What might have been and what could be for Everton…
When Roberto Martinez left Everton in 2016 the club was in a bad place. Fears of relegation were very real and some major changes were needed if the club were going to change their fortunes around.
Shortly before Martinez’s departure Farhad Moshiri had invested heavily into the club. The investment that us Everton fans had been crying out for had finally arrived and the long-term future of the club looked bright.
However, in the three years that have passed since Everton have squandered hundreds of millions on players and managers and still look more like relegation candidates than top four contenders. Some horrendous decisions have been made on and off the pitch during this period. It’s incredible to think what might have been.
At the start of 2017/18 season Everton’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United and the club have never replaced him to this day. Cenk Tosun was brought in for £27 million from Besiktas in the January transfer market but he has failed to deliver and Oumar Niasse and Dominc Calvert-Lewin haven’t faired any better.
In that same summer that saw Lukaku depart for Manchester, a former Manchester United striker was back in the Premier League. Javier Hernandez joined West Ham and for me he was the man who could of gone along way to solving Everton’s forward problems. He currently has one of the most prolific minutes per goal ratio in the history of the Premier League. At £16 million he looked good value for money after good spell in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen. At the age of 29 he was certainly not going to be the long-term answer but he definitely would of took the pressure off and allowed the club time to find a longer term replacement.
Another mistake Everton made that summer was allowing Gerard Deulofeu to leave the club. He is for me one of the most naturally gifted players to play for Everton in my lifetime (26 years). Yes he had his faults but his ability to carry the ball up the pitch, beat several defenders and create chances was mesmerising to watch at times and we could certainly do with someone like him now.
We’ve missed out on a lot of other proven targets in the last three years and instead opted for players like Sigurdsson who proved at Tottenham he couldn’t cut it on a consistent basis at a higher level and Theo Walcott who was deemed surplus to requirements even by an Arsenal team in rapid decline.
Surely someone at Everton must of thought Arsenal are one of the club’s we are hoping to catch over the next couple of seasons, if they don’t think he’s needed during one of the worst patches in their recent history then surely we don’t want him. However, that clearly wasn’t the case and we splashed out £30 million for the winger who now finds himself at the heart of fans frustrations most weeks.
That is definitely the biggest problem at the club these days. Far too many unnecessary risks are being taken on players and managers when they’re really not needed. The club has proven that it can compete financially but clearly a lack of scouting, judgement and just common sense has been lacking in recent times.
Marcel Brands seems to be looking to change all that and he’s impressed so far bringing in the Barcelona trio of Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes all fully fledged internationals as well as Bernard who came on a free from Shaktar and the Brazilian international also brings with him lots of Champions League experience. Brands also managed to bring in Premier League winner Kurt Zouma from Chelsea on a season-long loan.
Despite this season again being another resounding failure I think most fans will agree the players brought in this summer can hold their heads high. Another summer of recruitment like the last one and a change of manager could see Everton finally start to climb back up to where they belong and once again challenge for Champions League places and more.
I can’t see Silva surviving more than the end of this season – the same mistakes are being repeated over and over again and the team is regressing week by week. If Silva was to go the board certainly can’t afford to get the next appointment wrong and need to go all out for the next manager. For me, Diego Simeone is the ideal candidate to replace Silva. He took over an under achieving Atletico Madrid side in 2011 and has completely turned their fortunes around winning two Europa League titles, the Copa Del Rey and La Liga. He has also taken the club to two Champions League finals. His team’s are always well organised (something Everton desperately lack) but they play some really good football when in possession. He also demands that his players give everything every single week – something a lot of Everton’s players struggle with at the moment and the dead wood would certainly be moved out quickly.
Simeone has expressed a desire to manage in the Premier League one day and Everton certainly have the finances to maybe lure him over.
One thing that’s for certain is Everton want to be and should be competing for trophies and they need to get smarter and be more ruthless in their approach before that happens. Players like Coleman and Baines need to be moved on, and the club needs to cut their losses with some of the recent signings, admit they got it wrong and move on under the new regime.
Experience and know-how are two key qualities in football for players and managers alike. The sooner Everton bring in more proven winners and players who can change the culture at the club the sooner silverware will be returning to Goodison Park.