The Rolling Stones song ‘You don’t always get what you want, you get what you need’, is an appropriate anthem for the Blues summer transfer business. We wanted a marquee signing but we needed to keep hold of John Stones. We got one but not the former!
Collectively if you look at the group of individuals we have brought to the club we have no doubt improved the quality and depth of the squad. Most of the incoming players were brought in with the long-term in mind. The disappointing fact though is we are still that top creative player light to really push on. We can’t forget that last season we finished a dismal 11th and as far as I’m concerned haven’t rectified the obvious attacking issues.
Starting on a positive lets look at the boys we have brought to the club:
The transfer window got off to a great start following the signing of midfielder Tom Cleverley on a free transfer from Manchester United. The recently turned 26-year-old was quoted at £8million last summer, Everton played the waiting game and got their man on a free transfer after his loan at Aston Villa came to an end. As he has already shown he has an eye for a pass and works his socks of for the cause. So far out of position too! I believe he’s been a brilliant signing and hopefully will cement a place in the heart of our midfield once recuperated after injury. He is a long-term replacement for Osman and there is no doubting his ability.
The magic man Gerard Deulofeu became the second signing of the summer. The 21-year-old wing-man returned to the club for an initial £4.2million with a buy back clause inserted by Barcelona. Gerard showed us in flashes his ability in his loan spell in the 2013/2014 season and now has the opportunity to prove himself as a permanent player. Similar with his loan Deulofeu still seems still very injury prone. Picking up his a hamstring injury in his third pre-season game, meaning he missed the remainder of pre-season and the beginning of the regular season. He is now regaining his fitness and looked a real threat against League One Barnsley in the Capital One Cup a week ago. He seems to have improved his final ball and decision-making too. The task now will be transferring that into Premier League games and cementing a regular place in Martinez XI. I’m not going to lie when I found out that Gerard was going to return I was over the moon, so excited at the prospect of him becoming a permanent Everton player. My only reservation is he seems so unfortunate with injuries. However he is major step up from Christian Atsu last season and for me (when fit) only improves us.
David Henen became our third signing of the summer when he joined from Olympiakos on a permanent deal. The 19-year-old forward spent last season on loan, playing for the Under 21’s with some really positive reports emanating from David Unsworth. Injury unfortunately curtailed the end of the Belgians season, and may well have been involved in the Spurs game if not for an ankle injury. He has returned from injury and has featured in the last Under 21 fixture and will continue his development there this season with a view to developing him for the first team. It’s hard to analyse this transfer as he has been brought in as ‘one for the future’. Let hope he goes the way of John Stones and not another Jutkiewicz!
A whole month passed by before we dipped into the transfer marker again and brought in 19-year-old defender Mason Holgate from Barnsley. In typical fashion it was classed as undisclosed but reported at a £1 million deal. Similar to Henen Holgate is ‘one for the future’, with Everton hoping he can blossom like our last acquisition from Barnsley. If he’s worth £40million in two years id be astonished, but i’d had said something similar in January 2013 too! Martinez has already stated that he doesn’t envisage him impacting the first team very soon so as with Henen this transfer cant be judged until he’s got some minutes under his belt.
By this point in the window fans were getting properly frustrated at the lack of first team signings. The season had begun and there were real concerns about lack of investment. It took until the Friday before the window closed to do any further business. A 22-year-old by the name of Leandro Rodriquez joined us from the Uruguayan River Plate for a reported £500,000. A complete unknown quantity, the youthful striker has scored 19 league goals in 71 appearances for River. Roberto has been quoted in saying he will join the first team due to the experience he has gained in Uruguay. Bizarrely though, the is the cousin of big Denis Straqualursi! From last season he could be considered a replacement for Eto’o. I would’ve preferred a striker with more experience of first team football in a competitive European league but if this lad is to be considered back up to Romelu and Kone then he’ll get my full support.
Second to last through the door was finally Ramiro Funes Mori. The poor lad had been sitting in the Hilton for a week and a half before his transfer could be announced. With it being announced on the morning of Deadline Day! The 24-year-old centre half joins the club from River Plate in Argentina. He has recently won the Copa Libertadores in his homeland (equivalent to the Champions League), scoring one of the three goals in the final. Reports suggested the deal was worth around £6 million but after bonus payments due to the player the deal will be worth around £9.5 million. It’s a steep amount for essentially a back up defender. However the hope will be that he keeps Stones on his toes and is no doubt seen as a long-term replacement to the ever ageing Phil Jagielka. From what I’ve seen of him he is a strong defender who has pace about him. He is excellent in the air so will be a threat in both penalty area’s and he is fluent in English so settling in wont be a problem. It’s difficult to judge him before he’s even put a Blue shirt on but from reports he’s a step up from both Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz, so he’ll do for me!
With attacking targets looking like going elsewhere and time running out, Everton went back in for another former loanee in Aaron Lennon. It was no real surprise we finally returned for him. Lennon had made it clear to his agent back in June that he only wanted to return to Everton and would shun all other options. With Tottenham holding firm in wanting £9 million for the winger, it was clear that a Mexican stand-off was to ensue. Everton finally got their man on Deadline day evening for £4.5 million after requiring the two-hour extension to get the deal over the line. It was a deal that made sense, Lennon was quite possibly our best player in the second half of the season, building up a great understanding with Coleman down the right. If he can give us that energy and directness again, he will make a really good signing.
So the transfer window closed with Everton spending £19.9 million on seven players. It’s fair to say as supporters we had hoped for so much more. As I touched on earlier we are screaming out for a creative midfielder who has the ability to unlock defences. Ross Barkley has started the season like a train, give him space and he will destroy you with his power and drive with the ball, but its a deft touch player we are after, someone who can create something from nothing. The most disappointing thing is Martinez identified this position in May and we’ve had three months to bring him in. As far as I understand after missing out on Shaqiri and others we threw all of our eggs into the Yarmolenko basket and just came up short. The Dynamo Kiev owner claiming this week that if we had gone in for him earlier in the window he would’ve sanctioned the deal. Why oh why didn’t we go in for him earlier?!
My frustration is there was clearly money available towards the end of the transfer window as we had an offer in the region of £15 million considered for Yarmolenko. As soon as we knew the deal wasn’t happening why didn’t we step away from it and pursue other targets?! The fact that we haven’t dipped into the loan market is beyond me too. We got chastised by everyone for loaning Lukaku and Barry in Martinez first season but it gave us that feel good factor and more importantly it improved us massively. I’m not sure these transfers have improved us a great deal. for a manager who doesn’t like playing natural wingers we have ended the window with five of them!
Deulofeu aside all are players we could sign rather than going out and showing intend and fending other teams off. The lack of ambition and ability to go out and support the manager is frightening. If I was Martinez I wouldn’t be particularity pleased with the clubs performance in this years window.
All that’s left for us now to improve the squad is with unattached players. Two players id be keeping an eye on would be Yohan Goucuff, a French attacking midfielder and Ron Vlaar who was previously at Villa. Gourcuff can play as a No.10, and Vlaar would give us more senior cover at centre back, my only reservation would be surrounding their fitness levels. Offer them both one year deals with option of a second if they proves themselves.
On a positive note though we have by ‘hook or crook’ managed to keep hold of John Stones this summer. The club’s stance has been fantastic, dismissing every offer and keeping the public front that he just wasn’t for sale. Chelsea finally got the message and ended up signing two nobody defenders, one that West Brom had passed on signing last week, brilliant! I also want to add that Chelsea’s public pursuit of Stonesy has been appalling as has the way the media have continuously pushed the transfer. Well unlucky Matt Law et al, your boys have taken one hell of a beating!
So no more transfer rumours until at least December, time to get behind the boys, starting with Chelsea at home a week Saturday! All together now, ‘Martinez said he’s not for sale and I was satisfied………’
Come on you blues!