I don't think there is anything which divides the opinion of Evertonians quite like the question: "Who is our best defensive partnership?" We never seem to be able to get a settled consistent partnership. Why is that? Are we not mixing the right blend? Are they being coached badly? Have our tactics left them exposed? ... or are the centre-halves we have recruited just not good enough?

Whilst we haven't gone bananas (like some clubs) when purchasing centre-backs, we have still forked out quite a lot of cash. Sure, we got Holgate for a song, but we spent the best part of £75M on Mina, Keane and Godfrey... were they worth it?

We were not signing an unknown when we signed Yerry Mina. We had all seen the Colombian monster power home the equalizer against England and he was coming from Barcelona so he must be good... right?

I`ve been hugely disappointed with big Yerry. First impressions of him were very positive; he looked to have all the tools. Experienced, strong physique, no slouch, decent distribution, very powerful in the air... but I didn't reckon on him being quite so wooden.

I didn't reckon on him costing us goals by not seeing danger early enough. I didn't see him as somebody who would completely lose 10-15 minutes of a game after being sleepwalked into a personal fued by a cute forward looking to wreck his focus. I didn't expect this giant of a man to be sideline nearly as often as he is.

Good enough? This season alone, he has cost us goals that I believe a better professional would have prevented.

Michael Keane cost roughly the same as Mina but, for me, he has been just as big a disappointment. Again, he seemed to have the attributes: good in the air, composed on the ball (most of the time), good distribution, very good if given time and, although not aggressive, his bravery couldn't really be questioned.

But, for me, he too has as many flaws in his make-up as attributes. He can be indecisive. He is slower than a week in jail (something I believe he often tries to overcompensate for) and he turns like the Egremont. A decent centere-half when the game is going his way, but struggles badly when taken out of his comfort zone. The closer he gets to the half-way line the more vulnerable he looks.

Then there is Mason Holgate. He has been my biggest disappointment. A natural footballer who can play short give-and-take football, much faster across the ground than the other two with a lateral movement they don't possess. Such is his talent, Big Dunc had no qualms about plunging him into midfield against decent opposition... So what has happened to him?

Being played at right-back so often by Carlo Ancelotti did nothing for his game, I`m sure of that, but there has to be more to it than that. A sloppiness has crept into his game. A good passer who has stopped taking care of his passes. His less-than-intense body language gives the impression he doesn't care enough.

The incessant gum-chewing doesn't help dispel the sneaking suspicion that he thought he had "made it" when he signed his very lucrative 5-year contract... If he is to fulfil all that early promise, he needs to get his game back together. Now would be a good time to start.

Ben Godfrey was a revelation last season; he was thrown in much sooner than even he would have expected and he responded fantastically. His pace and power saved us regularly and came as a very pleasant surprise... but are we witnessing a second season syndrome? Probably too early to say that, especially in light of his health problems, but I have to confess his positioning has worried me. I am not as confident that we have signed a genuine star as I was last season.

We had them sorts of center-halves since no-nonsense Dave Watson gave us a calm if unspectacular assurance.
Most have not been met with universal approval. Stubbs was "too slow", Stones was "too cocky" and Gough got here too late. We're still searching…

So what is our best possible pairing now? I don't think we have an ideal partnership but, for me, it would never ever be Mina and Keane. They are simply too static. For centuries, lighthouses have served a purpose… but I am yet to see a pair of them come down Scotland Road in an open-top bus.