The transfer window is not something that Evertonians look forward to and that anxiety doesn’t begin to end in preparation for the entertaining and frantic transfer deadline day. Monday night looked to be another day of transfer misery for the Toffees. With a bid rejected the night before for Wigan’s James McCarthy, it looked like there was going to be no new additions to the Everton squad.
However Everton wrapped up five deals in what is nowadays the tenth hour as opposed to the eleventh. In the final stages of the transfer window the Blues did complete the signing of James McCarthy from Roberto Martinez’s former club Wigan and the loan signings of Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry and Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. The sale of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United and Victor Anichebe to West Brom funding the three deals and ensured that the Toffees were one of three Premier League clubs to take profit from the summer transfer window along with Newcastle and unsurprisingly with the world record sale of Gareth Bale; Tottenham.
Throughout the day there had been negotiations between Everton and the Baggies in regards to Victor Anichebe. The Nigerian had one of his best goal scoring seasons since his breakthrough season for the Blues last year but hadn’t made an appearance under Martinez this season. Anichebe who had been with the Toffees since his teen years was eventually confirmed a West Bromwich Albion player at the close of the deadline at 11 o’clock in a deal of £5million rising to £6million with add-ons. West Brom also confirmed the signing of Stéphane Sessègnon and attempted to loan Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea for a second successive season. Had the Baggies done so, Shane Long’s move to Hull City probably would have been completed.
West Brom failed to re-loan Lukaku because it was the Toffees who captured the Belgian on a season-long loan. Lukaku, who scored seventeen goals in the league last season for the Baggies, reportedly was blocked from a move back to the Albion by Chelsea because Everton offered more of a loan fee. However since completing his loan move Lukaku has said that Everton was the best choice for a move away from Stamford Bridge.
In the final hour of the window when Marouane Fellaini had been videoed leaving Finch Farm, the Everton training ground and it had been confirmed that the Belgian had handed in a transfer request it looked like the Blues were selling one of their key players and not bringing anyone in to replace him. It had been confirmed the next day that the 25-year-old had waved away a £750,000 loyalty bonus by handing in the request and with Anichebe at West Brom’s training ground; Evertonians would have been forgiven for cursing in their armchairs watching the drama unfold with it appearing that two were exiting the club and zero acquisitions were coming in to replace them.
While Fellaini was making his way to Carrington and Anichebe was finalising his deal to West Brom, Everton were working behind the scenes to bring in some new requirements. In the day, Roberto Martinez was in London attending a work permit hearing to sign Brazilian midfielder Fernando from Porto which ultimately ended in failure. Gareth Barry arrived at Finch Farm with fifteen or so minutes left of the transfer window after Everton and Manchester City had agreed a loan deal for the 32-year-old and he was confirmed an Everton player for the season just before the deadline.
Next to arrive at the training ground was Wigan’s James McCarthy after Everton matched the Latics’ evaluation for the Ireland international. Before the deadline, McCarthy was confirmed a Toffees player completing a deal worth £12million. With Sky Sports News reporting Lukaku to be on his way to the West Brom training ground after Everton and Chelsea were discussing a possible deal for striker Everton’s need for a striker looked to be unfulfilled. However Lukaku was actually in the Belgium team hotel in Scotland and Kevin Mirallas revealed the day after transfer deadline day that he never left Lukaku’s room until he was sure the striker was to be his teammate for club and country for a year. The 20-year-old was confirmed as an Everton player for the season little after 11 o’clock.
Once the three new recruits were confirmed by the Toffees, Victor Anichebe was declared as a West Brom striker and Marouane Fellaini a United player. These two transfers brought in more than £30million for the Blues which one would hope will be made available in January if needed or the summer when Lukaku’s loan expires.
As far as how the new recruits will fit into the Everton side will only be evident throughout the season. Unless Nikica Jelavic or Arouna Kone scores more than one against Chelsea after the international break, Lukaku will be the first choice striker throughout the season because obviously he won’t be available against his parent club. In regards to Barry and McCarthy fitting in I would envisage that either will partner Darron Gibson when he is fit and available. In context to how this season has already taken shape the two losses from transfer deadline day will not affect the Toffees too much as Anichebe has played no part and the contribution Fellaini has played in a deeper role as been minimal when compared to last season’s contribution from the Belgian. Ultimately this transfer deadline day improved the Everton squad in depth of the midfield despite the loss of Fellaini and filled the void of a goal scorer up front, something which was sorely needed. This window must therefore be considered as a success for the Blues as they not only strengthened their squad in what was needed before the start of the season, but Martinez and Kenwright managed to keep hold of Leighton Baines and even in selling they achieved maximum transfer fees that could have been expected for both Anichebe and Fellaini.