During the summer there is little football on, except for the meaningless pre-season friendlies. For the fans who don’t want to pay money to watch these, all we have to get excited about (or not) our clubs is the on going transfer window. Twitter is both at it’s best and at it’s worse during this period. The best is when you get people panicking and shouting at random board members for not signing anyone, and the now annual meltdown when something actually happens. The worst is the petty arguments that fans get into over players that almost always end up in stupid insults, which achieve nothing. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning the countless “ITK” accounts who know no more than your local paper boy.
This window has been no different, I’ve seen fans desperately trying to sell off their deadweight, desperately trying to buy players from other clubs and other ones linking their clubs to random players just by saying they should sign this guy or this one. It’s difficult to know which sources to trust, especially when they are in the media. The difficulty of being a sports journalist is you can be told one thing, print it and if it doesn’t happen you look like you’ve lied. Or if it does, it could quite easily have simply been an educated guess. This article won’t pretend to be ITK, and while I’ll be touching upon the rumours – I certainly won’t add any! I just wanted to have a little round up of what’s happened so far and add my opinions on certain events. I’ll certainly update the confirmed section, and possibly the rumours too (if there’s a good one)
The easiest place to start is with what deals have already been confirmed. Nothing is confirmed until @Everton tweet it, so nothing will appear here until that happens!
- Sylvain Distin (free)
- Antolin Alcaraz (free)
- Christian Atsu (loan ended)
- Aaron Lennon (loan ended)
- David Henen (loan ended)
- Green, Langton, Lundstram, McLaughlin (all youth players released)
- Chris Long (undisclosed)
So, as we all knew, Distin and Alcaraz’s Everton careers came to an end this summer as we refused to offer them new deals. Alcaraz is still available while Distin has since joined Bournemouth, which is a good move for both parties I think. Bournemouth get an experienced premier league defender, while Distin gets to stay in the top flight. Another player to join Bournemouth is Atsu, who has gone to the south coast on a season-long loan. Lennon has returned to Tottenham to train with the youngsters and wait to be sold while we also released some youth players. We’ve sent a few players out on loan, the biggest Luke Garbutt has gone to Fulham for the season.
No-one else left before the end of the window, despite the John Stones saga. There was a very late bid for Steven Naismith from Norwich but it was so late in the window we had no time for a replacement and so rejected it. I for one am delighted Naismith is staying, he’s one of my favourite players at Everton.
- Tom Cleverley (free)
- Gerard Deulofeu (£4.3m)
- David Henen (undisclosed)
- Mason Holgate (undisclosed)
- Leandro Rodriquez (undisclosed)
- Ramiro Funes Mori (£9.5m)
- Aaron Lennon (undisclosed)
I think our interest in Tom Cleverley was the worst kept secret in football. We were always going to get him on a free this summer, and for me it’s a good deal. He’s an England international with Champions League experience that can play in a number of problem positions for us. Martinez got the best out of him at Wigan and we all hope he can do the same again at the Blues. The biggest surprise was signing Deulofeu on a permanent deal (admittedly with a buy-back clause for Barcelona). I’m delighted to see the Spaniard back, he mesmerised the Premier League last time he was here and we missed him badly last year. He knows he needs to kick on, and we can help him do exactly that. Henen is a young Belgian striker who will probably go out on loan again but clearly did enough last year on loan with us to persuade Martinez to buy him. Probably the best news was the signing of a new deal by Luke Garbutt, we were all relieved he didn’t leave.
Between the 3rd July and 12th August, there was a long lull in transfer activity at Goodison Park. Frustration grew amongst the fan base as target after target passed us by and we were seemingly blowing our chance to strengthen. The new season started and four days later we signed a young Barnsley right-sided centre back (Holgate). Not exactly the marquee signing the fans desired but a decent prospect none the less! On the 28th August, 4 days before the window shut, we signed 22 year old unknown Uruguayan striker Leandro Rodriquez. Then, on deadline day, we completed deals for Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori and Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon.
Deulofeu, Cleverley and Lennon are good additions but everyone else is relatively unknown. It’ll be intriguing to see how Holgate and Henen develop, as well as how Rodriques and Mori fit and adapt into English football. I’m reserving judgement until I’ve seen them play however Tim Vickerey, BBC’s chief South American correspondent, isn’t convinced. Either way, what’s done is done – as a fan you just have to trust the manager! The most disappointing news from this window is we haven’t signed a number 10, a role which Martinez pointed out as crucial before the window began.
What we need: The priority has to be a couple of centre-backs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if it is for Martinez, as the rumours seem to have dried up. At the moment we only have Jagielka, Stones, Browning and Galloway, with the last couple not being ready to play regularly in the PL. Once that’s sorted, we should start looking for another striker and possibly another winger, as we are likely to lose at least one wide man. Our strike options consist of Lukaku, Kone and McAleny. Yeah, it doesn’t inspire confidence in me either! As most windows, I would quite like another right back, albeit not essential until Tony Hibbert retires. Luckily, we seem to be pretty well stocked over the rest of the park – although maybe we should look into replacing Tim Howard.
Leaving: Let’s begin with the more depressing side of the window. Firstly, there’s nowhere else to start except with John Stones. Subject of a £20 million bid from Chelsea that got rejected, Chelsea have since acted like every big club would. Mourinho moaned about smaller clubs twisting the market to suit them, which to be honest he isn’t wrong about – it just smacks of sour grapes, and then Gary Cahill tapped Stones up in the media by claiming it was an opportunity he couldn’t miss. I don’t know if Cahill did anything wrong but even if he did, the media wouldn’t care – it’s Chelsea! Stones is the best English centre-back playing his trade at the moment, potentially of all time. Chelsea are desperate to sign him this window, as they know that with the new TV deals City will blow them out of the water next summer. If we hold firm this summer, that 20 mill could quickly become somewhere close to 60, especially if he has a good Euro’s.
Moving onto the wingers, Aiden McGeady and Kevin Mirallas. I have to say, I think one will leave this summer – likely to be McGeady. Sunderland and Celtic both want the Irish international, which has led some newspapers to lead with the potential of a bidding war for our number 7. While this hasn’t happened, it would be for the best of his career if he left. It hasn’t happened for him at Goodison and he would be best suited going somewhere else. Personally, I hope it’s Celtic – you never want your ex-player coming back to haunt you. Strangely enough, Mirallas seems less likely to leave now. The interest around him from Tottenham seems to have cooled, and with only West Ham left I can’t see him exiting. Furthermore, it appears we’ve activated the extra season clause on his contract so we will have one more year of the Belgian. He will probably leave with Stones next summer, unless something drastic happens this season.
Another two players permanently linked with moves away from Goodison are James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman. Coleman was linked with United until they signed a different right back and now I’d be very surprised if Seamus left. I would be less surprised if McCarthy did. With Tottenham and Manchester City interested, we have a fight to hold him. I expect we will, especially now City have signed Delph, but you just never know with football. Those two are ones to watch.
What about the rest of our side? I imagine Lukaku has another year or two here, Barkley had a bad season so doesn’t seem to be attractive enough anymore (football is so fickle!) and Baines/Jagielka are too old now. If we get a goalkeeper and a striker in, I don’t think any of us would mind seeing Howard and Kone leaving but apart from that, it would be best to keep the squad together. Gibson signed a new deal, hence keeping him with the Toffees.
Coming in: This is going to be difficult to write about, as we have, like every club, linked with almost every player on the planet. It sometimes is really tricky to filter out the dud rumours from the ones with substance but using sources on twitter you can trust (are there any?) and the rumours that keep cropping up, it can be done. Let’s start with the ones that have already failed: Dann, Ogbonna and Wijnaldum. The latter was just a last minute enquiry, moments before he signed for Newcastle so I don’t think it was serious interest. Ogbonna signed for West Ham, thanking Everton for being gentlemen in his first quotes as a Hammer, suggesting we had serious interest. From what I’ve read, it was the price tag which put us off the former Juventus centre back. Scott Dann’s price tag also removed our interest from the Palace man, confirmed when he signed a new deal at Selhurst Park.
The rumour that just refuses to go away is Xherdan Shaqiri. Apparently unsettled at Inter Milan, he refused a move to Stoke. There’s been a number of various lines on this one, for example I’ve heard he doesn’t like the PL, that he would prefer to play in it, that he will join Schalke, that he wants to come to Everton and that he’s said goodbye to his Inter team-mates. It’s impossible to know what to believe, and probably none of that is true! He’d be an incredible signing if we can pull it off, plugging a hole in the left side of midfield. Another one that won’t go away is David Ospina, Arsenal’s goalkeeper. Arsenal have just signed Cech, so it makes sense that Ospina will leave. The man himself has said that Everton would be a good club to sign for, a refreshing change from a player at a bigger club. I would like it to happen but don’t expect it to, also there are bigger priorities.
As I mentioned earlier, all is quiet on the centre back front. The only names seem to be Vidic and Evans. Apparently we made a bid for Evans, but according to Martinez we were never interested. I don’t believe a word Martinez says on transfers, he refuses to unsettle players at other clubs so tends to deny every bit of speculation. Vidic is just paper talk at the moment, but he would bring a lot of experience to our side and wouldn’t be a bad move. I would like both, I expect us to get neither though! If we do sign a centre back (I’m not entirely convinced we will) it will be a name that hasn’t been mentioned yet.
We’re being linked with loans for two Barcelona youngsters. I suppose this would be inevitable every summer, with Martinez being a proud Catalan and now our two clubs have a close relationship (hey, there are worse sides to be pally with!). Adama Traore is also wanted by Stoke, and they appear to be favourites but we appear to be the only ones in for Sergi Roberto. I’m not sure Roberto, a central midfielder, is what we need but Barcelona youngsters are never bad players so I won’t complain!
Eventually, Adama Traore went to Aston Villa and we were linked with a new set of players. Firstly, two South Americans – Rogelio Fumes Mori and Leandro Rodriquez both should sign before Deadline Day. We were also heavily linked with Andriy Yarmolenko, indeed Martinez confirmed we were in for him, although he’s since been quoted as saying that he’s staying put at Dynamo Kyiv at least until January. Whether we try and resuscitate that deal or not remains to be seen. Martinez is clearly looking for a number 10, given that we’ve also been linked with Bernard and Januzaj. I expect either one of those or Aaron Lennon to happen before bank holiday Monday.
As the summer develops, I expect many more stories and rumours to appear on the Internet. In fact, I’ve hardly scratched the surface in this article of what has happened already! When a club is in transition, as we are, a lot of articles are written about a lot of players. Agents trying to get a new contract for their players feed some, some are genuine and some are made up. Any that I think are genuine; I will put up on this article. Whatever happens, this is bound to be an interesting summer at Goodison Park!