Everton ended up without much incoming activity on transfer deadline day. While there was the promise of a number of players possibly coming in, the Blues were very effectively repudiated by pretty much every club they approached on the last day of the summer transfer window.
Late bids for Wilfried Gnonto, Harrison Reed, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Maxwell Cornet were declined, and that’s only the players we know about. There well may have been twice that number contacted for desperate loans that were also summarily rejected, even while clubs with half the fanbase of the Toffees celebrated bringing in prominent players from all over the continent.
Manager Sean Dyche had attempted to prepare the Blues for this, saying during Thursday’s pre-match press conference that the club would only be pursuing deals that made sense from a fiscal perspective. But even with at least one more domestic loan possible, the club chose instead to keep the wallet closed and not pay loan fees or additional wages for any more players.
That Alex Iwobi and Tom Cannon left the club bringing in close to £30 million and were not replaced only reopened recent wounds to blue hearts, still ailing from watching Richarlison and then Anthony Gordon leave in successive transfer windows and the funds carefully stashed away, wherever Jimmy Hoffa and The Arteta Money™ are buried.
In many respects, this was a disappointing end to the summer transfer window. Looking at it one way, Everton are worse off than they were last season, with a pretty poor start to the season and some significant deficiencies at key positions that were not addressed during the summer.
However, if I lean the other way, tilt my head at this particular angle and squint really hard, I am able to spot a sliver of light in the darkness that shows me a vision of a comfortable midtable finish during a season with minimal unsettling of the old cardiac unit. Once the squad settles in with the five new additions and gets into rhythm, Sean Dyche might yet get a tune out of them in key games. By those I don’t mean the regularly scheduled whippings at the top sides, but more so the games against the teams mired in the same mediocrity as us.
The problem is that those relegation rivals are taking more proactive steps to have a drama-free season than we have. Our utterly inept — and let’s face it, savagely self-destructive ownership — have prioritized using the meagre funds generated from player sales to pay for the new stadium and servicing debt instead of buying quality players to improve Everton Football Club.
That the Board continue to do so with such impunity and utter contempt is a failing of ours as a fanbase. Majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri came through on his promise of getting us a striker, only about seven months later than was needed. Is he expecting to be praised for that? And how about our good ol’ thespian president, Bill Kenwright, holding on to the fading dreams of the days of the old boys club like one clutching at the wispy mist. Bet he believes Luis Rubiales is a fine upstanding proponent of magnanimous manhood.
Even a smidgeon of transparency and accountability would have gone a long way to soothe the fans’ concerns, but no, there remains a desperate need to control any information pertaining to the running of the club.
On that note, a certain Kevin Thelwell doesn’t get a Get Out of Jail Free card here either. His predecessor at the Director of Football job gave up his Board position and walked away from the role when it became clear he was not being allowed to do what his position entailed. The former Wolves scouting legend took the job knowing exactly what it entailed, and who he needed to kowtow to. He’s made sure not to rustle any feathers in his time, and has toed the party line while doing just enough to keep himself employed.
Speaking of reciting from the hymn sheet, our manager Sean Dyche has made sure not to step on any toes in his brief tenure here. He’s certainly been paid handsomely for surviving relegation and taking over this poisoned chalice of a job with a number of different bosses looking over your shoulder at every step, and choosing not to do a Julen.
There is still
the sword of Damocles the ruling from the independent commission for an alleged breach of Premier League Profit and Sustainability rules hanging over Everton’s head, with a points deduction and/or transfer ban very real possibilities this season. As our brother in blue Sir Stevo Timothy so validly pointed out, you can’t take away any points from a team that has none! More to come on that, especially since that panel only meets in October and if we still have no points then we’ll have a whole other kettle of fish to address.
Back to the matter of the piece, which was to rant and rave about how the Toffees did little to resolve the key problems in the squad.
Behind Jordan Pickford in goal, are we really entrusting our survival to an unproven Joao Virginia? Dyche didn’t even trust him between the sticks against the bottom side in the entire Football League, and yet we are one Pickers injury away from watching Virginia attempting to keep us afloat. Yikes.
The central defence was a problem last season, with the perennially-injured Yerry Mina having to save us, and now we’re banking on a raw Jarrad Branthwaite to keep an aging but still dashingly handsome James Tarkowski company in a leaky defence. Behind them are ‘a one year older and therefore one year slower’ Michael Keane, and The
Artist Defender Formerly Known as Prince Ben Godfrey because whoever this person is we don’t really recognize.
Meanwhile, we will soon be the only club in the northern hemisphere to field two pensioners at one of the most demanding positions in the modern game, but hey, we’re doing great with succession planning at fullback aren’t we?
It would be unfair to speak about dashingly handsome footballers without mentioning Andre Gomes, and yes, we will get to enjoy that visage for yet another season because dang it, we weren’t able to get rid of that millstone of a contract yet. Hopefully Amadou Onana has learned enough in one year to cover for an increasingly error-prone Idrissa Gueye and cement-boots Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The wide positions and strike force are certainly in better shape though, will have to admit that. They might not have anyone to distribute the ball out wide or ping it into the box. but things will only get Beto, won’t they?
You could have scrolled straight down all the way here and saved yourself some time and heartache, but yes, Everton didn’t sign anyone on deadline day and now will go into a third straight relegation scrap desperately clutching their prayer beads that the injury gods smile favourably upon the Toffees so that we can continue to call ourselves a Premier League outfit next summer.
CONFIRMED EVERTON SUMMER TRANSFERS
Transferred - Moise Kean, Ellis Simms, Niels Nkounkou, Tom Cannon, Alex Iwobi
Loaned - Mason Holgate, Neal Maupay
Released - Yerry Mina, Tom Davies, Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend
End of Loan - Conor Coady, Ruben Vinagre
Transferred - Youssef Chermiti, Beto
Loaned - Arnaut Danjuma, Jack Harrison
Free Agent - Ashley Young