Marcel Brands took over from Steve Walsh as Director of Football at Everton in June and it may have been one of their best bits of business in the transfer market.
Brands’ playing career spanned over 17 years playing for teams of various quality as he began at Den Bosch in the second tier of Dutch football, moving across the division to RKC Waalwijk and NAC Breda. His professional career peaked at Feyenoord where he played for two seasons in the Eredivisie before rejoining RKC Waalwijk and moving to OJC Rosmalen where his playing days culminated.
Funilly enough, it has been off the pitch he has had most success. He joined Waalwijk again in 1998, but this time as director of football with Martin Jol as manager. Brands’ nous as director of football encouraged AZ Alkmaar to bring him to AFAS Stadion and at that time things looked promising for the future, yet unfortunate for the now as AZ missed out on the 2006/07 Eredivisie on the final day and lost the KNVB Cup final on penalties that season. AZ did then win the Eredivisie two seasons later under Louis Van Gaal’s tutelage. Off the pitch, things were also prosperous as Brands’ was pivotal in the signings of Graziano Pelle, Sergio Romero and Mousa Dembele.
Brands then moved across the Netherlands to Eindhoven in 2010 and his eye for talent-spotting was on show yet again as he brought youngsters such as Dries Mertens, Gini Wijnaldum, Kevin Strootman, Luuk de Jong, Davy Propper and Hirving Lozano to PSV, the latter of whom has just had a breakout World Cup. Brands’ other accessions are now scattered across Europe or have been heavily linked with teams of that calibre.
Evertonians sure have something to be enthusiastic about as with a relatively unbounded budget, Brands can work his magic and bring in players to allow Everton to compete with the Premier League’s top six. Summer additions such as Richarlison, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina all look to be astute bits of business from Brands as he looks to take Everton’s squad to the next level, of course with the new faces being provided adequate game-time.