Grading the summer transfer window: Everton
This summer was a big one for Everton – after years of criticism from their own fans for a perceived stingy attitude towards transfers, this was the transfer window that saw them spend big. Yeah, they recouped a lot of money on a big sale (more on that later) but they still spent well over £100m on new players.
The problem for Everton? While they were willing to spend big money in an attempt to break into the Champions League spots, the six clubs ahead of them – the two Manchester sides plus Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – were all spending too and have obviously strengthened their own positions.
With Everton getting off to a pretty disastrous start to the season – piling serious pressure on boss Ronald Koeman – the jury is out on a lot of their new signings right now. Here’s an attempt to grade their summer dealings.
It’s pretty clear that one name stands out on the list of players who departed Goodison Park in the summer of 2017, but we’ll get to him in a second. Everton actually lost 16 players during the summer window but of those, 10 were released, the majority of them fringe players at best outside of Arouna Kone, but he’d largely faded away anyway. So let’s ignore those and look at the others.
Departures: Tom Cleverley (Watford), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Gareth Barry (West Bromwich Albion)
Lukaku was obviously the big loss; Everton did recoup a massive transfer fee of £75m for the Belgian hitman but the problem comes with replacing him. If the Toffees had replaced him by spending all that money (plus some more) on a like-for-like replacement then it’d be one thing, but instead they spent the cash on a variety of players, and as Tottenham learned post-Gareth Bale exit in 2013, you can’t replace an iPhone with a camera, a calculator, a phone, an alarm clock and a calendar, if you get my drift.
The fact that Lukaku has been on fire for United definitely leaves a sour taste too, particularly for those who claimed he was overrated and/or a flat track bully. Everton made a profit of £47m on him but his loss has still hurt the side massively.
Outside of him? Barry is clearly at the tail end of his career and won’t really be missed given his age; McGeady had spent the past two seasons away from Everton on loan anyway, so there’s no big deal there; likewise for Cleverley who spent the majority of last season at Watford anyway – but it was a solid move for the Toffees to make £8m from him at least; and finally Deulofeu’s move to Barcelona was bizarre at best. Everton didn’t make much money on him (£10m) but quite why Barca wanted him I’m not too sure!
Evidently Lukaku was the only departure to affect Ronald Koeman’s squad, but for a side pushing for the Champions League, losing their best player is a massive blow.