reject that out of hand and rightly so, though you suspect this is all part of the game to try and haggle an acceptable fee.
There have been plenty of rumours suggesting Benitez is ready to move Mina on this summer. At 26 and with two years left on his contract the defender would command a decent fee, though he would also need replacing. I’m of the opinion that Mina is one of our better defenders and his sale would cause unnecessary disruption when there is plenty of rebuilding work to take place elsewhere. It will all come down to the numbers and the identity of any replacement, however.
It didn’t take long for Richarlison to be linked with a Carlo Ancelotti reunion at Real Madrid, though I am not sure it will happen just yet. The Brazilian is clearly fiercely ambitious and has previously been linked with Barcelona, though in this post-Covid world I’m not sure there are many clubs out there who could afford him at present. It would have to take a sizeable offer for Everton to part with the 24-year-old, who is a key cog in the side and would take some replacing. Benitez also said the forward has to “give us something back” after he was allowed to compete at the Olympics. I suspect that something is at least another year in royal blue.
There were always going to be doubts about James’ future as soon as Ancelotti departed, given Colombian freely admitted he was the principal reason why he moved to Goodison Park in the first place.
The 30-year-old is head and shoulders above the rest of the team in terms of natural ability, but his fitness is in question after a series of niggling injuries last season. Whether Benitez is prepared to indulge James like his predecessor remains to be seen, especially as he is one of the club’s top earners. It would be a huge disappointment to see him moved on so soon though, especially as Evertonians have yet to be given the chance to see him in the flesh.
The diminutive Brazilian has failed to make an impact in a Toffees shirt, despite the hype surrounding his free transfer signing in the summer of 2018. That lack of transfer fee means he is on considerable wages, so he stands out as a prime candidate to be moved on this summer. A move to the Middle East collapsed in January but there is talk of a deal being revived. He seems almost certain to leave Goodison Park in the coming weeks.
The Portugal midfielder is reportedly among a list of players being made available for sale as the club attempts to balance the books. Gomes impressed in his early appearances in a blue shirt, which led to the clamour for his permanent signing from Barcelona in the summer of 2019. However, he has struggled to make an impact since then, with that horrible ankle injury also seemingly having a permanent detrimental affect on his game. That will likely mean the list of clubs willing to buy him will be short, certainly at an acceptable price, so I suspect he will remain a Toffees player for now.
After scoring 21 goals for Everton and earning a place in the England Euro 2020 squad, it is little surprise media reports emerged linking Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a move away. Manchester United is the name mentioned, though I cannot see a deal happening any time soon. He is simply too important to the team and tied up to a long-term deal. Not for me, Clive.
The (relatively) small £8m fee means Fabian Delph does not make a huge dent on the balance sheet, though his high wages compared to the impact he has on the team means he is certainly on the list of players deemed expendable. Whether the club can find a buyer though remains to be seen. There is unlikely to be anyone out there prepared to match his wages and with just one year left on his deal, the former England international seems likely to remain at the club.
The Iceland midfielder has made more impact on the team that Delph, but arrived with that sky-high transfer fee and substantial wages. As another player entering the final year of his contract, the issue remains finding a club prepared to match his wages. It has also been suggested the club could extend his deal by a year to amortise his fee over a longer period and therefore help the bottom line. I’d await the social media reaction to that with interest, especially in the light of the rumours being spread over the weekend...
Yet another expensive purchase that has yet to work out. Iwobi at least has age on his side and is perhaps a victim of circumstance as he is now onto his third Everton manager in as many years and has rarely played in the same position for a significant run of games. However, it is hard to pick out more than a handful of games where he has impressed and I’m sure the club will be willing to sell should a decent bid come in.
Everton have been trying to get of Cenk Tosun for the past few transfer windows but a combination of high wages and two serious knee injuries have scuppered any chances of moving him on permanently. The Turkey international is unlikely to return to full fitness until around November, by which time he will have a little over six months left on his contract. I don’t think he is going anywhere any time soon, unfortunately.
Jonjoe is another who is up for sale this summer should a buyer be out there. The Liverpool-born defender has made just four Toffees appearances in two years having had spells out on loan at Schalke and Celtic, though neither side pursued a permanent deal and he returns to Goodison knowing the club are actively looking for a new right-back.
With just 12 months left on his contract a move away is probably the best option for all concerned, though it once again rests on find a willing buyer.