Everton

That Gosling Cock-Up In Full…

So, Everton midfielder Dan Gosling looks set to leave the club as a free agent, with Newcastle the likely destination. Following apparent administrative error, Gosling took a big bite out of the hand that feeds and marched Everton to a Premier League tribunal; with the hearing deciding in favour of the player and ensuring young Dan is entitled to leave the club on a free.

It all appears a right old cock-up, but what happened, where does the blame lay and what, really, is the cost?

The administrative blunder allegedly consisted of a failure to put an official contract in writing by the mid-May cut-off date. A ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was in place, with Everton believing the deal secure and Gosling set to vastly improve his deal – potentially bagging around £15,000 a week next season, with bonuses taken into account. However, Gosling duly decided otherwise.

Indeed, when Everton signed Gosling from Plymouth in January 2008 he was given an abridged deal, reportedly in the region of £8000-a-week. The club would have secured a five-year contract, but his age meant such an extended contract was not viable. Nevertheless, it was understood by the two parties that the deal would, indeed, eventually be extended with improved conditions.

Gosling, though, clearly (and strangely) feels he deserves a more substantial first-team place, notably in his favoured central midfield position, perhaps with further improvements in contractual terms. Everton are now set to both lose the player and, more gallingly, miss out on any future funds or – most markedly and urgently – compensation. It is thought the ‘mix-up’ could cost Everton in the region of £3million.

At ‘best’, the debacle certainly demonstrates negligence from Kenwright and the clubs administrative and legal departments. Failure to put the offer in writing seems almost implausible and the gentleman’s agreement could be judged as optimistic, foolish or anachronistic. However, Everton maintain that similar deals based on mutual trust have been successfully implemented in the past and noises from the Gosling camp gave them no need to be concerned. Thus, though it was a big fat hairy balls-up, you also have look at the player, and, inevitably, his agent.

The agent, it appears, has done a good job of doing nothing; keeping quiet and letting the situation softly and subtly develop, before exploiting a legal loophole. As for the player, taking the club that gave him his Premier League opportunity, and has aided his development whilst currently nursing him through injury, to a Premier League tribunal smacks of…well, it smacks of something; a sharp smack in gob. You can imagine David Moyes is fuming – properly boot-a-baby in-the-face fuming – at both the decision and Gosling’s conduct.

Moyes gave Gosling, now 20-years-old, a chance to develop in the top-flight. Indeed, he has been nurtured well at Everton and gradually handed more first-team opportunities. Last season he was deployed in a number of positions due to his versatility and was coming along relatively nicely under the shrewd stewardship of Moyes and the stabilising surroundings of Goodison. His high-point clearly came in the infamous FA Cup tie against Liverpool; scoring the winner and ensuring a place in place in Goodison folklore.

Nevertheless, he is not a talent in the same bracket of the likes of Jack Rodwell, and still has a long way to go. Certainly, despite the derby goal etcetera, etcetera, many fans are still undecided about his all-round ability, potential and indeed his best position. All of which makes Goslings decision more peculiar. He wants first-team football; well you have to earn it. He wants to be played in central midfield; with the talent Everton possess in that position?? It seems he’s getting ahead of himself slightly, his progress at Goodsion was just about at the right speed and level; a first-team central midfielder deserving more than £15,000-a-week he most certainly is not, at least not yet. Itchy feet, expectation and (dare I say) greed, beyond his young years seems to be the case.

So, despite his versatility and youth, on the pitch he may not actually be a massive miss to Everton (as long as the injury curse doesn’t hit hard again next year). The loss in revenue, particularly having nurtured his talent, is probably the biggest loss; especially when every penny is needed at the moment. Whatever way you look at it, it does appear a bizarre blunder. Everton fans will rightly have expected more from the clubs owners, administrative team and certainly the player. Nonetheless, there still seems to be something implausible about neglecting to offer a written contract; perhaps there is more to it than meet the eye, with all parties (club, player, agent) attempting to protect their interests for as long as possible – particularly with Gosling currently injury stricken.

What’s next for Gosling? Another Francis Jeffers? This remains to be seen. The likes of Sunderland and West Ham have been linked with a bid, however it seems Newcastle United are favourites to snap him up on a free. It could, if Gosling develops adequately, be good deal for the newly promoted club; an England under-21 international on a free transfer. Currently out injured, it’ll be interesting to see the reception the baby-faced assassin receives when he next rocks up at Goodison…

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/jonathanellisTT

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