A Big Summer Ahead

Graham Holliday 31/07/2020 140comments  |  Jump to last

I started pondering this article after the victory over Leicester. Everton had picked up 7 points from 9 post-lockdown and only conceded one goal. Since then, the scale of this squad’s shortcomings have been laid bare. While the squad arguably needs strengthening in almost every area, the most glaring concern has been in midfield, where a lack of quality and depth has combined with players being utilised in a system and a style of football that doesn’t play to their strengths.

The challenge for Ancelotti and Brands this summer will be threefold. Clearly there is a need to improve the overall quality of the squad. To be successful they will also need to engender a shift in mentality. For too long Everton have let games pass them by ^#8211; the team needs to be more assertive and dominant. And the balance of the squad must also be addressed.

The churn in managers and playing styles over recent years has left the defence with no genuine left-sided centre back, a cluster of central midfielders are better playing in a 3 than a 2, but with a manager whose preference appears to be a 4-4-2, which was getting the best out of Calvert-Lewin who appears better suited to playing alongside a strike partner.


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It might be too much to expect them to solve all of those issues in one window. Below is a summary of the current composition of the squad and areas the club may look to strengthen, but it’s going to take all of Ancelotti’s knowledge and experience to calibrate the squad with a way of playing that best suits the players at his disposal – whilst also losing the ‘Everton that’ mentality. I wish him all the best.


Pickford (2024); Lossl (2022); Virginia (2020)

First choice: Given the need to make significant improvements elsewhere in the squad, and Ancelotti’s comments on him in recent weeks, I’d assume Pickford will remain first choice next season – albeit with a significant point to prove.

Back-up: Stekelenberg has left. I haven’t seen Virginia’s contract has been renewed (although he’s not been released) and Lossl was loaned out last season, so a new back-up goalkeeper could be brought in to provide stronger competition depending on the future of Lossl and Virgina.

Right Backs:

Coleman (2022); Kenny (2022); Connolly (2021)

First choice: Ancelotti has rotated Coleman and Sidibe but the Frenchman will leave following his loan leaving Coleman as first choice.

Back-up: The decision will be whether to retain Kenny to challenge the Everton captain for the first choice right back spot. If the club remain unconvinced, it would make sense to loan him for another season and bring in a back-up to challenge Coleman as first choice, probably on loan again.

Assumption: Connolly will not feature significantly in the first team squad (to be loaned or sold).

Left Backs:

Digne (2023); Nkounkou (2023)

First choice: Lucas Digne

Back-up: Nkounkou seems to be well regarded, so it’s fairly safe to assume he’ll become Digne’s deputy now Baines has departed. I understand he can also play centrally so this might open the possibility of a 3-man defence to be used more often as the wider defenders in that system need to be comfortable as full-backs also.

Centre Backs:

Holgate (2025); Mina (2023); Keane (2022); Branthwaite (2023); Gibson (2022); Pennington (2021)

First choice: Mason Holgate’s emergence as a first choice centre back has been one of the highlights of this season. Whilst right-footed, he has appeared relatively comfortable playing on the left, paired with either Keane or Mina, both of whom are much better on the right. Most top sides will have four centre backs capable of competing for a first choice starting spot, so we could potentially expect a starting left sided centre back to be brought in.

Back-up: The question mark over the centre back position will be the form of Branthwaite since being brought into the side. However, I wouldn’t expect Brands and Ancelotti to risk relying on him this early in his career. I’d expect him and Gibson to either be on the fringes of the first team or be given a loan in the Championship. If Ancelotti is considering playing with a three man defence more frequently, he would be more likely to retain at least one (presumably Branthwaite) as a fifth option.

Assumption: Pennington will not feature significantly in the first team squad (to be loaned or sold).

Centre Midfielders:

Gomes (2024); Gbamin (2024); Sigurdsson (2022); Davies (2023); Delph (2022); Baningime (2022); Besic (2021); Adeniran (2021)

First choice: None of the current players have demonstrated that they’re especially comfortable in a 4-4-2. Gomes would presumably be a candidate to be first choice, but would need to improve his performances from this season (the same of which could be said of almost the whole squad). But he is clearly more suited to playing in a 3-man midfield. Gbamin remains an unknown quantity but could have the mobility/positional awareness to be effective in a 2. I would expect Ancelotti would be hoping for two central midfielders capable of competing to be first choice picks regardless of the system – but the profile of those players must complement the style of play Everton intend to use.

Back-up: Sigurdsson and Davies have struggled for form and are not well suited to playing in a 2 man midfield but are likely to remain as squad players (or there is a chance they could be sold or loaned depending on composition of the squad, bids received etc).

Assumption: Baningime, Besic, Adeniran will not feature significantly in the first team squad (to be loaned or sold).


Richarlison (2024); Iwobi (2024); Gordon (2023); Bernard (2022); Walcott (2021); Bolasie (2021); Dowell (2021); Broadhead (2021)

First choice: Depending on the system, Richarlison might feature more prominently as a central striker or Iwobi as a central attacking midfielder – however both could feature as wingers, albeit in different interpretations of the role. The emergence of Gordon as a possible starter slightly alleviates the need to strengthen but I would still expect the club to look to bring in a right winger capable of challenging for the first team. Again, it will be essential that the profile of the player matches the envisaged style of play.

Back-up: Bernard appears to have dropped from the first team in recent games and whilst Walcott has featured prominently when available, a new right winger would presumably reduce his game time. An outside bet would be Bolasie returning to feature in the first team squad but that seems unlikely.

Assumption: Bolasie, Dowell, Broadhead will not feature significantly in the first team squad (to be loaned or sold).

Centre Forwards:

Calvert-Lewin (2025); Kean (2024); Tosun (2022); Sandro (2021); Simms (Unknown)

First choice: Ancelotti appears to have a lot of faith in Calvert-Lewin, although his lack of goals post-lockdown were a concern. The hope would be that Kean will be a genuine first-team contender next season and given priorities elsewhere, I’d be surprised if there were any significant attempts to strengthen in this area this summer.

Back up: Simms appears to have been promoted to the first team squad and would probably be back-up to Calvert-Lewin, Kean and Richarlison (who will also feature centrally, depending on formation).

Assumption: Tosun, Sandro will not feature significantly in the first team squad (to be loaned or sold).


Based on this assessment, Everton could be looking to bring in 5 or 6 players to their first team squad. A right-back to challenge Coleman (on loan?), a left-sided centre back, two central midfielders and a right-winger. They might also bring in a reserve goalkeeper.

That looks ambitious but would appear to be the bare minimum to get the squad back to a place where it might compete for Europe.

A lot might therefore rest on offloading players. A few have already left at the end of their contracts or been sold (Stekelenberg, Feeney, Garbutt, Martina, Schneiderlin, Niasse). The extent to which Everton can agree the sales/loans of fringe players – some of whom are on big money – will dictate how successful the club are in addressing the issues identified.

But as I said at the outset, the challenge should not be underestimated – bringing in players with the required quality, mentality that also balance the squad will not be easy, particularly in the current climate.

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Reader Comments (140)

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Sam Hoare
3 Posted 01/08/2020 at 23:05:35
Good analysis, Graham. I think a lot may depend on who they are able to entice bids for. My guess is that a lot of players will be available for sale if there is interest. Perhaps related to this, I noticed that Mina has appointed a new agent this week. Often something players do before making transfer moves, but maybe co-incidental in this case.

I think Brands will try to use the Academy where possible and hopefully we will see some more moves like the Nkounkou one.

I expect a centre-back (Gabriel or Todibo), a centre-midfielder (Højbjerg or Allan or Doucouré) and a right-winger (Ünder or Sarr) as the main purchases. With other positions being filled by loan moves (Loftus-Cheek?), free transfers, or academy purchases.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 01/08/2020 at 23:14:54
I saw an old Pathe newsreel of Dixie Dean scoring his 60th goal and I’m pretty sure I saw Besic on the bench with his hamstring strapped up. Will he ever leave?
John Pierce
5 Posted 01/08/2020 at 00:07:31
I really think anything is possible this summer. If the Ancelloti experiment has legs and is to work, Carlo & Marcel can ill-afford to be stubborn and keep even Richarlison or Digne.

I think, like Sam above, if we get a worthwhile bid for anyone, they could easily go. I think he might fund several young and easily malleable purchases with an unexpected sale.

I see the Italian as a ‘finesser' of teams. He only really built Parma up from scratch. I definitely think Pickford is on the table but, in saying this, I cannot land him anywhere, other than a lazy suggestion of West Ham.

Could be crazy

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 02/08/2020 at 00:45:12
John #5, what makes you think Pickford would be interested in going to West Ham of all places?
Kieran Kinsella
7 Posted 02/08/2020 at 00:53:01
Mike Gaynes,

Maybe he's banking on the fact that West Ham Utd have previously attracted fading England stars with Evertonesque pipe-dreams of a bright future, eg, Wilshere, Carroll, Kieran Dyer, Joe Hart...

John Pierce
8 Posted 02/08/2020 at 00:56:44
Mike, I did say it was lazy. But if you want a reason: England. He reveres his England place and, at West Ham, they love themselves an England player.
John Pierce
9 Posted 02/08/2020 at 00:57:30
Keiran. I didn't read your post before I posted mine. 👍🏼
Laurie Hartley
10 Posted 02/08/2020 at 02:25:30
Graham, thanks for your article which really drives home the need for back up or replacements in certain areas of this squad.

I still hold that our first priority is two combative midfielders but your article has identified a glaring vulnerability in the full-back positions. A left-footed center-back capable of playing left-back (like Lescott) would be really useful.

I don't think we need any new forwards – for me, midfield remains the key area.

Brian Wilkinson
11 Posted 02/08/2020 at 02:33:04
Our biggest problem is trying to offload players. No doubt Turkish teams will be throwing their hat in the ring for Tosun – I say 'hat' because it will not involve any money... apart from a loan fee.

Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Walcott, Sandro, Bolasie – no chance of moving them on. We are still stuck with the above players who will happily sit on the bench to run their contracts down.

You can probably look at Pickford, Digne, and Richarlison, who we need to build the team around, and are probably the only players other teams would be interested in paying decent money for.

We are well and truly screwed with FFP and cannot afford any more slip-ups this transfer window. We have to get it right.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 02/08/2020 at 03:06:06
John and Kieran, I would bet that, if Jordan is moved, he moves to Europe, not elsewhere in the Premier League.
Kieran Kinsella
13 Posted 02/08/2020 at 03:23:58
Mike Gaynes,

It's possible he follows the Joe Hart Torino route. For better or worse, I don't see him going anywhere. His wages and our desire to recoup our investment limit his options and the teams with that kind of cash. I can't see them coming for him.

Steve Brown
14 Posted 02/08/2020 at 04:25:16
Think Stones, Barkley and Pickford could all end up at West Ham with Moyes. Ultra cautious conservative that he is, he loves signing ex-players.
Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 02/08/2020 at 04:56:00
Agreed, Kieran... I'd be very surprised if anybody else is playing goal for us next season.
Tony Everan
16 Posted 02/08/2020 at 08:52:10
Thanks for the article, Graham.

Assertiveness and dominance are the two qualities that you rightly point out are the priorities. Our midfield unit is the weakest in the Premier League and that just has to be addressed. Gbamin is out of my consideration for next season, Delph should be sold if it at all possible.

So I will be greedy and say I want us to sign 3 midfielders as our No 1 aim this transfer window.

Allan will come in, then we will need another younger dominant, assertive, mobile, dynamic, goal scoring, central midfielder. This player would be the break-the-bank player to get the best we can possibly get. Use Bruno Fernandes as the template for this signing. This is the signing that will transform us and our play.

Another midfielder I want us to buy has to bring some more desperately needed vigour, versatility and energy into the side. He has to raise the tempo and drive the team forward. I like David Brooks and Emi Buendia, either would add those qualities and both are adaptable and have goals and assists to contribute in their locker. Either would add great strength in depth. I like the thought of the youthful dynamic using one of those players on the right and Anthony Gordon on the left.

I think the midfield is the absolute priority area of signings; further team strengthening could depend on player sales, swaps and player plus cash deals.

I think reasonable offers will be considered for 10 of our players: Sigurdsson, Delph, Iwobi, Mina, Walcott, Bernard, Bolasie, Besic, Sandro, Tosun...

Offers should be refused and not considered for Digne or Richarlison. Those two players should be told Carlo is building something they are integral to, and that they are going nowhere until 21-22 after Carlo has had a chance to build a proper team. Only then will anything be reviewed, as all things Everton may look very different next summer.

Many of the 10 players we ‘would' consider offers for could be a great signing and asset for the right club and used playing to their strengths. I just don't think they fit into Carlo's long-term strategy for Everton.

Ancelotti will want to get his own players in who have the qualities he wants. He will want quality players who can adapt to the way he wants to play. In this respect, Carlo's tenure is massively linked to Brands's success on this front. He will only make partial gains on the front during this window, but I think that will be enough to see some real impact.

It will take two summer windows to really sort out our team, as in 2021 more players will be out of contract and a couple more will be moved on.

Mark Andersson
17 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:08:32
Good article. Once again, we find ourselves hoping and praying that we get the right players to lift us out of the mid-table bores that we have become.

Get it wrong this summer and we will be fighting relegation.

Ian Bennett
18 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:13:53
A large proportion of the squad have under 2 years left on their deals. You'd hope this summer that they can be moved on whilst there is still value left.

Tosun, Sandro, Bolasie, Bernard, Walcott, Delph, Sigurdsson, Besic, Lössl.

A big decision to be made on Michael Keane. He looks ungainly and has been error-prone, but he seems well ahead of an injury-prone Mina.

Alex Gray
19 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:10:44
Great article, Graham. I think all our summer activity depends on who we can get out early.

If we can get Tosun, Sandro, Bolasie, Bernard, Delph and Sigurdsson out, that'd be a huge amount of the wage bill gone.

My ideal transfers would be Allan and Doucoure in midfield, Sarr on the wing (cheaper and younger than Zaha), Max Aarons at right-back and Gabriel at centre-back.

There's a lot of good relegated players this year that we should be looking at who'd improve us greatly and wouldn't cost too much considering the market.

Christy Ring
20 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:28:56
Great article, Graham, two midfielders have to be our No 1 target.

Our biggest problem is that Sigurdsson, Delph, Mina, Iwobi, Ramirez Tosun, Bernard and Bolasie are on huge wages and big contracts, which makes it nearly impossible to move them on, and twice as hard to bring in better players.

Alex Gray
21 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:00:32
Brands has a difficult job to do and, echoing Christy's comments, trying to shift some of these players is going to be a nightmare. The only way I see it happening is selling for basically free to accommodate the huge wages these players are on so expect a huge hit on some of them.

My main worry is our recruitment. Leicester City and Wolves buy players that specifically improve their team and the way they play whilst we seem to have a scattergun approach. We've also had that many managers and our squad shows it massively. Half our team don't suit a 4-4-2.

Steve Shave
22 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:13:41
What Tony @16 said.
PA Greenhow
23 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:43:15
Good article, well presented.

Any new signings should be good enough to displace current players, otherwise there's no progress, only more of the same.

Our midfield is a joke. Sigurdsson, Delph, Walcott, Besic, Bolasie - simply, not good enough. Add Keane and Mina, who are wishy-washy, and it's a tough ask to solve our problems.

Every year it's the same. We need 5-6 players to progress. It never happens and we repeat.

This season has been my most detached ever. VAR, Covid-19, them lot winning the league, us being utter shite, and our players being cowards and out of touch millionaires make it difficult to watch and support. I'm sure I'm not alone (maybe).

Big summer! Not only for the progression of our club, but also trying to re-engage fans like me who are getting to the point of, if these guys don't give a shite why should I?

I'm not pinning my hopes on Ancelotti. He can only do so much. He needs to be backed and he needs competent people above him doing the work he can't. I have no faith in these people. They've shown us nothing which inspires confidence.

Tom Bowers
24 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:45:26
The club certainly have a big conundrum regarding the contracts that many ''unsuitable'' players have and offloading will be difficult at this time. This of course will affect any incoming talent and so limiting who they can go after.

We all have our thoughts on who is and isn't good enough for the squad but generally agree that the midfield is the weak spot. Has Carlo seen enough to assert that Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Davies, Gomes and Bernard are not up to snuff or does he believe he can get something better out of them? We wonder...

Paul Tran
25 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:02:09
Interesting, speculative stuff.

The thing to remember is that the wage bill is what were looking at here. We sign players on five year contracts to spread the cost and stay within profit/loss limits, therefore selling them for a reduced fee is less significant.

There are some players for whom we will have to wait for their contracts to end. I think we could get fees now for Pickford, Mina, Bernard, Iwobi, Gomes, Delph, Keane and Kean. We won't sell them all in one summer, but replacing, say, three of them with players with pace, nous and authority would make a huge difference without breaking limits.

This is down to Brands & Ancelotti earning their corn. I'm not convinced Brands is good at finding players with the right character and physical strength for this league and I keep getting told Ancelotti 'doesn't buy' players. The point of bringing Carlo in was to attract better players – those two have to deliver this summer.

Kevin Prytherch
26 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:17:26
I would say we need a squad of 25...

2 keepers
Pickford (replace) Virginia

4 full-backs
Digne, French lad, Coleman, Kenny (sorted)

5 centre-backs
Holgate, Keane, Mina (replace), Branthwaite, Gibson

5 wide midfielders
Walcott (replace), Iwobi (replace), Bernard (replace), Gordon, ???

5 centre-midfielders
Gomes, Gbamin, Davies, Sigurdsson (replace) Delph (replace)

4 forwards
Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Kean, Simms (?)

Anyone not on the list - sell (or give away) without replacing
Bolasie, Sandro, Besic, Tosun, and probably Adenerin and Baningime (if they weren't good enough to play with no pressure, they're unlikely to play next year).

Ideal world, I'd like a couple of wide midfielders, at least one central midfielder, a new keeper and a replacement for Mina (in that order, although wide midfield and central midfield should be the main priority).

I would hold off on a left-back as I'm sure Gibson could cover, if required, if the French lad isn't immediately up to it.

Stephen Vincent
27 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:30:22
Best analysis of the current position I have read to date. The one thing that struck me was that, if you try to forget the actuality of situation, the squad looks pretty sound on paper. As stated, however, there are very few that merit keeping if a good offer came in.

I said on a different thread that this is a 3-year plan. Top half next season, top six season after that and a push for Champions League the season the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium opens. I think that signings will be on that basis, so not expecting a sudden influx of talent, especially when the FFP situation is so uncertain.

Who knows, the solution to some of the conundrums may already be on the books if Carlo can instil some enthusiasm. We could get a season from Bolasie; Delph may turn out to be the guy many thought he was...

Who knows!!!

Derek Knox
28 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:30:59
Paul@25, good point there regarding Marcel Brands, I was glad when he came onboard, following his reputation for unearthing future gems for modest fees.

Since he has been with us, apart from Jarrad Branthwaite, most have been expensive misfits, or he allegedly targetted the right players that we didn't realistically have a chance of getting.

It's ironic to a degree that, now we have a World Class Manager in Ancelotti, we find ourselves needing to move players on which very few takers, if any, will be interested in to release funds.

I just hope that there is a smokescreen of sorts so we can at least get the players in that Carlo has identified (a minimum of 3) to stabilise and marginally improve.

This would be a great time to boot Boys Pen Billy into touch and get Usmanov into the Boardroom. Provided he brought his big fat cheque-book with him that is!

Nick Page
29 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:46:09
We still haven't replaced Lukaku! So, based on that list we have one half crocked midfielder who'd get a game, one winge,r and no strikers. It's one of the worst squads in the league... for a reason.

Given the disaster in recruitment that has been the last few windows I won't hold my breath this time.

And I think you'll find that no matter who we bring in, things won't change until Chairman Bill et al are the ones being cleared out. Which is what I'd be asking for instead of producing endless lists of what-if's and maybes.

Geoff Lambert
30 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:20:17
Nick #29,

You are correct; we need a goalscorer.

Neil Cremin
31 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:53:48
On my regular rant against Jordan. If he is still the only option for keeper next season, then we are going nowhere.

As for building a team around him, we are doomed. He will have the enviable record of being relegated with two separate teams.

Look at the facts, Chelsea among others are looking to replace their keeper but nobody is looking at the England No 1. He is not a team player and we will not build any defence until he is replaced. Look how Arteta has already done at Arsenal with Martinez.

Other problems, like Pickford, how many of our players are in demand by Premier League clubs in the transfer market. Realistically, Richarliosn definitely and maybe Digne, Holgate and possibly Calvert-Lewin (if he got decent supply). All the rest are seeing out contracts where next option is to go to:

(a) a newly promoted club,
(b) a recently relegated club, or
(c) a reasonably finance Championship club.

TW is full of people looking big name players which if we are realistic, if good enough, will be picked up by Top Six/Seven clubs. We need to focus on young hungry players who are willing to work their socks off for the club and give everything, eg, Gana. If they work as hard as he did and with one creative box-to-box player we could change this around but before that we need.

1. To be stable at the back (no Pickford!)
2. Supply decent ball to forwards, not having them constantly committing to aimless runs so, when a chance does come, they still have the energy to take it.

John Raftery
32 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:02:27
Please may we not have another ‘big summer'. We have had several of those which have taken us backwards. What we need is a quiet couple of months with two or three low-key acquisitions to plug the most urgent gaps, especially in midfield. No more building high expectations which have no chance of being met.

We have just finished in our lowest position since 2004. In that summer, we had barely a penny to spend and lost Wayne Rooney on the last day of the transfer window. Expectations were very low with many fans predicting relegation but the signings of Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill, coupled with a better spirit among the squad, took us to our best finishing position in the Premier League.

Neil Cremin
33 Posted 02/08/2020 at 20:28:50
I agree entirely, John.
Don Alexander
34 Posted 02/08/2020 at 21:23:01
Whether or not Farhad or anyone in the boardroom likes it, this Summer will be a measure of the club's much-trumpeted ambition with Signor Ancelotti as manager.

Leaving him with the current squad with two or three bog-standard replacements will not cut it.

To me, Farhad Moshiri needs to invest in players like never before, but this time with proven expertise – not contaminated by Finch Farm or the West End.

Paul Birmingham
35 Posted 02/08/2020 at 22:59:36
Great report, Graham, and right down the line and raises the home truths.

It's the future of EFC; more than ever, the whole club must stick together, and then build.

But hope is eternal, and every day is a good day.

Graham Hammond
36 Posted 02/08/2020 at 23:09:53
Neil #31, You talk of decent supply to forwards, whilst I agree with you to a large degree, I do feel that the Everton forwards and particularly Calvert-Lewin, needs to do a lot more to show for the ball and make himself genuinely available to receive it.

He is a young, fit lad who, to me, seems to lack the hunger and desire or footballing intelligence to find space and therefore be in a realistic position to receive it. Contrast his movement with say Gareth Barry who, despite being slower than Calvert-Lewin, knew where to go to knit play together and lessen the risk of losing possession.

Mirallas did well in his early Everton career because he made the right runs and timed them well and because he sometimes had Darron Gibson behind him who could see and deliver a pass, something our current midfielders are seemingly unable to do.

It is easy to criticise the current midfielders and lay all the blame at their feet but Calvert-Lewin could learn a little from Richarlison (and Mirallas too!) by driving at opposing defenders more than he does.

Steve Ferns
37 Posted 03/08/2020 at 00:56:04
Nicely balanced article. Good read. One slight error is that Joao Virgina has a contract until the end of next season, so need to renew it this summer.

Also, social media reveals Tosun training hard on a beach and looking in decent shape, but no idea how his knee is. I think he'll be moved on.

Yannick Bolasie, is likely to stay. Whilst I don't think he's good enough, I will be rooting for him. I saw quite a bit of him for Sporting. He didn't set the Portuguese league alight, which doesn't bode well, but he looked fully recovered from injury.

Sporting are a basket case of a club right now and had three managers in quick succession this season, the last of whom decided that as Bolasie was off, he wouldn't pick him, as he tried to get the team for next season ready. Bolasie is good enough to stay at Sporting, they just cannot afford him. Also, for the wage, he was not close to being their best player.

Since he returned to England for lockdown, he's been posting lots of videos of maintaining fitness in his garden. He then did a bike ride to Goodison and around Liverpool.

Now he's allowed at Finch Farm again (Covid-19 rules prevented him until the season was over), he's been down and got his new training kit and been working out there. He also delivered some shirts to fans.

He's very much on a charm offensive to win the hearts of Evertonians. It's a nice contrast to Iwobi and the backlash against him for flaunting his wealth.

As I said, I doubt Bolasie is good enough, but I'll be hoping for a miracle that he is 100% fit and in the form of his life, so he can claim a place in our first team. His dedication deserves our support and he's clearly a nice lad.

John Pierce
38 Posted 03/08/2020 at 01:17:05
Steve, I’d be tempted to give Bolaise another go, not because he’s good enough but the others have had countless chances to stake a claim.
Michael O'Malley
39 Posted 03/08/2020 at 03:58:47
Neil @31, I totally agree about Pickford, he is woeful and how fans don't see this gurning gobshite as a problem is beyond me. Statistically, She is one of the worst in the Premier League.
Alex Gray
40 Posted 03/08/2020 at 07:31:32
I completely agree about Pickford not being good enough but what's even more worrying is that, with all his mistakes, I don't think he's a priority this window which says how bad our current midfield situation is.
Nathan Jones
41 Posted 03/08/2020 at 10:50:28
I'm going to get my tin hat on for the fury I'm probably going to receive, so all I'll ask is for an open mind.

Tosun was always a good finisher, but was not suited to playing up top on his own. He struggled to lead the line and didn't have the pace to stretch defenses. But, if we are playing with two up top and Tosun is given the same instruction that Calvert-Lewin has been given, ie, play in front on the goal, I think he is worth a shot, as a striking option. If we are playing with two, we need four in the squad: Calvert-Lewin, Tosun, Richarlison & Kean.

Ask a question: it's the 88th minute, there is a chance, either a header or a first-time shot… who would you back to make the net ripple? Calvert-Lewin or Tosun? By the way, I will add that I'm a big fan of Calvert-Lewin so my suggestion is as 4th choice or a back-up to Calvert-Lewin.

Bobby Mallon
42 Posted 03/08/2020 at 15:52:33
Nathan Jones, I agree.
Andrew Ellams
43 Posted 03/08/2020 at 16:01:08
Mike Gaynes. Why would Pickford go to West Ham? A bit like Jack Wilshere, I guess, if Everton told him he didn't have a future at the club and West Ham was the best offer he got (quite conceivable I think) then maybe his hand would be forced.

I certainly don't see him getting any offers from higher up the league, which is pretty damning as that is the majority of Premier League teams after this season.

Neil Cremin
44 Posted 03/08/2020 at 18:01:11

I think our forwards were asked to make all sort of decoy runs under Silva with the hope to open up opportunities for wingers and midfield. With Ancelotti, I believe he wanted to see less decoy running and more into spaces to pick up through balls. Most of these did not come; hence, my case for main priorities are:

1. Stable Goalkeeper

2. Midfielders with the following qualities:

a) Clinical and cynical midfield ball-winner, eg, Gana, Reid;

b) Box-to-box player with big engine who shows for the ball and makes the simple pass.

c) Creative midfield player who sees the difficult pass: Arteta, Barkley.

If we got §1 and any two of §2, I don't think we need to look at the big name on the continent, eg, Leicester City were able to pick up Maddison; Grealish and Rice, are all options.

I believe continentals rarely can buy into Everton and are only there for the money which is why we have a lethargic squad.

First test, before any silky skills are hunger, hate losing, and a bit of fight, as per Richarlison.

Nathan, I also agree that, if Tosun is over his injury, he may be worth persevering with when considering the priorities which I have mentioned above.

Rome wasn't built in a day.

Graham Hammond
45 Posted 03/08/2020 at 18:27:23
Neil #46, I will totally agree with you on Pickford, I have long since seen enough, I really hope we can get rid and this Summer too!

Without wishing to invite more ridicule from Mike Gaynes and possibly others, I just do not see Pickford as an upgrade on Robles (which is what I said a long time ago) and most certainly not for a £30M net outlay!

I do not have the time these days to watch endless amounts of football (other than Everton) but I do firmly believe that a better, more stable 'keeper is out there for us. I will agree with you also about the need for a top-quality defensive midfielder, that would help us enormously.

Big decisions have to be made by the club very soon if we are to consolidate and move forward again. I just hope that Brands and the club are prepared to do what is necessary – even if it means losing face and credibility in the process by highlighting huge past errors of judgement.

Jay Harris
46 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:02:41
"I believe continentals rarely can buy into Everton and are only there for the money which is why we have a lethargic squad."

I have to disagree vehemntly with that statement.

Richy and Digne have a better workrate and produce more than the rest of the squad.

The real problems are the likes of Walcott, Iwobi and Siggy none of whom you could arguably call a continental aquisition becasue they are all England based and have been for a long time.

The problem isn't where they come from its the recruitment that brings them here.

Look at the top 6. There are very few "English" players and where there are they are outstanding players beyond our reach.

Robert Tressell
47 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:12:51
Neil, if you buy good quality continentals they'll be fine. It's the shit ones (from all 4 corners of the globe) you have to worry about. Digne, Distin, Arteta, Lukaku were (or are) all fine continental players for us. Lukaku maybe never quite bought into the club because his ambitions exceeded what the club could ever offer, but he certainly delivered while we had him.

British players do often give you a solid base. I'll say that. But continentals will be a vital part of building our way out of mediocrity.

Neil Cremin
48 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:16:48
Point taken, it was a poor choice of words and I even had doubts about it when writing. What prompted the thread was that I am concerned about the calibre of player we are bringing in and it is always assumed here on TW that the the best ones come from the continent or the top six clubs. We need to find our own hungry players and to date our recruitment policy has been poor.
I thought Digne came from Barcelona. Richie came from Watford thanks to Silva.
What has the Everton recruitment achieved with the money that has become available.
Moyes had a better transfer record with pittance.
Neil Cremin
49 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:26:28

I also have been saying this ever since I saw him clatter into the back of Ashley Williams and when I commented on it during the live thread, I got devoured. I have constantly claimed since then, he is the root of our defensive frailties despite much abuse. Thanks for the endorsement.

To all others, my comment on “continentals” was a poor choice of words but I do believe that we need a mix. I did include players like Gana, Richarlison and Arteta in my ideal Everton players so it was not meant to be as prejudicial as it sounded. 'Journeymen' would have been a better choice of word.

My apologies and I am not advocating English players, as I am not English myself, but do want our players to show passion and pride in their own performance as well as for the club.

Bill Gall
50 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:36:00
Jay, I was watching a rerun of the 2016-17 Cup Final between Arsenal v Chelsea on the weekend. Arsenal had Walcott and Iwobi playing, and I think Everton must have bought clones of them, as they are not the players I watched playing for Arsenal.
Jay Harris
51 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:44:13

The rest of your points are well made but I think we all agreed that recruitment has been awful since Moyes left.

Bill Gall
52 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:49:40
Apologies – it wasn't the cup final, it was one of the games shown before it, of highlights of previous Arsenal vs Chelsea games.
Jay Harris
53 Posted 03/08/2020 at 19:55:32

I thought both players were half decent before they joined Everton and would at least add some quality to the squad but Walcott's goals have dried up and Iwobi has never been a goalscorer but used to be a decent provider.

Maybe it's more to do with what is going on at the club. I have long suspected that Kenwright and latterly Moshiri have too much say on the playing side. Who knows but something is not right and it's pointless to keep buying players if this is the end result.

David Pearl
54 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:07:53
Kenwright was here when Moyes was finding his bargains so how anyone can blame him is beyond me. Truth is, £400M later and we have fallen away from where we were with a horrendous recruitment policy.

This DoF hasn't worked, has it? I hope we get shut of Brands now, enough is enough. Stick with a manager and let him bring in his own players. That unfortunately means half the squad aren't suitable... not that they ever were. I've never had so little faith in Everton. I'm not looking forward to watching 4-4-2, if that's what Carlo is going for.

Shame it wasn't us that could just go out and bring in the 3 players Chelsea have. We are not on the same level. We could have been... but the last few years have ruined us. I knew Walsh's signings would screw us over for years, and they have. Guy should be put in stocks.

Robert Tressell
55 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:23:15
See what you mean Neil. And totally agree we should be recruiting players on the up. Indeed it is strange we try any other tack, since we have our best track record of success with players from the championship and below.

We've seen mixed results from players who can't get a game at champs league clubs with world class players ahead of them (eg Deulofeu, Kean, Digne, Gomes and Mina). Still think this is a good strategy, though - but better with those who are desperate to get a game rather than those who are dropping down having failed.

We clearly spend far too much, fruitlessly, on moderately good players from other prem clubs. We should stop doing that altogether.

We are also extremely poor at picking up players from:

- south american clubs

- middling European leagues

- middling clubs in major European leagues

Which is strange because this is where the best value is to be had. And its where I thought Brands would be looking at most.

Graham Hammond
56 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:25:51
Jay #53, I do think Iwobi struggles at Everton for two principal reasons: firstly, the movement around him is shite; secondly, he is played out of position frequently also.

I see him as a central, offensive player in a 4-2-3-1 formation or as a right-sided attacker in the same formation. I do not think he is ever going to be the best option in a 4-4-2 formation or a 4-3-3 formation or even a 4-1-4-1 formation.

Unless Carlo switches to a 4-2-3-1 formation, then I believe Iwobi will continue to struggle for game time, struggle to be selected, and struggle to impress when on the field of play. All too often, we buy a player, then fail to set up and play him to his strengths.

Len Hawkins
57 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:29:34
Every Christmas I get a card off all the top Bookies because I don't take anything off them. So, with that in mind, I might put a tenner on Everton getting relegated – that's a sure-fire way of ensuring Premier League status for 21-22 season.
Brian Harrison
58 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:29:40
David @54,

I agree with a lot of what you say, and I have never liked the DOF policy or maybe we have just appointed 2 of the worst in the business in Walsh and Brands. I think the problem we have as a club is we will be viewed by agents and players as a middle to bottom half team, and therein lies the problem.

Top 6 quality players won't come here, as they are after minimum Europa league or Champions League qualification on a regular basis. So we tend to get players not good enough for a top 6 team, even though we pay top 6 salary.

Apart from Richarlison and Digne, I can't think of any other of our players who the top 6 clubs would be interested in. So we end up selling our better players and replacing them with even more mediocrity. So we end up paying £45 million for Sigurdsson or paying Schneiderlin and Bernard £100,000 per week, it really borders on madness.

Graham Hammond
59 Posted 03/08/2020 at 20:39:07
Len Hawkins #57, I do this all the time, reverse betting malarky. Broadly speaking, I bet on the RS to win trophies and to beat us, because that is the very last thing that I actually want to happen, and I have in the past placed Everton 'relegation' bets too.

In an ideal world, I would want our club to be well run with good recruitment and the RS to win fuck all but at least they have put £2,500 in my back pocket with those two trophies, I see it as compensation, even though it isn't enough. I hate them with every fibre of my being.

Nick Page
60 Posted 03/08/2020 at 21:17:21
“Bill Kenwright was here when Moyes was finding his bargains, so how anyone can blame him is beyond me. Truth is, £400M later and we have fallen away from where we were with a horrendous recruitment policy.”

There is literally no hope for some people. None.

Jason Li
61 Posted 03/08/2020 at 21:30:05
If money is tight, then I think we can get away with three signings and do pretty well.

Buy a right-back: Theory, Coleman can be cover for Digne, or Delph. So we need another right back as Coleman is in his 30s. Digne will need resting occasionally if we want to try for a cup next year too. Unless Kenny is the answer.

Buy a centre-back with pace, may need to sell on Keane or Gibson to help with funds if it happens, for example.

Buy a centre-midfielder who is brilliant like a Kante or Allan, can pay by installments as quite a few players off the books this year if we go large here, plus lose Sigurdsson?

Right wing [X], I thought more about this and think Walcott and Iwobi might be a bit better next year if our defence can play higher up the pitch with a more pacey right-back who can run the whole length of the pitch and overlap (like Coleman 5 years ago), and with a centre-mid who can protect behind them. So we can leave this for another year. Both in fact are pretty good in the last quarter of the pitch historically, it's just that in this current team they get hardly any chance with the ball near the penalty box recently.

This is a way to go 4-4-2, with just 3 changes and we can afford it and play much more sustained attacking football at pace.

Thinking about some pro footballers who say we need another 20-goal-a-season striker, I'm offering another scenario to consider. Imagine we had Ronaldo or Harry Kane upfront. They still wouldn't score much more than Richie if we have a slow defence and can't play on the half-way line. That means both full-backs have a long way to run to support Gordon and Walcott or Iwobi, so it's maybe only 5 times a match on each side they get up the pitch and support them. Also, very rarely do wide players go on a solo run from a very deep defensive position to the opponent's penalty box and put the ball in for the striker to score, so they need the full-back closer to them or overlapping to create space. However, if we have more confidence in a pacey back line, with a brilliant defensive centre mid, and a clone of Coleman in his 20s, Ronaldo or Kane would have more chances. This means a new striker is a lower priority.

In summary, 3 new signings is enough already to transform this team.

Tin hat on.

Brian Murray
62 Posted 03/08/2020 at 21:32:26
This window is crucial if we are going to even be out the bottom three so it's not really the time to get hysterical and shout for the sacking of Brands or even the chairman. We are stuck with them and probably most of these week willed losers on the pitch. It's really that serious.

Carlo has never had to deal with this shit show in his life and I just hope Crosby marina is too good for him to walk away from.

Tony Everan
63 Posted 03/08/2020 at 21:40:15
Neil & Robert, I fully agree with that about signing players on the up, We have missed out on a few diamonds. There is always a handful of players who come into this category each summer who are ready to step up and are energised to prove themselves at a better club. Their wages wouldn't be such a ball and chain on the club either.

It is not to say that the recruitment policy should be entirely based on that. Only that it should be given more consideration.

Players that need looking at are midfielders David Brooks, 23; Emi Buendia, 23; and right-back Max Aarons, 20; Edouard, 22. I am delighted that Brooks has already been associated with us, I'm hoping there's some truth in that one. I think he could be as good a signing as Maddison was for Leicester City.

Players on the up like this can complement the likes of Allan, and bring in much needed energy and desire into the team. A wave of infectious enthusiasm can result from it and energise players we already have.

Jerome Shields
64 Posted 03/08/2020 at 21:58:57
Unlike others, I think Kenny will be on loan next season and will not figure in Ancelotti's plans. To be put out on loan in your twenties at Everton is to be put in the shop window. I think Kenny is a good player, but he will not be given a chance at Everton.
Fran Mitchell
65 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:07:51
All depends on outgoings.

The big earners like Sigurdsson represent a problem. Ancelotti can't simply discard him, this is why Ancelotti will continuously talk him up. He earns too much, and cost too much to simply discard. I'm sure Brands has been tasked with finding him a club, but finding a buyer will not be easy. If no buyer is found, then Ancelotti will be tasked to get the best out of him.

We clearly need 2-3 central midfield reinforcements, but whether that will be possible is another question.

A winger/wide forward (or 2) is another priority. Desperately needed to add dynamism to our attacks. But again, much of this depends on finding buyers for 2 of our highest earners who play in these positions - Bernard and Walcott. Both are on £100k+, and Ancelotti will be tasked of utilising them and getting the best out of them if no buyer is found.

Then there are enigmas such as Iwobi – where does he fit in? He'll be another big earner who cost a big fee – If we don't have a buyer, Ancelotti will be tasked with getting the best out of them.

In an ideal world: We'd sign 1 experienced central midfielder like Allen to give much needed leadership and passion to out midfield, plus a couple of younger players like Eberechi Eze and David Brooks. But that'll be £60 million+ in fees, and substantial wages. So at least 3 of Gomes, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, and Delph would need to move on.

Same for attackers. Someone like Edouard would be ideal, add a player like Sarr and we look a much more dangerous outfit. But that'll be another £50-60 million and 2 big wages. So the need to sell Walcott, Bernard, and even Kean on top of Tosun and Bolasie before we can make any other moves is apparent.

We have too many big wages to be able to make any real changes that we desperately need. So maybe the reality will be just 2-3 incomings, and finding a way to get the most out of the underperforming, big earners until we manage to ship them.

Drew O’Neall
66 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:27:01
Wow what a mess!
Trevor Peers
67 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:37:16
Looking at our wage bill, Mina, Gomes and Bernard all on £100k+ and contributing very little I'd say we're up the creek. You can't build a team round those three wasters.
Andy Crooks
68 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:41:12
Kieran, that post @ 4 is just brilliant.

Will Mabon
69 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:44:08
Trevor, when you put it that way, even if all three cost zero to get into the club, and were performing well, it's a hell of a lot of money every week for less than a third of a team.

How quickly the staggering costs of Premier League football have become normalized.

Tom Bowers
70 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:47:09
Everton will have to do a Leicester or Wolves. They didn't have the pulling power of Euro competitions but managed to get a squad together of mostly no-names that became ultra-competitive.

Carlo must have his contacts and hopefully has a shortlist of players who won't cost the earth but have enough class to compliment what he has already and turn this club around.

If other managers can do it then why not Carlo? He knows what crap will not fit into his future plans and I am sure he has appraised those above him so they can get the paperwork ready to ship them out.

We, the fans, are sick and tired of excuses for this sorry bunch and sincerely hope positive action will be taken soon.

Graham Hammond
71 Posted 03/08/2020 at 22:52:08
Fran #65, I disagree, Ancelotti can simply discard Sigurdsson, in fact, he has to do exactly that if he wants us to move forward.

Gylfi is only really of any use in a 4-2-3-1 formation and if the Italian refuses to use that formation then Sigurdsson has no place at Goodison. Just because we paid a massive fee for the player should not mean he is given a starting berth regardless of how he performs.

I have a little sympathy for the player in that I recognise he is more often than not asked to play a role that does not play to his strengths. From my perspective, we also have Iwobi and Gomes who are suited to the same role as Sigurdsson so this duplication has to be removed.

Two out of the three players mentioned need to be moved on in my opinion; if that means we have to subsidise the wages of these players elsewhere, so be it because, until we do, we are going nowhere.

Gomes has his attributes but defending is not his strong point... that is an understatement, he has no place in the two in a 4-2-3-1 formation and, like Gylfi, is not suited to a 4-3-3 formation or a 4-4-2 formation either. Gomes might be okay in a 4-1-4-1 formation with a quality defensive midfielder behind him.

I agree with what you said about Ancelotti bigging up Sigurdsson, that is the right thing to do if we intend to move the player on as I hope. Brands has been very slow in moving players on thus far, probably because it simply highlights and magnifies the idiotic decisions and glaring errors he himself has made in the past.

Will Mabon
72 Posted 03/08/2020 at 23:05:11
"...he has no place in the two in a 4-2-3-1 formation and like Gylfi, is not suited to a 4-3-3 formation or a 4-4-2 formation either. Gomes might be okay in a 4-1-4-1 formation..."

One might like to think that no "Top level" professional, particularly in midfield, could be so limited or niche as to be unsuited/inflexible or barely "okay" for just about every formation.

I'm not sure we're anywhere near competent in team spirit, commitment and the basics at present for such fine tuning to be an issue. Not to mention fitness.

We can talk racehorse when we replace some donkeys.

Drew O’Neall
73 Posted 03/08/2020 at 23:12:02
Richarlison plays centre-forward. Calvert-Lewin isn't good enough and should be sold while his stock is high – £30m would give us some options.

Assuming no-one comes in with big dough for Kean, he's playing in my team until he clicks.

Anthony Gordon looks like a keeper and, like Kean, should be developed in the first team. The rest of the wingers/AMCs are for sale. Assuming we can't shift them, Walcott can do a job on the right when he's fit and the same goes for Bernard on the left. Maybe Bolasie has something left after feeling his way back from injury while out on loan.

We don't have a centre-midfielder worth keeping based on form and Gbamin will never last a season so can be discounted after hardly kicking a ball in blue. No-one's coming in for these players with the possible exception of Gomes who is the least useless of the bunch assuming he recovers some fitness and form.

Iwobi has demonstrated he can run doggies if required but has never been taught to tackle. Of all the things you might need to teach a professional footballer, tackling is one of the most simple and we have one of the ‘best managers in the world'. He would not have been my first choice to buy in the first place but we have a lot of players we're stuck with so Ancelotti or one of his cronies need to get stuck into him on the training field for his sake and ours.

The defence can be fixed with a little common sense but we need another full-back on each side. Maybe Davies can be trained to be a utility player. Centre -midfielders often make decent full-backs on their preferred side.

I'd sell the goalie if we got an offer (as I would any of our players apart from Richarlison who will probably be the one player we do sell) but he's worth persevering with for another year.

In summary, the first player we need to buy is an athletic, combative midfielder with a winner's attitude. I can see why we went for Højbjerg on that basis. If possible, I'd buy two, in case we pull another Gbamin. The other one can always play fullback!

Graham Hammond
74 Posted 03/08/2020 at 23:17:48
Will, I was simply highlighting the fact that I do not believe Gomes (or indeed Sigurdsson or Iwobi) is suited in any defensive capacity which dictates where his role should be, ie, far from the defence!

I agree with you in that we are devoid of team spirit, commitment and fitness. What do you think are the solutions?

Joe Corgan
75 Posted 03/08/2020 at 23:32:23
I see there are reports in the French press today that PSG want to offload Gueye, with Wolves potentially interested.

I wouldn’t mind him back at Everton for the right price!

Jerome Shields
76 Posted 03/08/2020 at 23:59:54
Sam #3,

Brands has put a lot of work into changing the academy and U23 objectives, which has largely been happening under the radar, even before Ancelotti joined Everton. He is close to achieving his objectives. So I think you are right in your assessment of how the academy will figure.

I also think you are right that a lot of players will be available for sale. Ancelotti will have already assessed the players he has, and will not make do with what he has got. I think that any acquisitions will be later in the window, when funds from sales are realised and Moshiri comes up with the transfer money that he agreed with Ancelotti before he started at Everton.

The truth is that a lot of current Everton players are not of the standard that Ancelotti wou!d require to effectively respond to his coaching. We have already seen players respond to his coaching, only to go back to their old ways in subsequent games. I can't see Ancelotti being happy to continue with this

Also Darren on good authority informed us that players blamed Ancelotti openly for the wrong tactics against the Liverpool youngsters in the FA Cup. Ancelotti did not respond and even more ominously did not move an eyebrow. Ancelotti is expecting the squad to work hard this Summer, no extended holidays, so the player assessments by Ancelotti will continue with a more demanding training regime.

It's going to be a markedly different Summer and pre-season than what has gone before.

Don Alexander
77 Posted 04/08/2020 at 01:18:02
Jerome, I hope to God you're right. Moshiri needs the balls of a rhino (the animal, not the functionary) to this summer write-off hundreds of millions of stupid investment in the hope – and that's all that's feasible given the Finch Farm swamp he's sustained – that major investment in the guy with the world-wide reputation of winning major trophies will, four years too late, begin to shape a team consistent with Moshiri's oft-spouted ambitions when he bought in.

If Moshiri fails to provide him with the players he needs to achieve that ambition, it tells us all, within and without the club, that lil' owd' Everton are still happy to accept the dross that Kenwright's served up for well over 20 years.

Jay Harris
78 Posted 04/08/2020 at 03:23:37
It is all right everybody going on about this and that player and there is no doubt we need a quality hard defensive midfielder but as for the other positions nobody has mentioned goals.

Walcott when we bought him was a goalscorer, Sigurdsson had a history of goals until last season.

We cannot continue to rely on Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin for our goals. The rest of the team needs to contribute so we should be concentrating our acquisitions on players with a decent goal contribution.

Jerome Shields
79 Posted 04/08/2020 at 05:07:46
Don #77

I initially thought in terms of tinkering with various positions, but Sam is right: there has to be fundamental change from the ground up. Let's face it, not many of our current players have a winning mentality. That includes our loyal servants. If they did have it, they would have wanted to be in a winning team. Sadly not Everton.

The other problem is that players that have been bought in have drifted from the high expectation levels needed, as they simply have been influenced by the age-old problem of the bad company they are now in. Any player coming into such a set-up would drift the same.

My hope this Summer is that Finch Farm changes continue. The youth development system which I thought was beginning to change, has I now find been changing in line with Premier League standards, instigated and guided by Brands prior to Ancelotti's arrival. Gordon and Branthwaite are beneficiaries of that. The next area is Medical Services where injury prevention will be governed by harder training and recovery, with an emphasis on harder training rather than rest. Ancelotti has already talked in terms of more work and training, proclaiming the warm weather break as unnecessary, and a working Summer with no extended holidays.

It is my hope that Ancelotti's extensive and strategic changes in personnel in Medical Services will fundamentally change Finch Farm into a higher fitness regime, and irradicate the inconsistent performance that, in my opinion, is large!y fitness-based due to a below standard training regime and a below-standard prevention of injury regime. There is resistance to these changes. That is why there has to be a for sale sign over most of the squad.

Fundamental changes at Everton are a must, tinkering with the present squad will not get the results that Ancelotti is used to achieving. We can speculate on high-priced saviours all Summer but they will only be effective if brought into a regime that is orientated to work hard towards winning. Such change may not bring initial success, but more a noticeable change in attitude and consistency in team performance. Everton would be therefore more adaptable to Ance!otti's team management and tactic changes in individual games.

The priority for Ancelotti and Brands will be players in and out, with this objective in mind.

It has to be a Big Summer ahead.

Adam Scott
80 Posted 04/08/2020 at 07:17:02
It's a tough one this. I'll summarise my views.


I think Carlo has to get realistic here. This team won't play 4-4-2 without serious investment. That won't happen. I think the best option we have is a fluid 3-5-2/5-3-2. I don't really think we have a midfield capable of a 2. We also have financial issues for at least 1 year. So this would be a solution where a top quality right-back, maybe a left-footed centre-half, and a centre-midfielder would do.


Pickford. I would keep him. I think at his best, his ceiling is way higher than anything we could get. The question marks on his mental side mean he isn't saleable this year anyway for a price we'd need. For his faults, people forget he's pulled off saves others wouldn't. I also think him not being England's Number One will be a positive.


Holgate starts. Mina starts. If we could get Gabriel that would be a coup. Keane on the bench. Gibson on loan. Coleman in case of injury. My formation would start with three. Mina centre of three.


This will be vital. Digne has the potential to boss the left side in a 3-5-2 with the ball. He also has to offer defensive nous without the ball in a 5-3-2 when under the cosh. We need the equivalent on the right. I'm not sure Kenny is good enough. Coleman I don't think has the technical ability for it either, or the long-term legs.


Right now, there won't be extensive surgery. Therefore we need a three. For me, they would be

– a new defensive midfielder to alternate with Gbamin.
– alongside Gomes in a quaterback role
– in advance of thes,e to be a Number 8. That for me has to be Iwobi. He cost too much and has too much ability to simply discount. This plays to his strengths. He's no winger. Now, if you can recoup most of your outlay on Iwobi, that's something to consider.


Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin suit the 2. So play it. I think Kean is probably our only option in a 1 right now anyway.

Kean to alternate in. I was really impressed with him vs Bournemouth. I also reckon Tosun would be half-decent in a 2, but do you really want Richarlison to be Tosun's water carrier to allow this? Realistically he goes this summer.

To summarise (5-3-2):

New centre-back
New right-back
New centre-midfielder

Adam Scott
81 Posted 04/08/2020 at 07:23:52
Players to be sold (I won't include the U23s like Bowler here... their position isn't clear cut...)

Permanent outs

Sandro: buy him out rather than subsidising loan wages for another year. Symbolically, him going is important.

Bolasie: loan him out and recoup for 12 months what you can. An awful signing even if he had stayed fit. I'd argue Bolasie at the price, wage and age was our worst signing.

Kenny: if not good enough has to go permanently this season.

Pennington: sell for whatever, he will never make it.

Besic: I think he will be attractive enough with only 12 months left


Gibson to the Championship
Virginia to League One level
Tosun to somewhere in January's window (or whenever it's placed), he won't be fit enough I guess for this window.

Those who think Sigurdsson will go anywhere are deluded. 2 years on his money – no chance!

Drew O’Neall
82 Posted 04/08/2020 at 08:11:38
Adam, if you think Bolasie was a worse signing than Sandro you’re barking.
Adam Scott
83 Posted 04/08/2020 at 08:59:25
I think it was a close-run thing, Drew. But Sandro at £5M and £120k a week just comes in second to Bolasie at £30M and £75k a week.

Sandro was a punt on a cheap transfer fee, but ridiculous wages Bolasie has been a journeyman highlight-reel player his whole career. He was never a player who would have been worth that outlay. He was never going to improve. He also would have had zero resale value.

Sandro... it was thinkable to see him as a good signing. But not on them wages – it was disastrous.

The Bolasie signing. Anyone who knew anything about football knew that was laughable.

1) Bolasie
2) Sandro
3) Sigurdsson

For me.

Adam Scott
84 Posted 04/08/2020 at 09:23:15
Bolasie had never scored significant goals, never clocked up significant assists. Never played European football. Never been linked with a big team.

Sandro... let's go back to 2016 or whenever. He'd come off the back of a good year for Malaga. Brought up at Barcelona, he was available for £5M. Paying him that money was unthinkably stupid. But his signing had a bit of sense.

Bolasie. What exactly anyone saw to pay £30M for him, or anywhere near £75k a week, was ridiculous. He had only ever been, and would be, a bang average Premier League player.

Can you imagine the reaction at Selhurst Park when that bid went in...

Alan J Thompson
85 Posted 04/08/2020 at 09:43:56
Adam (#83); It has been said so many times by so many people that Sandro is on nothing like £120k per week which would be a lot closer if you meant silver coins. I've seen it said that it is in the region of £65k a week – still a nice little earner.

As for whether we should keep him, I would prefer that he and all those out on loan are recalled for Mr Ancelotti to assess – which may encourage them to move permanently rather than spending a couple of months on Merseyside every year until their contracts end.

Adam Scott
86 Posted 04/08/2020 at 10:42:51
I don’t know Alan, I think it’s widely reported that his wages are around that figure. According to people like the esk as well.

Sandro has no intention of staying past his contract. He wants to be in Spain. If the lad wanted to fight, he’d have stayed before now. What’s the point in letting Carlo have a look?

Jerome Shields
87 Posted 04/08/2020 at 11:02:37
Don #77,

I re-read the second part of your post. I agree this is make-or-break time for Moshiri's intentions for Everton. We cannot go into next season thinking we can build a team around the dross of last season and previous seasons.

The questions that Jay (#78) raises is a key issue. Kean in his last games looked more like it than others.

Alan J Thompson
88 Posted 04/08/2020 at 14:09:54
Adam(#86); That was the very point, if he wants to stay in Spain then he might not appreciate having to spend pre-season at Finch Farm and might agree to a permanent move. Besides, would Mr Ancelotti have seen him close up?

We'll just disagree on what he is paid other than it will cost Everton a lot less if he can be persuaded to move even at a price similar to that received for Schneiderlin.

Ben Attwood
89 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:33:46
Adam #80, I agree 3-5-2 has to be looked at.

3 years ago we beat City 4-0 which was at the time Guardiola's heaviest league defeat.

Team that day was (3-5-2):-


Funes Mori



Gueye missed the match and so an extra centre-back was played.

Koeman never tried this formation again. Had he, we may not be in the mess we are today...

Fast-forward 3 years and the team now would be:



Davies? Gbamin?


The ? marks are the areas where there need to be improvements or replacements. So focus needs to be on CB?, energetic RWB, CM x 2 with those marked ? in the above line up becoming cover supplemented by the younger players - Branthwaite, Kenny, Gordon, Kean, Baningime, Nkounkou, Virginia.

Sell Sigurdsson, Walcott, Bernard, Tosun, Delph, Besic, Ramirez, Bolasie, etc to raise as much £s as possible.

Not perfect but would be a good start...

Ajay Gopal
90 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:34:56
Many pundits are saying (and I tend to agree) that there will be a lot of player swap deals, with most clubs unwilling to spend cash out of their pockets. Of course, the rich clubs like Man City, Chelsea, etc have money to spend but even they have to balance the books.

Clubs will want to offload their fringe players to reduce their wage burden and then figure out what money they have left over to sign new players. This is going to be a very busy transfer window and Brands has his work cut out.

Will Mabon
91 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:33:39
Graham #74,

I knew where you were coming from, Graham. I agree. The solution(s)? That's a big one. I don't know if I could address that without writing a "War and Peace" post. When I get the time, maybe I will!

Robert Tressell
92 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:35:19
On formation, I think Ancelotti has shown a preference for 4-4-2 but a pleasing tactical move to 5-3-2 and 4-3-3, often with the same personnel. I like this. I expect he'll keep doing it but with a bias in favour of starting with 4 at the back.

Adam, whatever formation we probably upgrade along the lines you describe. A centre-half (Gabriel, Todibo, Salisu or Zouma) to get us higher up the pitch, a centre mid player (Allan, Hojbjerg, McKennie) to add more quality, aggression, leadership etc and finally – an improved right flank. The transfer rumours indicate an open mind as to whether this is a better right back (Aarons, Dalot, Dagba, Çelik etc) or a better right-winger (Ünder, Lozano, Bailey).

Finally, on swaps, I think they make a lot of sense but hard to find the right conditions. Clubs in Italy would gladly take Kean off us. But he's going nowhere. Swaps involving Walcott, Ramirez, Bolasie, Besic and even Sigurdsson seem a lot less likely. Kenny for McKennie is the only one I can think of that seems feasible.

Thank god for the emergence if Calvert-Lewin, Holgate, Gordon and Branthwaite this season. Otherwise, we could be in an awful state.

Sam Hoare
93 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:44:27
Højbjerg move to Spurs agreed. Wonder who's next on the list for Brands? Allan seems a very different proposition so I wonder how much truth there is in that.
Anthony Murphy
94 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:04:47
I wonder if Gueye is in the frame, if Højbjerg is off to Spurs?
Joe McMahon
95 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:07:11
Sam, he was never gonna come to us. The pull of London and their stadium, or wet north and Goodison. We (somehow) need hungry players that want to be part of "The Moshiri 15-year project".

I apologise for being negative, it's just I can't see us breaking the never ending dissapointing cycle. I still think the failure of Kings Dock all those years ago was our chance (gone).

Fran Mitchell
96 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:09:54
Watching the playoff final... If Fulham don't come up, then Josh Onomah looks just the type of midfielder we're lacking.
Darren Hind
97 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:16:32
The foolish claim that the name of Ancelotti will attract top players is already beginning to unravel.

The only way we will get players who have attracted interest of the top boys, is to pay them considerably more.

Mike Gaynes
98 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:35:19
Fran, yes, and if Fulham do go up, I like Benrahma of Brentford for the same reason -- sharp-passing #10 who knows how to score.
Colin Glassar
99 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:36:53
The cheque book talks louder than reputations.
Joe McMahon
100 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:38:13
Darren, I tend to agree, certainly without European football.
Mike Gaynes
101 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:43:24
Adam #86, I don't know who has been "widely reporting" that number, but according to Spotrac, the most authoritative site on the subject and the one quoted by all the UK and European papers: https://www.spotrac.com/epl/everton-fc/payroll/

Sandro is on £65,000 a week.

The Everton player collecting £120,000 a week is Bernard, not Sandro.

Graham Hammond
102 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:44:51
Joe #95, Who do you think would come to us and who would you try to bring to the club?

Robert #92, We currently have Richarlison, Kean and Calvert-Lewin on our books, so do you think these three could be our front line three and a reason to start to transition to a 4-3-3 formation for next season?

Will #91, It seems we are in agreement that we would both have to take a week off in order to address the 'evil' question that I posed you, such are the problems at the club currently.

Fran Mitchell
103 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:53:16
Good shout Mike. Jensen for Brentford isn't having the best of finals so far, but he's a quality little midfielder who's passing we could certainly do with to who I'd welcome at Everton too.
Mike Gaynes
104 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:01:11
I'm a bit less of a Jensen fan, Fran. Neat player, very solid, tremendous work rate, but rarely a major impact, and -- as they say in Texas -- he couldn't score in a two-bit fancy house. Just watched him trip over a pass from Benrahma in the box.

What do you think of Watkins? Similar player and game to Calvert-Lewin?

Fran Mitchell
105 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:01:50
There is some real quality in the Championship these days and really think of we focused our money on getting the cream of the crop we'd be far better than by signing the mid level 'proven' Premier League players who have failed us so badly.

Benhrahma, Watkins, Jensen, Onomah, Eze, Cash are just a few who'd improve our team.

Mike Gaynes
106 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:16:02
"The foolish claim that the name of Ancelotti will attract top players is already beginning to unravel."

Darren... um.... after a week?
Joe McMahon
107 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:33:32
Graham, I haven't the foggiest. Like stated by others, there is quality in the Championship. I'm hoping Kean will improve more next season, he can run directly at defenders, but we somehow need to offload much if the crap, with 2 quality midfielders coming in.
Rob Halligan
108 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:46:15
Watching this play-off final, I wouldn't want anyone from either side. This game is boring as fuck.
Fran Mitchell
109 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:48:08
Mike, Watkins is a Calvert-Lewin clone, for sure. Decent player, reckon he'd take a while to adapt to the Premier League (like Calvert-Lewin, and like Che Adams too) but will develop into a fine player.
Graham Hammond
110 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:50:30
Joe #107,

It sounds like (similar to me) you do not watch too much football other than Everton but I appreciate and respect your honesty! I will agree with you and say that we do need to offload the crap.

I have my doubts as to whether the club will make the hard decisions it really needs to in the coming weeks. As far as I am concerned, this time period really is last chance saloon for Marcel Brands.

Dependant on the price, I would be interested in taking back Kurt Zouma but as much as I loved Gana Gueye age is now a huge minus. I always quite liked Will Hughes as a footballer (budget option) even though he is a red, could be a decent squad addition if we clear some of the grossly overpaid, underperforming 'stars'.

Tony Everan
111 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:58:28
I get the feeling that Brands is doing all the legwork and his ultimate targets are then just getting cherry picked by the big six clubs.

Gabriel to Man U
Hojbjerg to Tottenham
Reguilon to Chelsea

I think it will continue to happen with every player he comes up with. The agents must be loving it, they will be touting their charge to the big six clubs 5 minutes after Marcel puts the phone down.

He must be frustrated, but unfortunately it goes with the territory of currently being out of Europe. His strategy needs to cope with that. Outbidding on the wages front can backfire spectacularly too, Mr B has definitely got his work cut out. It certainly is a ‘Big Summer’ for him.

The strategy could boil down to signing Allan because of his allegiance to Ancelotti or re-signing Idrissa Gana Gueye, possibly taking Lozano on loan for a year.

Then making one or two signings of players on the up. Ones who are not going to start for a big six club just yet but have massive potential to prove themselves stepping up to a bigger club. A few names are always mentioned Brooks, Buendia, Aarons, Eze and some from abroad like Sangare. All players who are gettable if Carlo rates them.

Joe McMahon
112 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:59:11
Graham, agreed as Sigurdsson's and Bernard's salaries are eye-watering, I know I keep saying it but Wayne Rooney came back to £160k per week, it's just astounding.

I do like McNeil from Burnley, not sure if he's available though.

Danny O’Neill
113 Posted 04/08/2020 at 22:02:03
As a follower of Schalke in the Bundesliga, I've previously hoped we might look at their young centre back Kabak. A bright star emerging. Yet I see our red cousins & Jurgen with his regional links are now linked. We could well have missed a trick there.
Robert Tressell
114 Posted 04/08/2020 at 22:12:26

McNeil is someone who gets overlooked because Burnley are so unfashionable. He's very good. Could you imagine him an Aarons forming our right flank?

Might cost about £35M for McNeil alone but would get delivery into the box, good skills and work rate too.

Before the restart, I was hoping for Rabiot and Neres or Malcom for the right-wing slot in a 4-3-3. Now, with our 4-4-2, Neres or Malcom wouldn't work; McNeil would.

Unfortunately Rabiot won't be coming now. Just for completeness.

Graham Hammond
115 Posted 04/08/2020 at 22:26:16
Joe & Robert,

I have mentioned McNeil before as a player I would really like us to bring in. I think the problem and dilemma we have right now is where we prioritise first. McNeil would be a good addition particularly if Carlo wanted to push us to a 4-4-2 formation.

Robert, I did think that McNeil played on the left and Aarons on the right though?

I would love Sarr perhaps most of all although it is being reported that his agent is now in talks with the RS; he seems quality and will probably demand a fee we cannot stretch to anyway because of the money we have wasted on shite previously.

Sam Hoare
116 Posted 04/08/2020 at 22:42:00
McNeil is very good but plays much more and usually much better from the left. Also, Burnley have no need to sell him to a team they've finished above in 2 out of the last 3 seasons.

Sarr looks a very good fit to me. Absolutely lightning. Gets goals and assists. Great age but has proven he can do it in this league and will surely not stay at Watford. But, if the RS are really in for him, then it won't happen.

Such has been our backwards progression over last 4 years that no sane player will pick us over the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea etc. Even Wolves and Leicester will pip us to players now.

Dave Abrahams
117 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:23:07
Rob (108), yes the final was very poor; too much tension attached to the game because of the financial outcome riding on the result.

In previous games this season there have very good performances from two or three players from these teams, including the No 10 from Fulham Benrahma. He had a poor game last night and didn't do himself justice, including wasting two free kicks, but he is a lot better than he showed last night.

Whether they could do it in the Premier League is another matter, along with the price asked for them.

Rob Halligan
118 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:40:38
I agree with you there Dave. The financial rewards offered to the winner certainly adds to the tension. Players are almost too afraid to make a mistake for fear of the possible consequences.

Look at the Brentford goalkeeper. He should never have been beaten like he was for the first goal, and I think he knew at the end that error cost his team promotion, he was distraught.

Obviously the lack of a crowd didn't help, and at times it felt almost like a practice match.

Dave Abrahams
119 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:45:48
Rob (118), Yes I thought both teams were too frightened of losing to go all out for the win, and it always looked that one of the teams would score from a mistake which the Brentford goalkeeper eventually made, what a clanger!!
Adam Scott
120 Posted 05/08/2020 at 14:00:47
I take the correction on Sandro's wages. Apologies.
Danny O’Neill
121 Posted 05/08/2020 at 16:00:27
It was a dreadful match. Have to say, aside from the keeper getting his footing completely wrong for the goal that, as Dave says, ultimately probably cost his team promotion, I quite liked the look of the Brentford keeper. Quite decisive and very commanding of his area.

I'm still undecided on the play off concept. I know the teams go into it knowing the score, but the purist in me still finds it a bit unfair that in a league competition, the team that finishes 3rd doesn't get rewarded with the 3rd promotion place. That's just me though.

If we are going to have them, I quite liked the framework we adopted, I think only for the very first season they were introduced, but one the Germans still use. 3rd, 4th & 5th from the Championship with the 3rd from bottom of the Premier League in the mix too!!

Darren Hind
122 Posted 05/08/2020 at 16:14:23
Actually, Mike, it's after 8 months, but you are technically right anyway. I did say it after a week.

I believe the days of players signing for a club for "the opportunity and experience" of working for a particular manager (and I do mean any manager) have gone.

That's is one of the reasons I have always felt we are paying too much for the wrong guy.

Danny O’Neill
124 Posted 05/08/2020 at 17:08:53
Let's see how this window works out before pre-judging. But the point is valid; players won't necessarily move because of a manager now. But maybe we stand more chance of getting a better class of player than we would otherwise.

Let's see. That's all we can do right now.

Darren Hind
125 Posted 05/08/2020 at 18:21:36
I think those who want to wait and see how it pans out are perfectly at liberty to do so
Danny O’Neill
126 Posted 05/08/2020 at 18:34:49
As are those who don't want to Darren!!
Danny O’Neill
127 Posted 05/08/2020 at 18:52:32
One thing I'm hopeful for is that we will see more of a blend of using the academy and new signings. I don't know if that is through necessity or it is the strategy of Brands and Ancelotti, but it's the way it should be otherwise why have an academy?

Jury still out, but let's see now that we have a very successful football man (player and manager), who can hopefully have more influence on the player decision-making than his recent predecessors.

Darren Hind
128 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:10:26
It would appear not, Danny.

I read the writing on the wall. I can't miss it because the letters are enormous, but every time I say what I think. somebody tells me to wait and see. There is always somebody thinking patience is a positive.

I could of course counter that by telling them to wake up and smell the coffee, but I get myself enough bollockings on here. Quite what people believe they are waiting for, is something that completely escapes me.

I don't believe that this club can ever move forward until this logic-defying patience is finally exhausted and I worry that will never happen. I fear many Evertonians will die from being patient. The trouble is, they'll take the rest of us with them.

I would be happy to see "mañana" surgically removed from the vocabulary of every Evertonian:

"I want it now, I want it now!"

"Don't tell me that my ship is coming in."

Paul Tran
129 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:21:17
Ah, but the good news, Darren, is that if we die of patience, it will be a long time until we expire – and if our football stays as it is it'll feel like even longer!
Darren Hind
130 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:27:08
Fair enough, Paul.

Silver lining and all that...

Paul Tran
131 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:29:08
There's always a good side, Darrren. I just come on here to stay grounded!
Robert Tressell
132 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:30:17
Graham & Sam - McNeil does play mostly on the left for Burnley but right wing too plenty of times. I expect he'd be mostly right for us because we've got lots of right footers who are better on the left. And that seems to suit Digne. Aarons and McNeil would be an excellent partnership on the right, I think.

Further links to Leon Bailey today. That would also be great.

Paul Tran
133 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:52:05
Dave #117, if they contemplate shelling out £18m (release clause) for that Brentford striker without trying to get Edouard from Celtic, I'll apply for Brands's job myself.

Even if I was as poor, I'd be a lot cheaper – and I'd have resale value!

Patrick McFarlane
134 Posted 05/08/2020 at 20:59:43
Professional football is one of the few industries that doesn't have to provide customer satisfaction at its core; buy a washing machine that fails to clean your clothes and you can return it to the store and buy another from elsewhere with your refund.

Watch endless mind-numbing footy matches which may also end in defeat and that's tough luck on the customer – better luck next time around.

Given that fact, I'm not sure what fans can do apart from being as patient as Job although it seems he was far from being patient and was more renowned for his levels of endurance.

In every sense apart from our emotional attachment to the club, we are mere consumers and therefore we can choose not to buy the product if we so wish or refuse to attend once we have shelled out for a season ticket. Despite claims to the contrary, it is unlikely that our marching through the streets with pitchforks in hand will result in a sudden change of policy by the board or owner; it might result in a manager being sacked but it won't alter the culture.

Danny O’Neill
135 Posted 06/08/2020 at 09:32:34
Nothing wrong with being impatient for success, Darren! We're going into the season with this manager whether we like it not, so we have to see how he approaches his first full season.

I agree with your sentiment, though. As a collective, we have sadly become apathetic and indifferent. I often have this debate with younger family members who seemingly accept mediocrity. It comes to light when having the "this player vs that player" debate. I get told I am being unrealistic as that's not where we are. Perhaps, but I counter that by arguing: "Where do you want Everton to be?"

And please do keep giving your views (not that you need my consent of course!!). I agree with some, I have different views on others, but I always respect them. I could say that about just about every person I know.

In fact, the only person who is 100% aligned with me on Everton these days is my dog, who always sits there nodding in agreement at my sentimental stories of past success or frustrated rants such as post Wolves!!

Joe McMahon
136 Posted 06/08/2020 at 09:51:25
Danny, expectations have become so low, many Evertonians expect no European football, never-ever winning away and certain grounds, never beating Liverpool and early cup exits. What's the point of Everton FC? Only on Toffeweb about 2 weeks ago, someone actually posted "Well, at least Bill's a Blue, and he's one of us, who cares".

While we have fans with this mentality the downward spiral will only continue. Everton have not won a trophy for 25 years – for 11 of those with the same manager – does this count to the illustrious history?

Darren Hind
137 Posted 06/08/2020 at 11:40:09

You will remember a few years ago when the talk of Kirkby was filling these pages? Bill Kenwright's kite was flashed up on the screen at Goodison and he received applause from a sizeable minority of the crowd. Since then, his deeds and misdeeds have been well-documented support has dwindled. I must confess I have never come across a match-goer who has any time for him. Nor have I ever come across one anywhere online who has said "He's one of us so who cares."

Therein lies the problem. It's not just Kenwright's popularity which has dwindled. His influence in negligible... Yet people still see him as being the problem.

A duplicitous fooker he may be, but Kenwright didn't spend £500M on Shite. He was always far too interested in what he could get out of the club than spending it. He's gone as the caller of shots. Quite why people hold him responsible for the shit show we are witnessing now is beyond me.

The Evertonian was once a knowledgeable fan. That's gone. we have been infiltrated by happy clappers and poor judges who point the finger of blame in the most ridiculous of directions.

The wily old fox will not attract the promising young players we need. To them, the prospect of signing for him and Brands must seem about as attractive as signing on the dotted for child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There are only two reasons they will sign for us:

A) nobody higher up the ladder wants them.

B) we pay them far more than they are worth.

I don't agree with Patrick either. The fanfare which has greeted Ancelotti's arrival will be very familiar to Moshiri. It happens every time. Every poor signing and appointment has been greeted with this incredible outpouring.

It's going to be years before they realise they have nailed their colors to yet another rotten mast. By then the appointment will be deemed a disaster and once again, it will be deemed Moshiri's fault again.

Ask a section of our fan base where the root of our problems lie and they would probably point firmly in the direction of Tom Davies.

Danny O’Neill
138 Posted 07/08/2020 at 07:36:39
Late response, Darren. Apologies as I was travelling to Germany for a weekend trip originally planned for the early May Bank Holiday.

I don't want to get into the name game, because as you allude to, people throw blame at different levels depending on their view and position.

Your post did make me refer back to a previous discussion we had recently and, without saying it directly, you've highlighted that theme again. The reason we can throw blame out at players, managers, the chairman and owners (depending on where you sit) goes back to a lack of strategy stretching back several years. We have no end-to-end strategy or system, which creates disjointery that would make a South American political regime look organised.

There are systematic fault lines throughout the club at all levels. We have a randomly assembled playing squad that lacks shape. In fact, it struggles to be put into any form of shape because we don't know what style we want to play. This is largely because of the manager merry-go-round we have been on since 2013.

Then we get to the owner who has seemingly written a blank cheque for the reckless spending by a series of managers when there is obviously no longer-term vision in place – other than building a new stadium. Well, it would be nice to have a decent team to watch play in that stadium first. If you look at most examples, those who get it right build on the pitch first and the stadium follows. You don't build the roof before the foundations and walls, right?

When I have conducted planning, I first figure out the objective. What have I been asked to do, where do we want to be and how do we get there? Then you plan on what activities need to happen and what goals need to be met within a target timeline iin order to hit that objective. And then, you put the right people, top-to-bottom system and processes in place to achieve the goals that get you to your objective. And then communication. Everyone is bought in, everyone knows what we are trying to achieve and their part in executing the plan.

Everton have been conducting spray gun tactical activities in the hope of getting a quick win. The players don't know what the latest manager wants. The manager is still figuring out what he's got dealt and not sure what direction the board want to go in.

Derek Taylor
139 Posted 08/08/2020 at 17:07:20
And still they sell 30,000 season tickets without much effort. And they can live without the support of so many on here – including me – who never go near the place.
Tony Hill
140 Posted 08/08/2020 at 17:50:28
I think Moise Kean is going to be a very pleasant surprise for us. I suspect many had written him off but he has instinctive moments that only truly class players can produce.

There was one against Newcastle, but the big one was that pass to Walcott against Bournemouth (a lovely touch in a fine general performance).

Yes, they are just glimpses and we paid a lot for him, but if this young man is properly supported by us all and properly coached then I feel we may have a real jewel.

Graham Hammond
141 Posted 08/08/2020 at 18:07:43
Tony Hill #140,

Like yourself, I see genuine great potential in Moise Kean and particularly if he is played down the centre as a striker in either a 4-3-3 formation or even a 4-3-1-2 formation which currently would accommodate either Gomes, Iwobi, Sigurdsson or Bernard as the 'one'.

I think much depends on Moise himself and whether he genuinely wants to succeed at Everton or not and whether he has the will and drive. As a club, we need to give youth a chance, it has worked for us with Holgate and has seemingly bitten us on the arse by not really giving Vlasic a chance as one example.

I thought Calvert-Lewin was shite after lockdown and that has to change, I hope Carlo gives Kean a real chance, I feel we will see a player on an upward curve if this is the case.

I do think bombing the lad out, as we did with Vlasic, will be a mistake unless of course, he doesn't want to play for us which changes things.

Paul Tran
142 Posted 08/08/2020 at 18:11:36
We recruit poorly.

We have a CEO who only talks about charity & community. We need one solely focused on a successful football team and business.

We have a Director of Football who buys brittle, peripheral, largely ineffective players. We need one who buys strong, effective players with a defined role, who make up a team. We've recruited the wrong type of manager time and again, let's see about this one.

We have a Chairman, who in my view, stands in the way of the club making the changes it needs to make as a business.

The owner? I have conflicting thoughts on Moshiri. I can't doubt his financial commitment and vision. I'm torn between thinking that Kenwright's convinced him we're a well-run club with a great chairman that just needs money, or that he's a daft rich man that thrown his business principles out of the window.

We're still a badly-run club, we're now one that spends more money.

I'm increasingly convinced that at a time of money pouring into the game, Bill 'couldn't find the right investor' because they all wanted him out of the way. He found one that let him stay.

I don't have insider knowledge – from up here, I can't think of any other reason why getting a wealthy owner has disappointed us so much.

The club must change first. It must be run like a ruthlessly ambitious, successful business. Until I see evidence of that, I think we'll carry on drifting, whoever the manager is.

Tony Hill
143 Posted 08/08/2020 at 18:23:20
Yes, Graham @141, he must believe in himself and want to play for us. That's why the Bournemouth performance mattered with his 3-yard goal; he looked sharp and as though he had found himself. We can only hope so.

As others have noted, I see the possibility of a good, young side taking shape. I also happen to agree with you about Vlasic though I'm not sure his impatient family helped.

Dreadful we may have been for a while but there is just the sniff of something happening.

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