What have Everton been upto?

Posted on August 4, 2011

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Not much is the depressing answer for their fans. The only couple of times Everton was mentioned in the transfer gossips was about Arsenal having their £12 m bid for Phil Jagielka rejected and that Manchester City was sniffing around Leighton Baines before they plumped for Gael Clichy. Everton have always been very late movers in the transfer market with the likes of Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Heitinga and Distin moving towards the wee end of the transfer window.

Their only addition to the first team last year was Jermaine Beckford, who looked woefully out of place in the Premier League before adapting admirably towards the end finishing with 10 goals. Everton scored only 51 goals last year, 11th overall in the table. Even Bolton scored more. Therein lies their main problem – lack of a dependable striker. I’m not going to go into the same spiel of lack of funds from a board who are ready to welcome investments, but not quite interested in selling the club.

The team has a very good spine in the midfield and defense. Baines is by far the best leftback in the league and Jagielka, Distin and Heitinga provide rock solid central defensive options. Seamus Coleman is doing admirably on the right, but he is still young and might take a couple more seasons to become a well rounded defender. Yobo might not stay on as he is clearly down the pecking order, but there are not many takers for him.

The midfield is very competent with Bilyaletdinov showing flashes of consistency during the pre-season and could justify his hefty transfer fee. In Arteta and Cahill, some much needed experience, flair and talent is available which many other teams lack. Fellaini has been a colossus in many games but his contract is running down and surely might seek pastures new. Moyes might be tempted to cash in on him either in January or next June. Osman was brilliant towards the end of the season and should he find some consistency, he will be a force to reckon with this season.

This season will be a defining one for Jack Rodwell. His improvement has somewhat faltered over the last season. If he picks up and plays well this season, he will be a hot commodity in the transfer market. Youngster Ross Barkley has been making noises for all the right reasons in the pre-season games and could be the next academy player to step up.

And now for the main issue – the striker conundrum. Saha is unreliable in terms of his fitness and Beckford is still finding his feet. Yakubu and Anichebe are also there but nobody is actually cheered by the sight of them as striking options. Yakubu has to rediscover his love for the game and Anichebe has to step up. I can see both of them leaving this summer. This is where I feel Everton has missed out on Jay Bothroyd. I was surprised Moyes didn’t move for him and he actually signed for QPR, who are not spending much as of now. Maybe a loan move for one or two of Federico Macheda, Mame Biram Diouf and Daniel Sturridge might present a win-win situation for both clubs and the players.

I understand that there’s next to nothing to spend. So Everton should concentrate on loans and free transfers. Oh and by the way, boyhood fan Joey Barton is available for free…
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Posted in: EPL