Just as Everton appeared to be having a slow summer, a deal for Watford’s Richarlison popped up to light a small fire under their transfer window. Not any transfer deal either, but a £35 million move that could see the Blues end up paying £50 million should his time at Goodison Park prove to be a successful one.
Eyebrows are being raised about such a fee, some fearing that Everton are repeating the mistakes of last summer’s transfer window. On the face of it, making Richarlison their first signing of the summer is a sensible one in many aspects.
He solves a problem area in Everton’s first team and adds goals, assists and much-needed pace to a forward line that was lacking in all three of those last season. He is also a player that has worked with Marco Silva before and flourished under him during their time together at Watford.
Similarly, he fits the model of young, talented player with a high potential ceiling that Marcel Brands likes to sign. It is that kind of signings Everton handed him the Director of Football role for.
There is plenty there to suggest that he will prove to be a success on Merseyside. If Silva can get him playing as he did during his initial months at Watford, that will be the case.
Unfortunately for him, the pressure will be there from day one for him to prove Everton have made a smart signing. He will have to prove that he is worth the money that the club are shelling out for him. £35 million is a big price for a player who only showed flashes of his ability last season and didn’t manage a goal or an assist after the 12th of December.
It is also a lot of money for a club like Everton, one that does not have vast reserves of cash to spend, on talent alone.
It is a lot of money to spend for a club that spent it so poorly last summer. The Blues were one of the busier clubs around Europe last season, spending big as they sought to break into the top six and beyond.
Instead, only Jordan Pickford ended up being a smart signing. Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson all failed to live up to their large transfer fees.
The power of hindsight has shown each of those deals to be poor ones for the club. It was such deals that cost Steve Walsh his job as Director of Football.
The pressure is on
The pressure is now on Richarlison, who will be the first signing under Walsh’s replacement Marcel Brands, to prove that the Dutchman knows what he is doing and not spending money as wildly as his predecessor did.
If he does not manage that, questions will be raised about Brands as they were about Walsh.
Of course, doubts began to surface about Walsh after he failed to find a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, but the assessment of his tenure was on the signings he did make rather than the ones he did not. Brands will face a similar judgement.
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri faces a similar assessment. The Iranian businessman is yet to prove he is the man to lead Everton into the glorious future the fans were dreaming of when he arrived. There has been plenty of positives during his first years at the helm, including big spending and progress on moving to a new stadium but his appointments have been anything but impressive.
Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh both proved to be failures and appointing Sam Allardyce only eroded some of the trust further. Should Richarlison fail and questions be asked about Brands, they will then be asked about the man that appointed him too. Those questions will be asked along the line from manager Marco Silva to owner Farhad Moshiri.
The pressure is on the Brazilian to prove that they know what they are doing. Everton cannot afford another expensive flop on their transfer record.
The consequences of that happening again could be disastrous for all involved; as last summer’s failed signings have proven.