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Ben Godfrey could be the subject of a transfer deal in January

| 08/11/2023 53comments  |  Jump to last

It is claimed by 90min that Everton defender Ben Godfrey is emerging as a transfer target for several Premier League sides, including Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, when the transfer window opens in 7 weeks.

Godfrey has sat on the Everton bench for 13 out of 14 Premier League and League Cup games so far this season under Sean Dyche, who chose to call on him only once as a sub for James Tarkowski in added time against Sheffield Utd in early September. The one occasion out of 14 where he was picked for the starting line-up and played the full game, was against Doncaster Rovers.

The 25-year-old has fallen completely out of England contention having earned two caps at senior level and featured in their provisional squad for the European Championships in 2021. 

Everton signed Godfrey from Norwich City for an initial fee of £20m at the end of summer 2020 and he became a key player under Carlo Ancelotti. He won the club's Young Player of the Season award at the end of his first season at the club, but he's played fewer and fewer games under subsequent managers.

His current contract runs through June 2025, so he might be viewed as a saleable asset should Everton need the cash in January.


Reader Comments (53)

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Andrew Ellams
1 Posted 08/11/2023 at 14:16:48
Take the money…

But why would clubs with Champions League ambitions want a central defender with no positional sense, who can't jump or head the ball and repeatedly makes rash challenges?

Tony Everan
2 Posted 08/11/2023 at 14:43:12
Needs to go somewhere where he's going to play, a makeweight in a deal for Sulemana, Gnonto or Wharton more likely than Spurs or the Skunks.
Paul Hewitt
3 Posted 08/11/2023 at 14:54:03
Showed so much promise at first. Really shame he hasn't kicked on.
Brent Stephens
4 Posted 08/11/2023 at 15:03:30
One of the biggest disappointments for me in the last few years. In his early games for us, I saw a young guy with so much acceleration and pace, and so well physically built, that I thought we'd signed a gem.

I know and understand that his injury was a severe setback. His lack of positioning and ability to read the game that I see now – did I miss that early on? Did I assume it was minor and he'd develop beyond that? Has his injury played such a big part in all this?

Really disappointed for him and us that it doesn't seem to be working out.

David West
5 Posted 08/11/2023 at 15:27:04
Yes, a huge drop off in performance from his early bright start. I just don't see him being a centre-back. His best games came early on at left-back but he has been found out too many times there too.

I wouldn't mind seeing him given a go at defensive midfield, he's got the engine & physicality, is he technically good enough? We do have options there now, but we are definitely light at centre-back so he would definitely need replacing if he left.

Denis Richardson
6 Posted 08/11/2023 at 15:30:01
Take the money and move on. Not in the first team and can walk for free next season.

Shame about his injury, just never was the same player afterwards. £20M was a relatively big fee, wonder how much of that we'll get back.

Could do with signing a decent full-back as Young and Coleman will be hanging their boots up presumably end of this season and Dyche doesn't seem to fancy Patterson.

Duncan McDine
7 Posted 08/11/2023 at 15:45:08
He's a very likeable player as he was always up for it. However, his main strength was his electric pace and physicality. Since his injury, he just hasn't been fancied by the manager of the moment... shame, because I thought he'd be Dyche's kind of character.

I hope both he and Keane will do well wherever they end up.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 08/11/2023 at 16:07:29
Was it Ben's injury that has stalled his progress or from when he caught Covid?

He certainly has gone back on the form he showed when he first came.

Lee Courtliff
9 Posted 08/11/2023 at 16:14:30
Without his pace, he's basically helpless in the Premier League. He looked so promising in his first season that it's a real shame to see how things have turned out for him. Seems a decent lad, too.

If he goes to the clubs mentioned in the op then he's just swapping one bench for another. He's better off at a good Championship team where he'll play every week.

Unless Eddie Howe can do with him what he's done with a few up at the Barcodes.

Mal van Schaick
10 Posted 08/11/2023 at 16:29:19
Cash in and re invest.
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 08/11/2023 at 16:35:14
Dave #8 - ah, yes! That could be the explanation.
Ralph Basnett
12 Posted 08/11/2023 at 16:51:20
We've still got Keane to cover centre-back so still in a good position defensively.
Brian Williams
13 Posted 08/11/2023 at 17:05:52
🤣 Nice one Ralph.
Joe McMahon
14 Posted 08/11/2023 at 18:06:08
Ralph, I'd rather we kept Ben and let Keane go.

But no Championship club would match his wages.

Dale Self
15 Posted 08/11/2023 at 18:28:01
I remember thinking he and Gordon were our future. Initially it was lost form from being played in too many makeshift positions. Later, the Covid seemed to have set him back physically. We should have taken better care to prepare him for a specific role.

At the Premier League level, even though he is a tremendous athlete, his mental part of the game has been damaged. A move is best at this point and good luck to him, he could convert that into a future at this level.

Jay Harris
16 Posted 08/11/2023 at 18:43:47
Following the injury and covid, he lost half a yard in pace and suffered a loss of confidence.

He is too short for a centre-back and not willy enough for a full-back so it might be better for all if he gets a move.

Sam Hoare
17 Posted 08/11/2023 at 19:16:38
I wonder how much he'd go for? Maybe £10-15m if we got lucky.

I'm a sucker for pace (having never had any) and loved watching his recovery runs. His full blooded tackles were always very rousing and possibly covered for ocassional positional lapses which were less damaging at full back then at centre back.

I remember that summer we were chasing Gabriel from Lille, only to get pipped by Arsenal (who'd already bagged Saliba the summer before). Sadly Godfrey did not prove a match for either of those two but he was a decent enough player before injury and Covid.

Robert Tressell
18 Posted 08/11/2023 at 19:33:43
If we sell, we will need to buy because we're very short of defensive cover as it is.

Reece Welch has only managed 2 games on loan at Forest Green so isn't yet an obvious candidate for first team football.

I wouldn't write him off just yet though. Dyche has a good track record of improving defenders in particular and may yet get something out of Godfrey.

The only thing he's not going to be though is a right back. He's been consistently awful as a right back.

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 08/11/2023 at 19:53:15
Brent #4, I saw the same things and was less than worried about them because he was so young and physically gifted.

But I also saw a major problem that did concern me, and that was his inability to win aerial challenges. He'd lose out on headers to shorter players. He's not "too short" -- he's an inch taller than Jags, who won everything in the air. He just can't get off the ground, and has no clue how to use his body to leverage an opponent as Jags could. And at 25 he's too old to learn.

There's simply no position for him in Premier League football. And I suspect Dave A is right about the injury and illness -- obviously damaged his development.

Definite sell.

James Flynn
20 Posted 08/11/2023 at 20:00:19
I agree Welch isn't ready for the 1st team.

But he is piling up the minutes at Forest Green. He's been a starter almost from first arriving there; about 16-17 games by now.

He must not even be close to ready, if the Club couldn't find a League 1 team could use a 6'5" CB.

Jack Convery
21 Posted 08/11/2023 at 20:01:11
I see Rangers have been mentioned as a buyer. That would be a good fit for him, I reckon. Nowhere near as fast as the EPL. I reckon the Covid infection has had more of an effect on him. Once that gets a grip of your lungs, it takes a long time to recover, if ever. Whatever happens I wish him well, as he has had no luck here at EFC.
Robert Tressell
22 Posted 08/11/2023 at 20:05:32
James # 20, I was looking at the wrong stats. 2 cup appearances. But you're right lots of league appearances. When are you going to revive your loan round up?
Mark Taylor
23 Posted 08/11/2023 at 20:11:23
Sam 17 has put me into despair. We paid the same for Godfrey (possibly a bit more) as Arsenal did for Saliba. Night and day.

No wonder we are where we are

Jack Convery
24 Posted 08/11/2023 at 20:31:03
Just noticed on Transfer market that a Burnley LC/CD who played under Dyche, will be available on a Bosman next summer - Charlie Taylor. Age 30, Over 140 EPL appearances and counting. Sounds right up Dyche's street. Squad player who can cover LB/CD and is left footed.
John Raftery
25 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:09:30
Ben was good enough in his first season 2020/21 to earn two England caps. Since then his career had gone pear shaped initially thanks to Covid and then his injury. He was absolutely awful at Old Trafford in April. It’s no surprise to me that Dyche has not seen him as an option either at full back or centre back.
Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:27:45
I agree John. When we first signed him, I remember a Tottenham supporter telling me we had signed a real prospect and for that first season he looked full of potential.

I guess that is the danger of getting carried away as you never know what is around the corner. Be that illness, injury or just not quite meeting the high expectation put on some young players. We've all done it over the years.

We should take heed with Branthwaite. Even though I am more impressed every time I watch him, he will have a dip at some point. All players do.

I don't think Godfrey is a lost cause, I'm just not sure what his best position is. A bit like Holgate.

Mike Gaynes
27 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:47:15
Danny, Holgate has found his perfect position. On Southampton's bench in the Championship.

In September he made his first start for them at CB at Sunderland. He made two huge blunders resulting in goals and was subbed out at 64 minutes, down 4-0.

He was benched. Sat out two games. Then they gave him a start at RB. He was pulled at halftime.

He has started exactly one game since and was benched again after that.

Rumor has it Saints want to end the loan early and send him back. I hope Thelwell has their calls blocked on his phone.

Holgate's best position isn't CB, or RB, it's ABE. Anywhere But Everton.

Andy Crooks
28 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:53:10
There's nothing wrong with Ben Godfrey that time and support won't fix. He will recover from injury and COVID. He can, with support, get his confidence back.

We have a decent defender with pace who has been played out of position while injured. Why would anyone expect him to look good right now? Treat him like Calvert-Lewin was eventually treated and we might have a top defender.

I doubt that Spurs or Newcastle are interested in him but at his best they will be. No one on this site has seen enough of him recently to write him off. Yeah, Dyche sees him every day in training, but he gets it wrong the odd time, he's stubborn, he has favourites and he picks Michael Keane. Can you imagine Keane at full-back?

This is not Dele here.

Godfrey's renaissance is likely, not a dream.

Sam Hoare
29 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:53:33
Danny@26, don’t think you can compare Godfrey to Branthwaite. The former was a solid defender who always lacked a bit of technical prowess whereas the latter is an excellent defender who showed at PSV that he can really pass and carry the ball too. The lad from Cumbria has pretty sky high potential I’d say.

I’d be very surprised if we’re not taking £50m+ bids for Branthwaite over the next year or two.

Derek Thomas
30 Posted 08/11/2023 at 21:54:01
Danny @ 26; I fear his best position, from both his and our perspective is - 'not here'
Christy Ring
31 Posted 08/11/2023 at 22:01:25
His horrific injury and covid have definitely seen his career go backwards. He always had pace but his positional sense was always suspect.

The only thing I will say, he never got a chance to establish himself at centre-back, often being used at right- and left-back, which didn't help him at all, he's not a full-back.

I still believe he's a better alternative to Keane, and surprised Dyche hasn't given him a chance, but with his contract up in the summer, he could be moved on.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 08/11/2023 at 22:08:27
I never like to write a player off, just as I don't like to over-hype. You just never know, even though we all have an instinct from what we see.

Just as I also don't like to compare players directly. No two players are the same.

Godfrey and Branthwaite are different beasts.

Having watched him closely this season, Branthwaite is classy. For such a young player, composed and confident on the ball. He is the opposite of Michael Keane in how he anticipates and reads the game so is usually in the right place at the right time. He is commanding in the air.

I don't want to get carried away, but with him and Tarkowski, I always feel strangely confident with opposition corners and set pieces.

If we use Michael Keane, just bring him on and stick him up front. I've come around to that and he's given us some moments (Palace, Tottenham and the assist at Wolves). I say that tongue-in-cheek by the way!

Ray Robinson
33 Posted 08/11/2023 at 22:16:49
Even under Ancelotti, I viewed Godfrey as a hard-working, pacey, tenacious, aggressive player with very little actual footballing ability.

He will probably do okay at Championship level but never really cut it in the top flight. I'd get what we can for him.

Dupont Koo
34 Posted 08/11/2023 at 23:45:17
It appears that those clubs are sniffing around for another distressed asset of our own, hoping to get Ben on the cheap.

Very sad to see that the injuries might have taken away the pace and athleticism that Ben bases his game so heavily upon, but his salary is reportedly on Holgate's level at the very least (£70k per week), and having him rotting on the bench at that price is a luxury that we simply can't afford currently.

Robert @18, I hope I can be as optimistic as you, in terms of Dyche's ability to turn Ben around as a reclamation project, but Ben has yet to show he has the necessary Football IQ and Composure outside of his athleticism to play in the Premier League (Thank God that Jarrad improved so much in those 2 areas during his time with PSV).

As long as anyone who is willing to take the rest of his full salaries (at least £5.5 Million till June 2025) off our hands with a transfer fee in the region of high 7 figures (between £8 to 9 Million, £10 to 12 Million if you believe in Thelwell's "having his back against the wall" negotiation ability), I'll bid Ben adieu with fond memories (especially his game as an emergency left-back against the Gunners when Don Carlo gave him the license to bomb forward at will).

Mark Taylor
35 Posted 09/11/2023 at 01:23:02
£10M and his wages off our books for the rest of the season would be a bargain. For us.

As it transpires, he might be a useful centre-back in the Championship. Probably more so than Holgate who is clearly much worse than he thinks he is.

It is striking that, of our cast-offs, Davies, Holgate, Gbamin, Mina, Gray, Kean, none are playing regularly at a high level, and going back a bit further, nor are Sigurdsson, Tosun, Kenny, or Allan. Turns out they were all pretty worthless at the point of leaving. My guess is that Godfrey, Gomes and Dele will be next.

Shout out for Andros Townsend, who at least looks like he might make it back to a degree with Luton after all his injury problems, and Iwobi, who while not a regular, at least frequently appears for a top side. Against a general rule of value destruction, these are modest exceptions.

Gary Sedgwick
36 Posted 09/11/2023 at 01:48:31
It is claimed by 90min that Everton defender Ben Godfrey is emerging as a transfer target for several Premier League sides, including Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, when the transfer window opens in 7 weeks.

If Spurs want him maybe use that as a case to renegotiate the terms of Dele's contract? Just putting it out there…

Eric Myles
37 Posted 09/11/2023 at 04:36:51
"Godfrey has sat on the Everton bench for 13 out of 14 Premier League and League Cup games so far this season"

They must like how he sits on the bench if they haven't seen him play this season.

Kevin Molloy
38 Posted 09/11/2023 at 14:32:44
We all know this is a load of tripe, right? The only chap interested in this fella is Bernard Matthews.
Eddie Dunn
39 Posted 09/11/2023 at 15:04:27
Godfrey's raw pace and fearless commitment papered over the flaws in his game. A general lack of intelligence is his biggest problem. He lacks positional understanding and, as Mike pointed out, he can't jump.

I do think he could still develop into a decent player, but not in the Premier League.

Tom Bowers
40 Posted 09/11/2023 at 15:23:22
Yet another promising player to fall by the wayside despite Patterson and Young not really setting the place on fire. I think he could still fit in with a back three and Garner in front of him but Dyche has his own plan.

Sad to see Southgate not recognizing the form of Garner when he has no problems giving caps to many other players after only a handful of Premier League games. Can someone tell me how Kalvin Phillips still gets picked, he really is crap?

Dale Self
41 Posted 09/11/2023 at 16:39:22
It could make sense the way Skunks and Spurs play defence. They both use tactics that Godfrey would fit into if they can keep him from continually getting cards.
Jimmy Carr
42 Posted 09/11/2023 at 19:18:17
It's been so long since I've seen him play that I can't judge how badly Covid and his injury may have affected him.

In his heyday for us under Ancelotti I really liked him. I would hope that he can still turn things around at Everton. He's young and we're not blessed with lots of defenders.

If an offer came in for Michael Keane however, any offer .

Rob Dolby
43 Posted 09/11/2023 at 20:50:13
A Brands lazy signing. Showed glimpses of pace and aggression but isn't a footballer.

The money the likes of him and Holdgate are on must blunt their drive to become better players. How do you motivate a young multi millionaire into a better, hungry footballer.

I get the feeling a lot of the modern footballers wouldn't be bothered with the game if the money wasn't there.

Maybe the story has been planted by his agent to flush out a bit of interest.

A move away would be good for both parties. If it does happen we need to bring players in. We are threadbare as it is.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 09/11/2023 at 20:59:01
Mark #35, interesting summary. And it's what I've been saying all along about our level of talent.

The biggest worry we all have when we sell or dump a player is that they'll become a star someplace else, but of all our "deadwood" deals it seems the only player showing any possibility of that is Gordon.

Tom Bowers
45 Posted 09/11/2023 at 21:24:55
So sad to hear of RS getting beaten and for once not getting something in the 98th minute or thereabouts like they so often do. Time to laugh myself to sleep.
Niall McIlhone
46 Posted 09/11/2023 at 21:48:00
Good point Mark, #36,

I, myself, would have kept Townsend on a one-season contract, I really do think he could have offered Everton useful cover, however, it seems the manager wasn't keen.

As for Godfrey, I do recall seeing him play at centre-back for Norwich just before they were relegated, and I recall thinking his physicality was an asset, albeit even then, he lacked dominance in ariel duels. I recall the commentator in one Canaries game describing him as a “converted midfielder” who “needed to appreciate and adapt to the demands of central defence”. Soon after, we signed him.

I think Newcastle would be a good fit for him, as Eddie Howe has an excellent track record of improving players, albeit, I think he would have to go some to break into the existing back four up there.

Regardless of Ben's levels of performance, I suspect we just have to sell if a good offer comes in, we cannot afford his wages (or Holgate's) and I suspect that his sale would be mandated by Kevin Thelwell with a view to bringing in some lower cost, lower-salaried replacements in the hope we scrape through to next season.

Lester Yip
47 Posted 11/11/2023 at 03:48:11
Dyche knows how to organise defence. A bit like Moyes has an eye to spot a good defender. If he doesn't rate Godfrey, then there's something really not right defensively.

I'm worried Patterson is going down that path. But he's younger. I hope he will mature like Coleman.

Stu Darlington
48 Posted 11/11/2023 at 13:00:39
The general feeling on this thread seems to be that Godfrey should be let go in January and I tend to agree. Fast, athletic and aggressive when he first came…

Can anyone tell me what's his best position? For the life of me, I don't know what it is, but it's not as a back-four defender.

David West @5 above suggests he may be best eventually as a central defender but, from what I've seen, he doesn't have the positional sense or read the game well enough to play there.

So, regrettably, my vote would be to cash in if we can.

Robert Tressell
49 Posted 11/11/2023 at 13:30:40
Hopefully if we do sell it is to enable us to bring in a couple of players. We possibly have the weakest Second XI in the division - weaker than the three promoted clubs.

Sean Mitchell
50 Posted 11/11/2023 at 15:59:29
Get rid of Keane before Godfrey.
For love of god, please!
Si Cooper
51 Posted 13/11/2023 at 22:17:20
Personally, I wouldn't say that dominance in the air is absolutely essential for a centre-back. Maybe I'm selling Ratters short but I always thought the Ratcliffe - Mountfield pairing worked because they were very different but complementary.

That said, Godfrey without his pace is obviously deficient in too many qualities to be the player he once looked like he could become.

One question I have is whether he has actually permanently lost that much pace? I would love to see his medical charts. If he is severely reduced by his injury or Covid then I feel really sorry for the lad (26 next January so still relatively young for that position) but I would be highly surprised any club with more draw than Everton would be interested in him.

I have a niggly feeling that a lot of his current lack of form is more to do with his mental state rather than actually having no chance of full physical recovery. He seems too ‘comfortable' being on the bench to me.

Maybe the fact that he is pretty much set for life if he merely ‘coasts' and doesn't risk another debilitating injury has extinguished some of the fire he used to project. I could see him being one of those rare ones who moves on and does rediscover his mojo.

If his main problems are now in his head, hopefully the manager and his team can fix him because at present we are still very short of central defenders. His lack of height and spring would have to be accommodated but we do have those qualities in other players to sufficiently cover most set-pieces.

Anthony Dwyer
52 Posted 15/11/2023 at 02:08:31
Seems like a few on here have seen Spurs and Newcastle linked with Godfrey and that completely made them forget how he's performed for the past 3 years.

The lad seems a willing player, he trys and wants to do well, but unfortunately he's not good enough.

His positional sense is awful, he doesn't dominate in the air, and his passing is dreadful, you simply can't get away with it in the Premier League.

Hopefully we get most of our money back and move on before we end up with another Holgate situation where potential fades completely and we get nothing for him.

If he gets his act together at another club, then good for him, but he's never going to make it here.

Paul Cherrington
53 Posted 20/11/2023 at 11:08:14
Sure he's a decent lad and hope he has a great career but I would move him on. Just not good enough to perform at the highest level for me.

He's quick and a good athlete but that's about it. Positionally he's poor, lacks focus and not the best tackler or header.

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