Everton supporters have been pretty despondent in recent times after seeing their side suffer a last-gasp defeat in the Merseyside derby at the weekend.
Marco Silva’s men went into their meeting with bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield off the back of edging Cardiff City 1-0 in their previous league encounter, and thus full of confidence ahead of their trip across the city. Yet the Toffees returned to Goodison Park empty-handed as a late Divock Origi header following a mistake from Jordan Pickford sealed a 1-0 victory for the Reds, thus inflicting a fourth defeat of the season on Silva’s side.
As such, there have been many disappointed Evertonians up and down the country in recent times, although plenty are hoping for even more from their team as the season wears on given the shrewd business they conducted during the summer.
Yet, while the club’s hierarchy have rightly been praised for the signings they made during the close season, the same can’t really be said of the £12.6 million deal (as per Transfermarkt) they struck for centre back Ashley Williams in the summer of 2016.
It was former boss Ronald Koeman, sacked in October last year after a rotten start to the 2017/18 season, who lured the defender away from Swansea City, with the Swans without doubt the only winners from the Dutchman’s backfiring decision.
Ultimately, Williams was seen by many as one of the most underrated centre backs in the Premier League during his time at Swansea, what with the 34-year-old playing a key role in helping the club reach the top-flight in 2011 under Brendan Rodgers, before becoming a vital cog in their establishment as a Premier League side.
As such, it was always likely that Williams would eventually earn a move away from the Liberty Stadium, and so it proved when Koeman, who took over at Everton just a month earlier, lured him to Goodison Park as he sought to improve a Toffees backline that shipped 55 goals under Roberto Martinez the campaign before.
And while the defender went on to appear 36 times in his first season at Goodison Park, helping the club to a seventh place finish in the top-flight, he simply wasn’t able to replicate his Swansea form at Everton on a regular enough basis.
In fact, the 34-year-old slowly but surely fell down the pecking order last season and was completely outcasted by Sam Allardyce at the rear end of last term following his silly red card against Burnley.
And he hasn’t featured for the Toffees since either given new boss Silva shipped him out on loan to Championship side Stoke City for the entirety of the current campaign – overall, the Toffees got one solid and one very indifferent season out of the centre back.
Thus, while Swansea did eventually lose their Premier League status last season, they did exceptionally well to get £12.6 million out of the 31-year-old, who has since looked a shadow of the player that shone in South Wales.
As such, it’s the Swans who are the only winners from Koeman’s backfiring decision to sign the centre back in 2016.
Everton and Swansea fans… what do you think? Let us know!