Everton's summer transfer business really isn't that bad (honestly)

24 July 2021 07:30

If you think your football club brings you nothing but false promises, pain and misery, spare a thought for fans of Everton.

Granted, it's difficult to offer too much sympathy to a side who've never spent a season outside of the Premier League - especially when you consider the plights of some lower league clubs fighting off liquidation - but the Toffees have promised so much to their supporters in recent years and never really looked like delivering.

After all, it's the hope that kills you, right?

While Everton have only broken the top six four times this century, fans have been forced to watch on as their Merseyside neighbours Liverpool have been crowned champions of both England and Europe.

Arguably the main reason behind the Reds' success and Everton's inability to ever show signs of progress has been their respective transfer dealings.

Liverpool's business model has seen them offload a host of their squad players for big money while buying talented players who they then develop, while Everton have just thrown money at absolutely anyone with the ability to say 'up the Toffees'.

The arrival of Rafael Benitez has seen Everton take a slightly different approach to their transfer dealings, buying players with either great Premier League experience or plenty of potential for little to no money at all - and it's hard to say why the change in tack has been welcomed with so much anger.

Rafael Benítez can bring success to Everton | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Since Farhad Moshiri started bankrolling the club in 2016, various different Everton managers have essentially been handed a blank cheque and told to assemble a side capable of qualifying for the Champions League - they've not even come close.

We're not going to run through every single big-money mistake they've made otherwise we'd be here all day, but as a small sample when you consider Morgan Schneiderlin, Yannick Bolasie, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Cenk Tosun, and Alex Iwobi cost a combined total of £210m, you kinda get the picture.

Even in his brief time at Goodison Park, Benitez has already started trying to help the club climb out of the mess they've got themselves into, with players who clearly didn't have a future at the club like Josh King, Bernard and Matthew Pennington allowed to move on.

So far, the 2021 incomings may not have been accompanied with a two-minute long social media video of them playing the piano in the middle of Goodison Park followed by weeks of jubilation and hope of winning the league, but equally they won't turn out to be absolutely rubbish in four months' time.

Rafael Benítez knows what he's doing | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Benitez has never professed to be a manager who plays free-flowing, stylish, attacking football, but he certainly knows how to get the best out of his players and he'll d exactly the same with Everton's summer signings - plus, his methodology has hardly left him with an empty trophy cabinet.

Both Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic have vast experience in the Premier League and have churned out decent performances for a number of years, while the wisdom they'll be able to pass on to the Toffees' younger squad members could prove to be invaluable.

Demarai Gray has also joined the club in recent weeks, with the former Leicester man moving from Bayern Leverkusen for just £1.6m.

Gray's previous stint in the Premier League saw him fail to really live up to the hype with the Foxes and he was forced to accept a role as an impact substitute for the majority of his stay at the King Power Stadium.

There's absolutely no questioning the immense ability of the former England Under-21 international, the only thing he needs to improve is his mentality and under a manager like Benitez he could finally end up showing us all how good a player he can be.

All of Everton's summer signings have been incredibly low risk given the money they've spent and yet they could end up proving to be solid bits of business if Benitez can build a side of is own before adding more quality later down the line.

Without wanting to bring even more reminders of Rafa's Liverpool heritage into the equation, it is worth noting that often Benitez's less glamorous, Premier League-based signings at Anfield turned out to be some of his more useful ones - if not the most popular.

Peter Crouch proved the doubters wrong at Liverpool, while Jermaine Pennant was actually the Reds' best player in the 2007 Champions League final. Bolo Zenden and Yossi Benayoun too proved useful squad fillers acquired at reasonable prices.

The Toffees desperate bid to be part of the top-four conversation in recent seasons has seen them take a gung-ho approach, with managers rarely lasting longer than two seasons and the club throwing money at players in the hope they'll be the ones to finally drag them into the Champions League, without any thought to coherent squad building.

No football team is going to achieve success like that. Squads need time to develop and, given the time, Benitez might just be the man to make Everton achieve their dream.

This summer's business is just the boring foundations of Benitez's long-term plan, and it tends to be the boring stuff where the experienced, old Spaniard excels.

Source: 90min