Everton’s new Director of Football Kevin Thelwell and manager Frank Lampard have their hands full heading towards the summer transfer window, as they put together plans to reshape the squad. Despite efforts at improving the club’s situation with regard to compliance with the Premier League’s financial regulations over the previous twelve months, funds available for new signings remain limited. The Blues raised almost £6m from player trading and reduced the overall wage burden, but will be restricted in the transfer market without substantial sales from the existing first team. Some exits will be driven by internal requirements as Messrs. Thelwell and Lampard look to shift surplus players (those who are being paid out of proportion to their contribution), whereas others will be targets for other clubs, or actively pushing for a transfer.
Here I take a look at those who are most likely to be on the way out of Goodison Park this summer, ignoring potential loans or those whose contracts are due to expire anyway.
The big man is probably the Blues best central defender. Even last season, when he managed only 846 minutes of Premier League action, in those matches he played the full 90, Everton won three and drew three from eight. A small sample size, this is true, but reflective of his time at the club, in that his physicality, defensive savvy and spirited personality helps the team get better results. Valuable as he undoubtedly is, the Colombian international struggles to stay fit: in four completed seasons he has started 10, 25, 23 and 11 league matches - just 69 from a possible 152. Mina is one of Everton’s highest earners and is about to enter the final year of his contract. Reportedly there is interest in him from Italy and Lampard must decide whether to roll the dice and offer an extension, or to look to sell him now while he still retains some value.
The former Barnsley man has three years left to run on his contract and despite not being considered a first eleven player at the club, has actually started more league matches since the 2018-19 season than Mina. He offers some versatility as a stop-gap right back or defensive midfielder, but lacks desired size for a central defender and has been prone to concentration problems. Additionally, he has an unfortunate tendency to play lots of inaccurate long passes, which results in easy loss of possession. Holgate has attracted some glances from the likes of Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion in recent years, so the Blues could probably offload him should they wish to do so. His salary is relatively low, however, and the need for squad depth may convince decision-makers to retain him for now.
Unlike Holgate, the England international commands a fairly large salary and ticks only some of the boxes that Lampard and his staff wish for in a ball-playing centre half. Although competent on the ball, Keane is a liability operating in anything like a high defensive line, primarily due to a lack of agility and pace. He is strong aerially and reliable when playing a low-block setup, so his usefulness going forward depends entirely on how the team will be playing next season. Other factors, such as an apparent lack of confidence or leadership qualities (considering he is a veteran presence) are a concern. Rumours are circulating that the ex-Burnley man is being considered as a target by West Ham United and if true then a deal could prove tempting for the Everton boss as he looks to rebuild from the back.
Another who is entering the final year of his contract this summer, the Brazilian has often been left exposed in a central duo, or deployed too deep as a defensive midfield pivot, which is not really his game. Signed from Napoli two years ago, at his best he is a tenacious tackler and active presser of the ball, when used slightly further up the pitch in a three man midfield. Now 31, a relative lack of pace and defensive positioning can be exposed when the formation and game plan is not ideal. There’s been persistent links of a return to Italy with Lazio over the past few weeks and with Allan commanding strong wages the club may be tempted to explore the market in order to raise some funds and also to trim the wage bill.
The 28-year old midfielder has a deal that runs until June 2024 and as one of the club’s highest earners, his future must be in doubt, considering how little game time he has seen under Lampard. After the new boss arrived, Gomes started only three league matches and in his last appearance was hauled off at half time, as the Blues trailed against Crystal Palace. The Portuguese is estimated to command a salary in excess of £100k pw and given his lack of minutes last season and indifferent performance levels, a route away from Goodison Park must be being mapped out by Thelwell and the manager. No firm links to other clubs have been forthcoming, though a move to a less physical league such as Spain, Portugal or Italy would probably suit the player. A loan, or permanent transfer for a low fee seems most likely, possibly with the Blues having to make a contribution to his wages.
Everton will almost certainly need to sell one of their prized assets this summer, in order to fund incoming players and the Brazilian is probably the most in-demand with interest from English and European clubs. The forward is a huge fan favourite, but most will understand his desire to test himself at the highest levels of the game, given he’s largely trod water for four years at Everton and has just turned 25. He’s been one of the Blues’ best performers since joining back in 2018 and even in what was a subpar season for him, he still ended up hitting ten league goals for an awful team, including six in his last nine matches when Everton’s Premier League status was on the line. Richarlison is not pushing for an exit, but the club will certainly negotiate should serious offers for his services come in (as seems almost certain) and would surely be demanding figures of £60m and above.
Verdict: sell (reluctantly)
A year ago, it appeared that the England man would be the subject of major bids by the time the 2021-22 season ended, so much had his profile risen. After all, he’d fired home 29 league goals in 59 games across the previous two campaigns and broken into the international setup, even if he’d only been a bit-part player at the European Championships. Everton figured to have their resolve to keep hold of the striker tested. Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way as the Yorkshireman experienced a season wrecked by injury, most seriously a major thigh problem that sidelined him for four months and disrupted his eventual return, in January with recurring niggles. He eventually ended his own personal frustration by scoring the winner - via a diving header - in Everton’s critical penultimate match against Palace. The forward is still very much in demand, being linked with Arsenal and Newcastle United, so the Blues will have to consider any approaches should a sizeable fee in the region of £50m manifest.
Verdict: sell (reluctantly)
The wantaway striker has spent the past two seasons away from his parent club: first at PSG, then last season at Juventus on a two year loan, with an obligation to buy at its conclusion. After impressing in France, the Italian has found it hard going back at his old club, scoring only five goals in 32 Serie A appearances, 12 as a starter. He was largely utilized as a substitute after the high-profile signing of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January and as a result rumours have emerged that the Italian giants are attempting to renegotiate the terms of his eventual move from Merseyside. Most likely, they will offer a reduced fee this summer - a year before the obligation to buy kicks in - and probably offload him to another club immediately. Whether this proves tempting to Everton will depend on the size of the sum offered, as an unexpected windfall during this transfer window would give Lampard and Thelwell a chance to strengthen the squad now, rather than in 12 months’ time.