Garrett Post shares his view on the impact Steve Walsh had at Everton. Interested in writing for GrandOldTeam? Great! We do consider contributions from all fans. Whether you’re a professional football journalist looking to establish a web presence, or student getting your career off the ground, a blogger looking for a wider audience, or “just a fan” with a story to tell… GrandOldTeam is your platform to have your views read by thousands of fellow Blues. Contact us here.
I think it’s safe to say that no Evertonian is full of joy and gratitude when they see a semi-annual tweet showing the amount of money spent by each Premier League club in the past 5 years or so. Since the arrival of Farhad Moshiri on Merseyside, Everton have spent around £500 million on transfers. Don’t scratch your eyes, you read £500 million right. With that amount of money spent, any average football fan would expect Everton to be high flyers going on European tours in the Champions League. Instead, Everton have only qualified for the Europa League once, in which they finished third in their group only one point clear of Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol. They also are currently experiencing their 8th managerial tenure since 2015, if you include the two caretaker terms of David Unsworth and the 16-day stint served by Everton great Duncan Ferguson. Since Moshiri’s high profile takeover and spending spree, Everton has finished 11th, 7th, 8th, 8th, and 12th, which is an accurate indicator of the complete lack of progress the club has endured in the past 5 years.
Although there are many culprits in this tragic sequence of events, there is one man who carries a large share of the blame, and rightly so. His name is Steve Walsh, and he served as Everton’s Director of Football from July 2016 to May 2018, before being sacked and replaced with the man who currently fills the position, Marcel Brands. In this article, I am going to go down the list of every significantly poor incoming transfer Steve Walsh saw through, and subsequently, show how he ruined Everton’s bid to reclaim former glory and become an English powerhouse yet again.
Yannick Bolasie, £26 million
Yannick Bolasie arrived at Everton aged 27 after scoring 5 goals and registering 4 assists in 26 league appearances for Crystal Palace. Bolasie had scored a total of 9 Premier League goals over the course of three 2000+ minute seasons upon his arrival. Bolasie suffered a long-term injury in the middle of his first campaign at Goodison Park and was never the same player. He has scored a total of 2 goals and has registered 4 assists for Everton. Yannick Bolasie has recorded more loan spells since his arrival than Everton goals and has been paid £75k a week for it. Christ.
Morgan Schneiderlin, £20 million
After failing to impress in his season and a half at Old Trafford, Steve Walsh happily shelled out over £20 million to bring Schneiderlin in January of the 2016/17 season. He was paid £100k a week for three seasons to score 1 goal, register 2 assists, and get sent off twice in over 6000 minutes in an Everton shirt. He was then sold during the Covid-19 lockdown to OGC Nice for a measly £2 million. Lovely business.
Ashley Williams, £12 million
After the £50 million departure of John Stones to City, Everton decided to replace that huge gap in the backline with a washed-up 31-year-old center back named Ashley Williams. The vast majority of Everton fans will agree his time at the club was a catastrophe if you ignore the late winner he scored at Goodison against Arsenal. He made 73 appearances, scoring 3 goals and registering 3 assists before being shipped off to Bristol City in the championship for free in July of 2019. Another stellar transaction from Walsh.
Maarten Stekelenberg, £900k
Yawn. Other than the incredible double penalty save game at the Etihad, Maarten Stekelenburg’s Everton career was irrelevant. He was paid £30k a week for 4 years despite only making 26 appearances for the Blues before joining former club Ajax for free.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, £45 million
Dear Lord, every time I read the figure we paid for a 27-year-old attacking midfielder despite having already signed Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaasen in the same summer, I want to vomit. Sure, he had a good 2018/19 season, notching 13 goals and 7 assists in the league, but he was absolutely useless during the 2019/20 season, as his incredible underperformance was a huge part of Marco Silva’s sacking, and he was completely unable to adjust to the incoming Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-4-2 system. Everton’s club record signing had a grand total of 2 goals and 3 assists in the league this season. This has to go down as one of the overpays of the century.
Michael Keane, £25 million
Michael Keane has picked his head up as of late and has put in some decent performances, but he still has done nothing even remotely close to justifying the price tag he arrived with. He was absolutely woeful in his first season at Goodison, and despite slightly improving in the two following campaigns, he has played third fiddle to Mason Holgate and Yerry Mina since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti all while raking in a £60k check every week. Another gross overspend.
Jordan Pickford, £25 million
Despite a stellar first season with Everton, Jordan Pickford’s performances have gotten worse and worse since he starred for England in the 2018 World Cup. At the end of the 2019/20 season, he had the second-worst save percentage of all regular starters in the Premier League, beating out only Kepa, who may well go down as the worst goalkeeper transfer of all time. Not great company, is it. It doesn’t seem likely that Pickford leaves anytime soon, and he has no competition, so he will be sitting pretty on the £100k a week that we pay him despite his awful displays the last two seasons.
Davy Klaassen, £30 million
Where do we even start? Davy Klaassen made 16 appearances for Everton, recording one assist, before being binned off to relegation-threatened Werder Bremen in Germany for £13 million just one season after leaving the captaincy at Ajax for the blue half of Merseyside. He was truly awful for us, and we were all glad to see him walk right back out the door after the disaster that we call the 2017/18 season. I still can’t wrap my head around how Steve Walsh let this deal happen. Klaassen is surely one of the worst signings in Everton’s history.
Cenk Tosun, £22 million
Who could ever forget the announcement of the signing of Cenk Tosun during half time of Everton’s loss at Anfield in the FA Cup in January of 2017? Despite a few decent performances, including single-handedly giving Everton three points at a snowy Bet365 Stadium in Stoke, Tosun’s time at Everton has been unsuccessful. After scoring only 10 goals in 61 games, he was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace where he tore his ACL and will be presumably spending the next half a year at least on the treatment table at Finch Farm. Flop.
Theo Walcott, £20 million
After a truly horrifying start to the 2017/18 season and the sacking of Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce’s Everton (yet another vomit-inducing phrase) went into the market and overpaid for a 28-year-old winger who had seemingly lost all of his end product and was quite simply a pace merchant. Walcott is yet another player enjoying a wage of £100k a week despite having produced only 11 goals and 9 assists from 83 appearances in all competitions over the course of two and a half seasons. Walcott is the best right-sided attacker in the squad currently, but that’s because he is basically the only one. Lovely.
Sandro Ramirez, £5 million
Although at first glance it seems this transfer couldn’t have been too much of a risk, it has truly been a disaster considering that this Spanish fraud somehow talked his way into being handed an eye-watering £100k a week contract by Steve Walsh. I really don’t understand how he managed that, but knowing Steve Walsh, it probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Since his arrival, Sandro has made 16 appearances for Everton, scoring 1 goal, and has had 3 unsuccessful loan spells. I suspect there will be a giant party in Liverpool when/if Everton finally manage to unload him on a permanent basis. What a colossal waste of money.
So there you have it! The signings I just listed were, in my opinion, the worst Steve Walsh made, but there are many more I decided not to include. How many genuinely good signings did Steve Walsh make you ask? In my opinion, he made two, which would be Idrissa Gana Gueye and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Steve Walsh spent around £250 million during his time at Everton, and even more than that when you consider the ridiculously inflated wages he offered sub-par players, many of whom have been impossible to offload due to their contracts, and many of which were sold on for large losses just a few years after Walsh brought them in. Although Marcel Brands has been far from perfect in his time at Everton, he inherited an absolute mess of a squad and financial situation left behind by Steve Walsh, who ruined Everton’s hopes of spending their way into the European places. Now it comes down to Brands and Ancelotti, who have a monumental task in overhauling the current Everton squad and cleaning up the mess Walsh created. I hope Evertonians can keep their patience because to me it seems that Everton still need to undo the harm Walsh caused before being able to take the steps forward we all expected back in 2016.