Before I crack on with my grades for these signings, let me briefly explain my criteria. For each transfer, I will take into account the fee, how the player improves the current squad in the short-term, and the player’s prospective impact in the long-term before giving it a grade. I will also be factoring in the club’s current circumstances. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it.
Everton’s first signing of the season, James Tarkowski, has played every minute of the Toffees’ Premier League campaign thus far. He has immediately become a crucial squad member, especially considering the injuries to Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey in the season opener which showed just how important it was that Everton brought him in. Combine this with the fact that he came in for free with manageable wages, and it’s hard not to be positive about this move.
The signing of Conor Coady seems eerily similar to that of James Tarkowski. However, the former Wolves skipper arrived on a season-long loan which could be made permanent at the end of the season for around £10 million, should the club wish to activate that option. Regardless, Coady provides more cover for an injury-prone backline and has started all four league matches since coming to the club. I personally don’t think he’s quite as good as Tarkowski, which is why I’ll be grading him just below the former, but it’s still smart business from Everton which immediately improves the squad.
The first high-profile signing of the summer for Everton came in the form of Dwight McNeil, a player they had been sniffing around for multiple years. Due to Burnley’s relegation, the Toffees were able to pick up the young Englishman for cheaper than they were previously quoted; a final package with a lower initial fee but add-ons up to £20 million was agreed between the two clubs.
Although many Evertonians have been underwhelmed by him as a “Richarlison replacement”, I don’t view him in that way. In my eyes, this is a signing which will seek to get the best out of Dominic Calvert-Lewin by providing him with adequate service for the first time in a while. Obviously, DCL has been injured thus far this season, but I still expect McNeil and the big striker to link up effectively later this season and beyond.
Everton’s other incoming loan of the window was Ruben Vinagre from Sporting Lisbon, a Portuguese wing-back who had previously had a stint next to fellow arrival Conor Coady at Wolves. Like that of his former captain, Vinagre’s loan includes an option to buy, but as of now, he has not seen extensive game time due to the consistency and growth exhibited by Vitaliy Mykolenko on a weekly basis. However, once it became clear that Niels Nkounkou was not part of Lampard’s plans this season, left-back cover was a necessity, and this signing adequately fills that need.
This summer Everton made Belgium international midfielder Amadou Onana the third most expensive transfer in the history of the club, with the now 21-year-old penning a 5 year deal at the club. The deal, worth up to €40 million, was completed under the nose of West Ham, who had also agreed a fee with Lille. However, the player chose to come to Everton. Onana has been widely regarded as one of the most exciting midfield prospects across all of Europe, and although his short Everton career thus far has seen ups and downs, I think he significantly improves the current squad, will be a fantastic player for the club going forward, and could easily be sold for a profit in the years to come. This was some coup by Kevin Thelwell and company.
Due to the training injury that Dominic Calvert-Lewin sustained just a week before the beginning of the season, Frank Lampard has had to decide between playing Salomón Rondón at striker and playing no real striker at all thus far this season. As of now, he’s primarily opted for a front-three of McNeil, Gray, and Gordon all starting together, but hopefully he won’t be forced into playing without a recognized number 9 anymore. With a striker being the clearest hole in the squad, the club went and picked up Brighton’s Neal Maupay, a Premier League proven player who for one reason or another lost his place in Graham Potter’s side to a 31-year-old Danny Welbeck, a decision many Brighton fans seem very unhappy about.
Considering the Frenchman is still only 26, the £15 million fee that Everton had to pay seems very reasonable, and with DCL soon to return, one hopes the Toffees will have two more-than-adequate striking options available for the rest of the season.
Idrissa Gana Gueye
Three years on from his near £30 million move from Everton to Paris Saint-Germain, Senagalese International Idrissa Gana Gueye re-joins the blues for a fee rumored to be as low as £2 million. Since 2016, Gana has made over 150 more tackles than any other Everton player; a crazy stat when you consider that he hasn’t put on a royal blue jersey since 2019. We’re all well aware of what Gana can provide to Everton’s midfield; grit, determination, and of course, tackles. I’m very excited to see him partner up with the likes of Onana, Iwobi, and Garner this season, and I fully believe this was a great move from Everton considering the undoubted quality of the player and the insanely low price they got him for.
On deadline day, Manchester United midfielder James Garner became Everton’s eighth and final summer addition after signing a four-year deal with an option for a fifth. Although a buy-back clause was initially reported to be a part of the deal, we have since learned that there is instead a 15% sell-on clause included in the deal which could be worth up to £15.5 million in total. This yet again seems like an underpay for a player who was nothing short of brilliant for Nottingham Forest last season during their promotion campaign.
Although he likely won’t be a first-choice midfield option right away, the 21-year-old is a fantastic talent who probably shouldn’t have been sold by Manchester United in the first place, let alone for such a low figure. Although his impact likely won’t be felt the most this season, I expect him to become an important player for the Blues in the years to come.
So, what are your thoughts on my grades? Is there any signing I overrated or underrated? Let me know either in the comments below or on my Twitter, @ParrettGost! Thanks for reading.