Well, we got there in the end. That’s the overwhelming feeling of most Evertonians following the first early closing of the summer transfer window in football history.
After new manager Marco Silva had to come out in public and kick his board into action following a rather disastrous showing by some players in the pre-season friendlies, they responded by pulling off possibly the best deadline day business in the club’s history, finally landing Colombian centre-back Yerry Mina from Barcelona as well as his teammate Andre Gomes on loan, and Brazilian international Bernard. Just to top it off, Everton also pulled off a very last-minute deal for another top young centre-back in Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea.
Incomings were played down by the club throughout the window, and the focus was put on cutting down the numbers in the squad and decreasing the wage bill.
Dead wood had to be cut, and it was – sometimes rather ruthlessly. Although past his best, Wayne Rooney could not be considered as dead wood last season, often providing the glimmer of class needed to get us through difficult games. However the worldwide superstar was ‘forced out’ by the club, as he believes, to DC United in Washington, and was followed by several other big names.
The unfortunate Davy Klaassen was next out the door, and already over £200,000 was taken off the weekly wage bill by offloading the pair.
Ramiro Funes Mori and Joel Robles gave everything for the club during their time at Goodison Park, but were sold to Villarreal and Real Betis respectively.
Several others left on loan, such as promising youngsters Henry Onyekuru to Galatasaray and Antonee Robinson to Wigan Athletic, and the not so promising Ashley Williams to Stoke City and Kevin Mirallas to Fiorentina. Other loan moves included Shani Tarashaj to Swiss side Grasshoppers, and Luke Garbutt to Oxford United.
Silva’s first signing as Everton manager was greeted by much cynicism from national press as his former Watford player Richarlison was brought in for £40 million, however from what we’ve seen so far of the young Brazilian, he is more than capable of proving these doubters wrong.
Lucas Digne then began Everton’s scour of Barcelona in an £18 million deal, to provide much-needed competition for Leighton Baines.
Young Portuguese goalkeeper Joao Virginia was also drafted in from Arsenal to provide back-up for Jordan Pickford and Maarten Stekelenburg.
Deadline day frenzy ensued – as well as the aforementioned signings of Mina, Gomes, Bernard and Zouma, our man Mo Besic was all set to join Middlesbrough on a £6 million deal, only for it to fall through at the last minute. It remains to be seen whether Besic will leave on loan or abroad, and the same can be said of many other players, for example Sandro Ramirez, Nikola Vlasic, Cuco Martina and Yannick Bolasie, who seem to have been deemed surplus to requirements under Silva.
Mina’s deal was worth 30 million euros on a five-year deal, while Gomes’ season-long loan does not include an option to buy, and neither does Zouma’s. Bernard arrived for free after his release from Shakhtar Donetsk, on a four-year contract.
It has to be considered as a very successful transfer window overall, with some exceptional business being done by the new-look team in charge at Goodison. Evertonians went into the new season with some optimism following a frantic deadline day, forever in the memory of Alan Myers trying to do the floss on national television.
– Tom Clarke (@TomClarke40)