If the speed at which Everton do their transfer business is anything to go by, then nothing at the football club has changed just yet.
I wrote that a couple of weeks ago, and while the overall speed of Everton’s transfer business has still been relatively slow, the club certainly greased the wheels and slammed down on the accelerator in the final few hours of the transfer window.
As well as having concluded the transfers of Richarlison and Lucas Digne in the past few weeks, Everton successfully ramped up their transfer business on deadline day, getting deals for Bernard, Yerry Mina, André Gomes and Kurt Zouma over the line.
It’s been ten weeks since Marco Silva was appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor as Everton manager, a similar amount of time since Marcel Brands joined the club as Director of Football, and both men have already moved to improve the club’s squad depth while also shifting plentiful amounts of deadwood.
The Toffees haven’t shied from heavy outward investment this summer, with many rumours leading up the window suggesting that owner Farhad Moshiri was aiming to be closer to ‘wheeling and dealing’ this window than once against breaking the bank through heavy expenditure.
This hasn’t been the case at all, with the Iranian business all too happy to back his new manager to the fullest extent that his wealth would allow. For that reason, Silva will certainly be reasonably happy come the opening game of the season, having been able to strengthen considerably in areas he deemed fit to do so.
Jordan Pickford and Maarten Stekelenburg as Everton’s two first-team goalkeepers show that the club have strength between the sticks. Both international net-tenders, the former World Cup finalist Stekelenburg is more than capable if required, while highly regarded talent João Virginia has been brought in as one for the future.
The Blues finally brought to an end their long running quest to bring in a left-back, capable of both contesting Leighton Baines for a first-team spot and becoming his heir apparent in the long-term.
Lucas Digne certainly represents that, with the £20million signing from Barcelona a smart acquisition with one eye on the present and one eye on the future. As is the signing of Digne’s former teammate Yerry Mina, who also joins from Barcelona, costing £28.5million.
Having moved on Ramiro Funes Mori and Ashley Williams, Everton had needed central defensive reinforcements, with the senior trio of Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate not enough to carry the club through to January. The 23-year Colombia international had appeared to some to cost too much money, but off the back of a successful World Cup where he scored three times, including against England, Mina is certainly viewed as a prospective Premier League superstar in the making.
Kurt Zouma has also been brought in as a further addition to Everton’s backline. On a loan deal from Chelsea, the former Stoke loanee will offer the club more strength and speed at the back, which is greatly needed as it stands. Everton’s fourth deadline day signing, Zouma caps off a very successful final day of business.
Everton effectively bolstered their midfield this summer, which is another huge positive. André Gomes adds to the already packed midfield options of Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy and Tom Davies, as well as developing young player Beni Baningime, while needless players like Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney were moved on for the benefit of all parties.
Gomes, while having failed to live up to expectations with Barcelona, will be given the time to realise his potential at Goodison Park, and will hopefully thrive under Silva’s specific style of football.
Out in the channels, the best signing Everton made was in keeping Ademola Lookman at the club. The 20-year old winger-cum-wide-forward appeared to be disillusioned, having been farmed out to RB Leipzig by Allardyce last January.
While the Bundesliga side wanted the former Charlton Athletic man back in Germany, and Lookman was interested in a switch, it was integral that Everton made sure to keep the talented starlet on Merseyside, and so credit must be given to the club for refusing to enter negotiations with Leipzig.
Bernard signing on a free deal after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk this summer has also been considered a major coup – in the sense that Everton aren’t usually able to beat out other major sides when a good player becomes available on a free.
The Brazil international, who was at the 2014 World Cup, will offer Everton genuine creativity in midfield, which is something the club have lacked for so long. Paired with the £35million deal for Richarlison, signed to Watford last summer by Silva himself, Everton now have pace and skill going forward, which should hopefully aid the club’s strike-force.
While Everton weren’t able to add to their attacking unit, instead relying on Cenk Tosun, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse this season, the considerable strengthening done across the board has lessened these worries, which are sure to be addressed in January.
Overall, the club were capable of meeting the demands the squad set out. Where there were holes, the club plugged them. Where improvements in quality were needed, the club were able to provide alternative options. While the window wasn’t ‘perfect’, it was a very good attempt, and regardless of the result against Wolves on Saturday, Evertonians should feel much more positive going into the full campaign than they did one month ago.
List of completed transfers:
IN: Richarlison (Watford), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), João Virgínia (Arsenal), Bernard (Free), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), André Gomes (Barcelona – Loan), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea – Loan).
OUT: Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Conor Grant (Plymouth Argyle), Joel Robles (Getafe), Wayne Rooney ( D.C. United), Davy Klaassen (Werder Bremen), Luke Garbutt (Oxford United – Loan), Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray – Loan), Shani Tarashaj (Grasshoppers – Loan), Ashley Williams (Stoke – Loan), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Atheltic – Loan), Kevin Mirallas (Fiorentina – Loan), Callum Connolly (Wigan Atheltic – Loan).