Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has gone some way towards quelling talks of his club ending their interest in this year’s transfer market. Despite improving their buying technique, and refusing to sell anyone, the Toffees have not splashed out even by their standards. The signings of young strikers Joao Silva and Magaye Gueye are the only expenditures during this window, with Jermaine Beckford and Jan Mucha coming for free.
Although the fees paid are undisclosed, they are almost certain not to amount to more than £3m, given that it is too early to tell what the new boys can produce – ironically, it is the free Beckford has looked every bit the Premier League player in pre-season. The more cynical fan may put this piece of news down to Kenwright “seeing sense and putting his hands in his pockets”, but there is a much more likely reason for this announcement.
Firstly, Everton appear to have learned their lesson from previous transfer window debacles, as several moves have been hijacked as a result of much publicised interest – their intent to sign young right-back Kyle Naughton was in the Timbuktu Times last year. Naughton had pen to paper, but before ink touched parchment, Harry Redknapp stepped in with his overused mobile phone and a larger wage packet.
These days, The Toffees ensure their jaws are firmly stuck together until the player has seen enough sense to sign on the dotted line in David Moyes’ office, and forego warming the bench for a six figure wage, at a team with no sense of the word (although one should never consider present day Tottenham in this category).
Although viewpoints on Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini remain largely mixed, the bouffon topped giant at £15m is Everton’s record signing to date, and did not sign until minutes before the midnight deadline on 1st September 2008. Indeed, all of Everton’s 2008 pre-season transfers took place in the final week of the window, prolific striker Louis Saha being the first pleasant surprise of a miserable summer.
Although Landon Donovan is out of the question without selling first, there are other potential names being bandied about. Perhaps the most widely rumoured is Donovan’s American team-mate and ex Manchester City winger DaMarcus Beasley. As a free agent, Beasley would be a good utility with his Champions League experience gained during time with Rangers and PSV Eindhoven. At international level he has scored 17 in 93 appearances.
Kenwright has also allayed immediate fears that midfield maestro Mikel Arteta will be leaving for Spain (or Arsenal), by reasserting Arteta’s committment to the club, provided that they can experience some measure of success sooner rather than later. A world of ifs, but what is certain to be the priority is the security of longer term services from promising young players such as Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman – when a team ethic is key to success, it is these homegrown talents who hold the strong foundations to Everton’s future hopes.
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