As transfer windows go, Everton could not have wished for better. After the disastrous spending of last summer, this year was impressive. With Marcel Brands now in charge the Blues finally appeared to have a man with a plan and clear strategy of how to execute it.
First came the outgoings. Wayne Rooney headed to MLS, Ashley Williams went to Stoke City, Davy Klaassen to Germany and Kevin Mirallas to Italy. Ramiro Funes Mori and Joel Robles headed to Spain.
Add in Eliaquim Mangala’s wages being off the wage bill and Brands had reduced outgoings by £23 million. More if the Potters are paying half of Williams’ wages during his year-long loan.
The dead-weight from the squad has gone
That may be harsh on Rooney considering he was the club’s top goalscorer, but at 32-years-old it had become plain his best years were behind him. He was not suited to Marco Silva’s style or worth of the reported £150,000 per week wages.
With outgoings completed, attention turned to improving the team with new recruits. Richarlison arrived in a big money move from Watford, a deal that some believe ‘ruined’ the window. His price tag may have been lofty but there was plenty of sense behind it. Richarlison is a typical Brands signing. Young, with a high potential ceiling; the Brazilian has all the attributes to become a star.
He adds pace and goalscoring ability to a frontline that was among the worst in the Premier League last season. Last season he had more shots, created more chances from open play and dribbled past more defenders than anyone at Everton.
Lucas Digne followed and answered another major issue from the previous campaign. When Leighton Baines missed 18 straight games, Everton struggled to replace him. It became clear an heir was necessary. That man is Digne. At 25-years-old he is the best like for like replacement for Baines that you could ask for at a fair price in today’s market.
Brands has rebuilt the squad
By the end of deadline day, things were looking even rosier at Goodison Park. Yerry Mina, Kurt Zouma, Andre Gomes and Bernard all arrived to further bolster the ranks.
Mina and Zouma improve a defence that conceded more goals than relegated Swansea and West Bromwich Albion last season. Andre Gomes adds an option in central midfield and Bernard further improves that struggling forward line. In the space of one transfer window, Brands had rebuilt a squad that was in need of an overhaul. The deadweight has gone and each problem area improved.
In the process, the trust had been rebuilt among the fan base. Following the erroneous reign of Walsh, in which he spent Farhad Moshiri’s money poorly, faith in those in charge was at an all-time low. The Dutchman has fixed that in his first window. Evertonians are now willing to trust once again.
Now, the pressure falls on Marco Silva to rebuild the love. Last season went a long way to making Everton fans fall out of love with Everton.While an eighth-placed finish was an achievement in itself given the Blues poor start to the season, the manner in which they went about achieving it was not.
The love was eroded
After Ronald Koeman’s reign came to an end a disastrous search for his replacement ended in Sam Allardyce’s appointment. Several months of misery ensued.
Allardyce’s sole aim was to survive, a job he achieved once again, and the football suffered as a result. Under his leadership, Everton were one of the worst teams in the division, with defensive, dull and dire football the order of the day. While some appreciated the job he was doing, the majority started to feel drained. Match days were no longer anticipated but dreaded. The love was eroded.
For a club like Everton, who are not expected to compete at the top, whose last trophy came in 1995, identity is everything. If success is not on offer, then the team should at least provide entertainment, a style, something to cheer. That has been absent since Roberto Martinez’s excellent first season.
Silva must bring it back and, in the process, make Everton fans love their team once again. He is a man with a defined philosophy who wants his side to attack and take on the best. Defensive football is not in his mind-set. The Portuguese boss has a distinct style and will install it.
A major positive
The early signs are positive. Against Wolves last weekend, Everton showed signs of improvement. They played attacking football and showed serious intent. on the counter, they were a threat. They even impressed in defence, showing the kind of organisation that could only be dreamed of last season.
Even going down to ten men did not appear to hinder them. The fact that for those 50 minutes without their captain they had more shots on target than they managed in almost half of Sam Allardyce’s full games last season is a major positive.
After Marcel Brands rebuilt the faith with an impressive transfer window, the onus is now on Marco Silva to rebuild the love. If he continues how he started at Molineux, he’s likely to be as successful as his Director of Football was this summer.
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