It was almost breathless at times as name after name kept getting linked with Everton. In the end, the sum total for a very hectic Transfer Deadline Day was a new manager named, two players brought in for the first team while a youngster was signed for the Under-23s with another going out on loan.
The official confirmation that Frank Lampard would be Everton’s sixth permanent manager in six years was long overdue, but it eventually came through midway through the day, setting off a frenzy of transfer rumours.
The former Chelsea midfielder looked poised and confident in his first Everton interview, striking a balance between appeasing the fans and envisioning his own goals for the experienced coaching staff he has assembled. The appointment of Lampard brought to an end a 15-day process that was equal parts chaotic and comical as one after another managerial candidates either distanced themselves from the Toffees or discounted themselves through a combination of ineptitude or inexperience.
There was even a rallying call for unity from majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri, who used the opportunity to pat the Board on its collective back while showing support for embattled chairman Bill Kenwright.
As the day progressed, it became clear that Lampard was only really pursuing two main targets, and both were midfielders cut from the same cloth as himself. In the end, using some creative accounting the Toffees were able to bring both in.
Manchester United midfielder Donnie van de Beek joined the Toffees on loan, with Everton committing to paying his wages for the remainder of the season, reportedly £120,000 per week which is the same as what Lucas Digne was making on Merseyside. Crystal Palace were also interested in the Dutchman, but it appears the draw of playing for Lampard plus the intervention of his countrymen Dennis Bergkamp and Johnny Heitinga sealed the deal for the Blues.
Things then got worse for the Eagles, as another one of their targets got hijacked by Everton. Dele Alli has fallen out of favour in successive regimes at Tottenham, and Lampard swooped in to convince the player to join his revolution at the Toffees instead. However, the question still remained, how would Everton pay for the player considering they had maxed out their loans quota for the season and could not spend any more money due to Premier League Profit & Sustainability rules?
Enter some crafty conditional clauses that will see Everton get the versatile midfielder for free for now, with £10 million due when he plays 20 games, and then other escalators and add-ons that will kick in for the duration of his two-and-a-half year contract which could eventually become about £40m. Put it this way, he and Everton will have done very well for that transfer fee to be reached - we’re talking qualification for Europe and Golden Boot consideration levels, in which case £40m will seem a pittance.
Amidst all that were some rumours that the Blues were trying to secure a couple of loans from abroad which they were still allowed to pursue. Former manager Carlo Ancelotti sanctioned the loan of striker Luka Jovic, but Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez appeared to nix that move. Former Blues midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye was linked with a shock (and very welcome) return to Merseyside, but that didn’t really seem to have legs.
The Toffees even found some time in between all that to send out teenager Lewis Warrington on loan while bringing in a youngster that has fallen out of favour to bolster the goalkeeping ranks in the Under-23s - England youth international Billy Crellin.
So, all in all a most productive January transfer window that sees the Blues add five players in total for the first team, while losing one experienced left back.
Welcome to Everton, Frank Lampard, over to you now.
CONFIRMED EVERTON JANUARY TRANSFERS
Transferred - Lucas Digne (Aston Villa)
Loaned - Ellis Simms (Heart of Midlothian)
Released - N/A
Transferred - Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kiev), Nathan Patterson (Glasgow Rangers), Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Loaned - Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa), Donny van de Beek (Manchester United)