Tarkowski finally unveiled as an Everton player

02/07/2022 64comments  |  Jump to last

Everton FC

James Tarkowski is officially an Everton player after the club were able to announce his acquisition on a free transfer from Burnley now that his contract at Turf Moor has expired.

The defender leaves the relegated Clarets after six years to become the Toffees' first signing of the summer and the first under new Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell.

Tarkowski began his career at Oldham Athletic and spent two seasons at Brentford before joining Burnley in 2016. He will bring plenty of experience and an encouraging injury record to Everton who have sought to bolster their back line given Yerry Mina's injury problems and the fact that Jarrad Branthwaite is expected to go out on loan to gain more first-team experience this coming season.

The negotiations to bring Tarkowski to Goodison Park, which include reported wages of £90,000 a week and an undisclosed signing-on fee, were wrapped up a couple of weeks ago but Everton elected to delay the announcement of his arrival until his Burnley term was up on 30th June, perhaps in light of the concerns raised by his former club and Leeds United over Everton's accounting procedures and the huge portion of their losses that have been written off to due the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Article continues below video content

Tarkowski signed a four-year contract with the Blues and will wear the No. 2 jersey vacated by Jonjoe Kenny who recently signed for Hertha Berlin.

"I'm an ambitious person. I want to achieve. I want to win things and I've come here to be successful," Tarkowski said.

"Speaking to the manager, it was very important to see what he wants from his players and his team, what he saw in me and why he wanted to sign me.

"I think the manager recognised my strengths, saw how I could fit into his system and hopefully improve the team.

"He also saw my character and leadership skills — that what I can bring to a group will be good and positive."

Tarkowski, who had other offers from elsewhere, also explained how much of a draw Everton's fans were for him in making his decision to join the club.

“The support [the supporters] gave the team last season was incredible. You saw just how big the fanbase is. Despite a difficult season, Everton fans got behind their team more than ever.

“I think they are a massive factor about this club. Hopefully successful times are ahead and, with the talent we have in the squad, we can give the fans something they really enjoy.”

Thelwell added his comments welcoming Tarkowski to Everton, saying:

“We are delighted to welcome a player of James' quality to Everton and believe he will be an excellent addition to our squad.

“The statistics show that James has consistently been one of the Premier League's most reliable defenders in recent years. Added to his playing attributes, his excellent leadership skills and experience will be a huge benefit, too.

“James is a player I've admired for many years and Frank was very keen to bring him to the club. We look forward to him being a highly-valued member of our squad next season and in the years to come.”


Reader Comments (64)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer ()

Jack Convery
1 Posted 02/07/2022 at
One in – another half-dozen at least, to come.

He's one of us now, so let's hope he's less Ashley Williams and more Dave Watson. We badly need a tough, robust, leader at the back; I'm hoping we have just signed him.

Welcome, James.

Mike Hayes
2 Posted 02/07/2022 at
If he wants to be successful and win things, why did he come here or did he successfully win a contract? Fingers crossed like the rest he hits the ground running – welcome to basket-case land!
Tony Everan
3 Posted 02/07/2022 at
A big blue Evertonian welcome to James Tarkowski. I liked his brief comments in his interview, they were positive and to the point.

He wants to bring toughness, solidity and leadership to our defence. Sounds like captain material before he's kicked a ball for us.

If he gives us 100% commitment while trying to give us those much-needed qualities he will be respected and appreciated.

Good luck, James.

Jamie Crowley
4 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Not the biggest fan of this signing, to be honest.

Don't like the term of the contract – too long. Two to three years would have been good business. He's 29 – not what we really want to sign. His contract will be up at 33. That's too old and could – could – end up being the Everton Way of a player who just is engaging in wage draining and is ineffective in a few years.

There's something to be said for experience at the centre-back position. If you're going to sign 'old', sign old centre-backs. So that could be seen as something remotely positive.

But overall I'm not thrilled with this in the least.

Nonetheless, good luck and welcome, James. Hope you prove me wrong.

Jay Harris
5 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I think this is a great signing. Experienced no-nonsense Premier League defender on a free.

Our one Achilles Heel has been addressed at the back; now we need to rebuild that midfield and get some goal scoring players in.

Barry Hesketh
6 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Jamie @4,

I have the same reservations as you do, seems a big wage and a long contract, but that's the way Everton FC have operated for the last few years.

If he justifies his contract and salary playing for Everton, we won't moan, but our recent history suggests otherwise; nevertheless, it is an additional player in the right area, so we live in hope.

Ed Fitzgerald
7 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Will we ever learn over contracts? It appears not. I'm not even convinced he is any better than the other centre-halves currently in our squad.
Steve Cotton
8 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Great player, taught that diving twat Richarlison with a great tackle at Goodison...

Good defender too!

Ray Roche
9 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Only problem I have is with the length of the contract: 4 years is a year too long in my opinion.
Phil Greenough
10 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Age is just a number, Jamie, as Dave Watson, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines excellently demonstrated.

James' stats for the 21/22 season are very impressive and he has played an average of 35 games a season for the last three. Let's hope he can replicate them for Everton.

Mark Ryan
11 Posted 02/07/2022 at
At a time when we don't appear to have pot to piss in, have no Qatari billionaire beating a path to Moshiri's door and we've lost a top, top player in Richarlison, we need any good news we can get and this is good news.

He is a top pro, knows the Premier League, is a solid defender. We are not in the Koulibaly market at this time and so why the negativity? I think he's better than what we have, IMHO.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 02/07/2022 at
No wonder he's not fast -- those ears must create some major aerodynamic drag. He looks like a taxi going down the street with its doors open.

Seriously, though, I'm pleased with any signing that makes us better, and this does. No, he ain't great, but he's a better central defender than Keane, or Holgate, or Godfrey, and he will provide some badly needed leadership. And let's face it, the man can put in a tackle. I think he'll do all right.

Welcome, James.

Jim Potter
13 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Very good defender. Gets the odd goal. Sensible head on him. Team player.

And a 4-year contract at 29 isn't silly. Let's hope we extend it thereafter.

Good luck, James.

Neil Copeland
14 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Mike #12,

I'm pleased it's not just me regarding those ears, he would have been known as “wing nut” at school.

Yes, decent acquisition in our current predicament and, if he shows the same level of commitment as his challenge on Richarlison at Goodison, then he will be popular.

Good luck, James, and welcome to the best club in the world.

Alan J Thompson
15 Posted 02/07/2022 at

I hope you don't think I'm picking on you but couldn't the aerodynamic effect depend on which way the wind is blowing and may assist in his aerial ability.

Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 02/07/2022 at
"Wing nut" is perfect, Neil. Let's hang that nickname on him right now. "James" is so boring.
Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Mike, did you have to draw attention to his ears? Now I can't stop looking at them. Let's put it down to the camera angle.

I'm not going to confess to know too much about the player, but I like his direct and brief comments. Especially his closing one.

Character and leadership. Something we have lacked in that area of the pitch. Even though new to the club, hopefully that will rub off off Patterson, Mykolenko, Godfrey and Branthwaite.

29 is a good age for a centre-back; he'll be hitting his prime.

Joe McMahon
18 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Mike @2, I fully agree. I hope he realises if he plays as physical as he did at Burnley, wearing an Everton shirt he will get more cards and suspensions.

Just wish he was a couple of years younger, 4 years seems way too long. As others have already alluded to, we never learn as a club, so never progress.

Please no-one trott out examples from the past.

Pat Kelly
19 Posted 02/07/2022 at
He'll be 30 in November. Got his retirement contract. Let's hope he's worth it. He'll probably outlast Lampard, Thelwell and Moshiri. But Kenwright could be difficult.
Brian Murray
20 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Rather "wing nut" nickname than "Dumbo" in a football sense.
Neil Copeland
21 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Alan, good point. Imagine Klipperty's reaction to James Tarkowski scoring a wind-assisted game-winning diving header at the Kop end.
Tony Hill
22 Posted 02/07/2022 at
The sort of body that has 4 good defensive years in it. A sound buy.
Christy Ring
23 Posted 02/07/2022 at
A good signing in my opinion, especially on a free, a good sold centreback, and good in the air. The total opposite of Mina, very seldom injured.
Jimmy Hogan
24 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I don't know why people are moaning. We simply have to tighten up at the back. We leaked goals like crazy last season and nearly went down because of it.
Philip Bunting
25 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Great signing.
Clive Rogers
26 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Wouldn't the nickname "FA Cup" be more appropriate.
Shaun Laycock
27 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Tark the Nark…exactly what people has been baying for…
John Kavanagh
28 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I thought Williams was a poor signing, especially for what we spent, but I'm far happier with Tarkowski. He will bring what we need most in our defence – organisation and a commanding presence, plus a much-needed bit of nastiness. Ready-made captain to replace Seamus Coleman.

Too often, we've allowed the opposition to bully us, but I look forward to once again seeing a look of terror on an opponent's face when they cross the line.

Can't wait to see him sort out the likes of Henderson, Salah and Van Dijk, plus a bonus for snapping Son in half when Spurs visit.

Paul Kossoff
29 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Oh, we have got him! That's okay then, we are safe for the coming season. No better than what we have. Another 30-year-old on ridiculous wages...

Bill thinks we are so daft that we will forget our best player has gone because we have this carthorse. Bring on the next 30-year-old... Next!!!

Iakovos Iasonidis
30 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Can't say I am excited. I just hope he turns out to be like Distin and not like Ashley Williams.
Paul Kossoff
31 Posted 02/07/2022 at
John 23,

I thought Williams was a poor signing, especially for what we spent, but I'm far happier with Tarkowski. He will bring what we need most in our defence – organisation and a commanding presence, plus a much-needed bit of nastiness. Ready-made captain to replace Seamus Coleman.

That's exactly what was said on ToffeeWeb when we signed Williams!

Ben Howard
32 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I have high hopes for James. I believe, with no real evidence, that he'll offer similar attributes to Jagielka — and we haven't had a centre-back as good as him since.
Brian Murray
33 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Brr... shudder. Ashley Williams — the great Welsh lion leader from the Euros.

Hopeless. Made Glenn Keeley look like Beckenbaur.

Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I'll go back to not knowing a lot about him but it it feels like more of a Jagielka signing. Just don't try him in midfield. Although in fairness that experiment didn't last long.

Ashley Williams. Shaking my head. And did you have to mention Glenn Keeley, Brian? All I can hear now is Derek Hatton's voice from Howard's Way!

Welcome to Everton, James. I have an unqualified opinion that you will become a favourite.

Brendan McLaughlin
35 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Danny #34

Ben #32 just made the same (Jagielka) comparison but I think you and he are arriving at the same point from different directions.

Duncan McDine
36 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I agree, Danny – I've also been feeling the Jagielka vibe about him. I'm sensing that Lampard is trying to create a strong British spine to the team. It might not work, but I feel it has more of a chance than littering the squad with foreign pansies (yes, I'm talking about Gomes, Bernard etc).
Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Building the spine is key.

You all know me. I'm indifferent as to where players come from.

Tarkowski qualified to represent Poland but chose England as it is the country of his birth.

British and Polish. Now there is a cocktail of fighting spirit. I have a gut feeling we are going to like him.

Tony Everan
38 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Yes, A Mr Dependable, Jagielka signing, with a three chilli rating, instead of one.

With regards the spine, Tarkowski and Calvert-Lewin are two strong vertebrae but the middle bit is like a jellied eel. That defensive central midfielder is the No 1 recruitment priority now.

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Totally agree with that, Tony, regarding the defensive midfielder or traditional sweeper. It has been for 2 years, in my opinion.
Jason Li
40 Posted 02/07/2022 at
All his qualities are similar to none other than Lampard's long-term club winning mate: John Terry. Let's hope he's the same type of dominating centre-back.

We need a good Essien type of player next please. Whoever we get next, free oldies in their prime and young quality transfers in will help beat the FFP game...

Because improving on the FFP game every year gives a greater chance of a better season the year after. That's the best way to beat the system and have a squad built to win trophies.

Now we know this, let's bring in some more good young players like Patterson, Richarlison and Godfrey so that, in 2 years time, we have a top team again (as well as only excellent older players in their prime).

Raymond Fox
41 Posted 02/07/2022 at
I think he will be a good acquisition, but £90k a week for 4 years seems expensive. Nice work if you can get it!
Christopher Nicholls
42 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Decidedly middle of the road. Competent, but not going to elevate. 4 years is too long. Simple.
Ian Riley
44 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Good signing... Captain material.

Our defence needs a presence and consistency. Hopefully he brings that.

As for more signings. A must!! Need a couple of game-changing players. Currently, we have a Bottom 6 Premier League squad or a very good Championship side. Either way, quality needed and quickly!!!

Brian Murray
45 Posted 02/07/2022 at
If we can't or won't strengthen the midfield spine, then Gbamin apparently has had an injury-free run in Russia. Clutching at straws probably but, if he's the same player we have never seen, we may need him.
Jeff Armstrong
46 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Err... Brian #45,

Gbamin is not the answer.

No question.

Brian Murray
47 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Jeff. Well unless Thelwell starts doing what the first two couldn't and thinks outside the box, instead of usual suspects, we won't have a choice. Hope it's just early days, eh?
Geoff Lambert
48 Posted 02/07/2022 at
He will cost about £20 million over the 4 years, which is okay for a proven Premier League player, and still some cash to spend as well.

What is happening with Moise Kean??

Sam Hoare
49 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Should be pretty effective for at least 2-3 years of that contract. Not a fast player so he's used to using his strength and anticipation anyway.

He wouldn't have been my first choice but I actually think there's a very good chance he becomes a Goodison favourite. He's tough, he's a bit narky and he wins most of his battles. He's also a bit better on the ball than many will expect.

He's not going to get us into the Top 4 or even Top 6 but I think he should at least help keep us away from the Bottom 3.

Graham Fylde
50 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Burnley finished 18th last season but conceded only 53 goals which, I think, ranked 10th – 13 less than Everton, and interestingly less than Man Utd who finished 6th.

Tarkowski played 35 games and ranked 1st in the league for aerial duels, duels won, and blocks; 2nd for clearances and headed clearances.

No fee, so no amortisation but higher wages and possibly a signing-on fee. Considering our financial position, our defensive frailties and our lack of leadership, as Del-boy once famously said, "We've had worse days".

Brian Murray
51 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Graham, Yes and, like Del-boy, we blew the lot.
Kevin Molloy
52 Posted 02/07/2022 at
At aged 29, we are right back into the Ashley Williams corridor of uncertainty.

Let's hope he's more Gareth Barry than some of the mercenary chumps we've specialised in these last few years. He seems game enough.

Robert Tressell
53 Posted 02/07/2022 at
For free, this makes total sense. He's not top class but he's certainly aggressive and we need that.

Interesting to see who will partner him in, hopefully, the back 4 he's used to. I expect Holgate unless we buy Becao. Frank seems to rate Holgate.

On the other aspect to this discussion, I think he looks a lot like Lee Evans.

Graham Fylde
54 Posted 02/07/2022 at
Kev - I think Williams was 32 when he signed and Tarkowski is 29 (30 in November) so I am hoping we get the 'good years' before the inevitable decline. We'd be happy with a Barry repeat for sure.

Robert – I think Lee Evans is a good shout!

Paul Kernot
55 Posted 03/07/2022 at
At least with those ears, he'll be able to hear calls from his team mates. Clearly Holgate & Mina couldn't – as demonstrated v Palace.
Alan Maher
56 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Solid signing and proof of where we find ourselves at present. Length of contract was probably a requirement for him to sign; otherwise, he'd probably have gone elsewhere.

Or was it the lure of uncertainty of ownership, a club crippled by FFP after previous seasons of ridiculous spend, a club that has seriously regressed under current stewardship cementing Premier League status with a game to spare last season whilst, entering yet another season of transition the reason he signed?

Probably not, it was the shed-load of cash we're giving him.

In my opinion, duration of contract must be the most sensitive part of contract negotiations, with the emphasis on each side not getting shafted. However, in terms of this contract length, I see it as the club trying to somewhat protect themselves because, if we have a stinker and he plays with the consistency he had with Burnley last season, who's to say we wouldn't have to sell him then, before he could leave on a free the season after?

Ed Prytherch
57 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Richard Gough was 36 or 37 when we signed him and he was still a good player. Tarkowsky should still be useful in 4 years if he stays injury-free.
Lester Yip
58 Posted 03/07/2022 at
The key is that he's free with number of years of Premier League experience and a consistent performer who can be slotted right in. After we offload Mina, Gomes and a couple of others our books will look much better.

I expect another free transfer and a couple of loans. It's a season of deep cleaning and keep staying in the Premier League till things reset.

Steavey Buckley
59 Posted 03/07/2022 at
The best long-term partner of Tarkowski at centre-half is Keane. Both know each other from playing for Burnley.

Unfortunately, Mina should not be considered because he keeps getting injured, while neither Holgate nor Godfrey are solid centre-halves. But both can play at right-back or left-back.

Danny Baily
60 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Steavey, I don't think we'll see much of Tarkowski and Keane together. They are too similar and neither has any pace.
Stephen Vincent
61 Posted 03/07/2022 at

Tarkowski and Keane only played together 4 or 5 times for Burnley. Dyche's favoured centre-back pairing was Keane and Mee.

Tarkowski didn't really get a game until after Keane joined us at the start of the 2017-18 season. All of which makes you think that they are very similar players and unlikely to start together.

Steavey Buckley
62 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Stephen, Keane was a solid centre-half when a fit Mina was alongside of him.

I mean 'solid' when both centre-halves do what Everton failed to do for most of last season when clearing high balls, crosses and corners, the Achilles Heel of the Everton defence.

Danny Baily
63 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Stephen 61, exactly. Makes you wonder what Frank has in mind. Keane isn't going to want to be understudy.
Michael Williams
64 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Here's the story behind the stats when people say Tarkowski is 1st or 2nd in tackles, aerial duels etc:

Tackles – Tarkowski ranks 32nd amongst all defenders in the Premier League in percentage of tackles won against the dribble. That is not a recipe for playing a high line, as someone else wrote. Yes, he has a lot of tackles but the total number does not tell the whole story.

Aerial Duels – Amongst all defenders, Tarkowski ranks 21st in percentage of aerial duels won. Ben Mee is actually 15th. Yes, Tarkowski led the Premier League in aerial duels won but he had many, many more chances than most defenders.

Passing Completion % Amongst all defenders – 97th. Yes, 96 defenders have a higher passing percentage than Tarkowski. Numbers 1-3 are LaPorte and Dias from Man City and Thiago Silva with Chelsea. Makes sense, yes?

Why did Tarkowski win so many tackles, so many headers? It was because Burnley was 19th in possession. When a team is that low in possession and sits in a defensive shell, the defenders will have to fend off more crosses and take on more dribblers.

* Stats from fbref.com - among players who qualified

Bob Parrington
65 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Welcome to Everton, James! I believe you are just the kind of player and person we need in this side! Just don't listen to the doubters. Better still, don't watch ToffeeWeb for the time-being!!!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb