It promised so much. But where did it go wrong?
Well, it isn’t often that Evertonians agree on everything, but last night and today, I think we’re struggling to find a blue who thought Everton had a transfer window in line with their expectations.
These were heightened expectations, given the promised investment from new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
The ‘Mersey Billionaires’ we bragged, ‘we’re f***ing rich’ we sang and we danced at Villa. We gave it the big one to fans of other clubs, mere underlings of the new Everton.
Of course, who could forget, Everton were dreadful when Moshiri came in, Roberto Martinez led a talented squad down hill in a sleepwalk with a smug smile on his face and sunshine and rainbows splurging out of his gob. But, when he was finally shown the door, hope sprang eternal.
The season ended nicely under Unsworth and weeks later, whilst we were all yawning watching the Euros, the transfer window creaked ajar. Ready for our advance, Everton’s splash into the big time, when there’d be no more scratching about for the unwanted and those at last chance saloon. We were to be blowing everyone out of the water and not caring at all.
The fans bought into it. A record amount of season tickets were purchased, despite us having the worst home record in our 138 year history the season prior.
A new manager bought into it. A former top class player, managed all over Europe and had a decent job at Southampton where he was doing very well. But he upped sticks and signed into the new Everton vision. Ronald Koeman was Everton manager and on a rare break from his holidays, he said;
“I am very excited to be Everton manager. I believe in the club, in the team, in the fans and in our ability to achieve things in the future. Everton is a club with a great history and real ambition and it is a proud feeling for me to be part of what we want to go and do, together with the chairman and Farhad Moshiri.”
He was sold the vision and the next question was who else, which elite players could we look forward to seeing in royal blue. We scoured twitter, we cruised Everton forums, grown men were like kids at Christmas naming footballers we should sign.
There was Mata, after all he didn’t get on with new Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho and they’d already replaced him in the United squad. Couple that with Koeman’s history with the player at Valencia and it was a no-brainer, Mata was a blue.
Pelle looked decent at the Euros, he wanted out, he knew Koeman. He was our new target man. Van Dijk and Forster, just signed new deals at Southampton but Koeman knew them, we needed solidifying at the back and money was no object. They were blues, no bother.
The question was who else?
Well for who else, we obviously continued look to social media as of course that’s where you find people who know things. People who know people at the club; coaches next door neighbours, cleaners, ground staff, chefs, friends of players.. they’re all on social media and obviously they’re only too happy to divulge transfer targets.
And of course, whilst we know we shouldn’t, we buy it. We lap it up, somebody reads something and pass it off as their own at work and before you know it, he’s having a medical. Although he isn’t and 99% of the time he never will and we’ve not even looked at him.
The pre-season started and on it’s eve we announced the signing of Maarten Stekelenberg. An experienced goalkeeper, 33 years of age, a man who played in a world cup final (alongside Everton legend Jonny Heitinga) but left a bit of a sour taste as he was back up at Southampton last season.
Why should the new Everton take a player who was a xyz reject? (became a bit of a theme, that).
Pre-season started, first it was the non-Euros/Copa America lads. Then everyone was back, but where were the exciting signings? Call me old-fashioned but I like new players to have a pre season to settle in and find their feet.
Excuses were rife and ok they were valid; ‘Koeman is assessing the squad, some are only just back, he’s never worked with them before’, ‘Koeman doesn’t know what he’s got in the academy, do you want Davies missing out?’ and ‘We want a director of football before we sign players’ being a few prevalent ones.
The director of football finally came. It wasn’t Monchi. It wasn’t Overmars. It was Steve Walsh, fresh off the title winning crusade at Leicester. Ready to lead the blues to glory with our ginger prince at the helm and our Iranian overlord writing cheques.
Steve Walsh was the man who unearthed gems such as Vardy, Mahrez, Essien, Kante among others. It smelled a bit like Moneyball, rather than Richie Rich but at the time, we were happy.
And if we weren’t happy at the time of our next signing, I think we’re all pleased with him on the early evidence. Idrissa Gana Gueye, relegated with Aston Villa, into the toffees midfield to be ‘our Kante’.
And anyway, what is it with ‘the new’ whenever a diminutive french defensive midfielder is good. Everyone was the new Makelele ten or fifteen years ago, now it’s Kante. Whatever. Gueye has started well and if he continues i’m happy with him to be Idrissa Gana Gueye, N’Golo can go and whistle.
Then, although he was obviously sold to Chelsea 12 months ago. Manchester City signed John Stones. It was always on the cards and to be honest, I wasn’t that bothered. The money at 47.5m was good and whilst he’ll no doubt be a top player one day, we’ve been crying out for a true defender.
Ashley Williams was the hero we deserved. Fresh off the plane from France where he’d ridden the dragon to the semi final, he came for a quarter of the Stones fee. Older, more experienced but a defender. A die hard, last of the corinthians defender. A leader. I’ll take him all day after the scars of the last two seasons.
Then came Yannick Bolasie. A player of strength, power, pace, trickery and a player Koeman wanted. For the money, I felt there were better out there, but he knows the league, offers something new and he’s exciting to watch. Screw it, it’s only part of the Stones money anyway.
We hadn’t even touched our reported 100m war chest afterall.
Immediately after Bolasie signed, Farhad Moshiri gave an interview to Sky Sports. He said he was pleased with Bolasie’s signing but he was ‘anxious’ to get more over the line. (Hmm.)
The links continued. Speculation about bids, the ITKs were booking medicals at empty hospitals. The signings didn’t come.
The 100m warchest.
The record season ticket sales.
The record TV money.
The 47.5m for John Stones and we hadn’t even spent the sum we received from the young defender’s sale.
Holes remained in the squad.
Why were we leaving it late? Why do we always leave it late?
For once, we had the money, we could supposedly blow other clubs out of the water if we wanted to. But we didn’t and weren’t willing to.
Now i’m saying we spend money for spending money’s sake, obviously but noises kept coming that we weren’t willing to pay this or we weren’t willing to pay that. It didn’t come across like we were making it rain and surely when you’re struggling and you’ve got it, there comes a time to raid the piggy bank?
Since deadline day has blown up as the yellow recent-day Jim White shit show, we’ve had deadlines where we signed nobody. Of course we all hoped back then we could produce that little loan deal or pick up bargains, but here we were, in our big summer doing the same.
This time we hoped for multiple big money moves. How often does that happen? It doesn’t. It was terrible that it had all came down to deadline day.
What did we need? Well, the manager said he wanted 3 keepers (we had 2), he was clearly looking at a box-to-box midfielder and another central defender. We all know we needed a striker to compete with Lukaku and the manager appeared to want another creative player based on links we knew of.
So that’s 5 that appeared to be on the wish list and it was frankly, always a tall order leaving it until deadline day, especially when the average Everton transfer seems to take around 3 weeks to conclude (a week of which being the SAS trial that we call a medical).
Predictably, there was talk of 3 big moves that were looking likely at times; Brahimi, Kone, Sissoko and 0 happened. As always, it was the hope that killed.
We loaned another reject Enner Valencia, with a view to a permanent deal of 14.5m (2.5m more than West Ham paid, despite him being a reject, go figure).
So I immediately asked, where does the blame lie? Which clown has been driving transfers, because clearly they’re struggling.
Was it Kenwright, Moshiri, Elstone, Ryazantzev, Walsh…?
Well, obviously, it was Bill Kenwright. We all knew it deep down but after some digging, this confirmed it –http://www.liverpoolecho.co.
The man clearly can’t negotiate. The man kept on Roberto Martinez a year too long and him and his right hand Elstone have have been behind countless calamities (but that’s another rant).
How many of our signings were key players that clubs didn’t want to lose? I’d say 1. Williams and was allowed to come probably due to some loyalty Swansea felt they owed to the player for his outstanding service.
How many of our signings weren’t unopposed? 1. Enner Valencia was wanted by Swansea.
So what about the players who were wanted by other clubs? Well, obviously they went elsewhere. The Perez and Sissoko transfers being probably the most obvious examples.
How about if a club really, really, really didn’t want to let them go? Did we just pay whatever was required? No. We had a price and we stuck to it. Blow them out of the water you ask? Don’t make me laugh (Mersey Billionaires, right?).
Where was the strategy?
Surely there were 2 options, given our lack of european football to offer. We go massive with money and leave nothing to chance, lacing pockets left and right or, we get players who’ll improve the squad but won’t leave us jumping for joy. With those we signed, it was the latter, but that was shelved searching for the elusive big fish.
Why were we turning our noses up at the likes of Bony and Remy on loan, but going for Valencia? It was desperation.
England’s number 1 wouldn’t have had to move from where he lived to join us, it was all so simple, but we didn’t want to know. Yet we seemed to have nobody on the back burner. The likes of Konoplyanka and Nasri went on loan, surely they could’ve done a job for us?
And i’m not even talking about transfers. These are loans, as risk free as football deals come.
Ok, it’s not a disastrous window. Don’t get me wrong. But this was it. This was our big window. It’s been underwhelming and that’s all I can say.
Now we just hope for luck with injuries and make sure we’re near the top 6 come January and we dive back into the market. Properly, this time and also, with the window shut, let’s hope sure we’re negotiating behind the scenes. Not just resting on it and hope to get it all done in January. Line up some moves and get them in come 1st Jan when no doubt we’ll be gripped by the annual Christmas injury crisis.
I’m keeping the faith, but for absolute feck’s sake. Sort out the way we do transfers will you, Farhad. Put Bill out to stud in a ceremonial role and be done with it.
Oh, and a stadium on the docks will be nice.
Do you agree with BlueRinse?
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