Moving in the right direction again
With Andre Gomes set to sign for Everton permanently, it’s starting to look like the Toffees are finally moving in the right direction again.
It’s not been a great time for Everton fans over the past few years.
The Toffees were once top four challengers under David Moyes, albeit before Manchester City and Tottenham overtook them by a considerable amount.
It was always a case of if Everton had money, could they finally break the top four?
The closest the Toffees came was under Roberto Martinez, where a record points tally wasn’t enough for them to reach the Champions League spots.
However, an opportunity to do so then presented itself.
Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri became the majority shareholder of Everton.
Martinez was sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman, who had impressed at Southampton.
Steve Walsh was then brought in as sporting director to help mastermind a top-four push.
However, that’s where it all went wrong for Everton, and the club stalled.
Everton had their price, stood firm even when the pressure grew and look to have come out with another great deal
Excellent work from Marcel Brands and everyone involved again
— Adam Jones (@Adam_Jones94) June 19, 2019
Everton hit a roadblock in their Champions League plans
The Toffees started to spend big, but not on smart signings.
Walsh and Koeman decided to splash £26 million on Yannick Bolasie in their first summer.
While an impressive player on his day, Bolasie’s time at Everton has been a shambles to say the least.
The winger spent most of his time injured, before loans to Aston Villa and Anderlecht.
Everton also brought in Ashley Williams that summer, who was even more disappointing.
So poor was Williams that he spent last season on loan in the Championship with Stoke.
The signings of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye were solid, but rather than a new era, the 2016/17 season proved to be a false dawn.
It didn’t get any better the summer after, either, with Farhad Moshiri backing Walsh and Koeman to the hilt.
Everton splash the cash on average talent
Everton spent over £150 million in hope of breaking the top four, but they were spending their money in the wrong places thanks to Walsh and Koeman.
Some good players did come in, with the likes of Gyfli Sigurdsson (though the club overpaid), Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford signing.
However, they were joined by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen and Cuco Martina.
Rooney, Klaassen and Martina left after just one season following disappointing campaigns.
Meanwhile, Everton are yet to find a new home for Sandro.
Unsurprisingly, the disjointed and frankly average side failed to go anywhere under Ronald Koeman, and were left fighting relegation when the Dutchman was sacked.
Sam Allardyce was then brought in, as signings by Steve Walsh continued to frustrate fans.
Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott were brought in during the January transfer window.
While they enjoyed initial positive spells, the pair are now on the fringes of the first team and cost some serious money.
As a result of his poor signing record, Steve Walsh was sacked along with Sam Allardyce.
The simple fact was that Everton had spent over £200 million to go backwards.
A positive new dawn for Everton fans
Fast forward to last summer and Everton finally found the right formula.
Moshiri appointed Marcel Brands as Walsh’s replacement, a man known for his rebuilding success at both AZ Alkmaar and PSV.
He was then paired with young manager Marco Silva, and a new project began.
Marcel Brands’ first transfer window was a resounding success, implementing a scouting plan that would avoid the kind of transfers that the previous regime plagued Everton with.
Everton signed Richarlison, Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and Bernard on permanent deals, as well as Andre Gomes and Kurt Zouma on loan.
Richarlison finished with 13 Premier League goals, despite a drop in form around Christmas.
Meanwhile, Digne was one of the top full-backs in the top-flight.
Brands’ loan signings Andre Gomes and Kurt Zouma were also pivotal throughout the campaign.
— Ben Grounds (@Ben_Islington) June 19, 2019
While Mina and Bernard did impress at times, both struggled for game-time, but will no doubt show their quality next season.
Looking at the long-term
Even more impressive was the long-term plan for all of these players.
Whereas Steve Walsh and Koeman had previously signed players aged over 25 for big money, Brands took a more measured approach, only spending big money on young talent with a clear resell value.
Richarlison, for example, would be worth double what Everton paid for him last summer.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo back in April, Brands explained that for a club like Everton, young signings are key investments.
“The players we brought in last year were all under 25 so we don’t want to invest big money in players who are older,” he explained.
“Everton is a club that also has to sell players so it is necessary to get younger players to invest in.
“That’s why we invested in young players last summer.
“Digne was 24, Mina 23, Richarlison 21, so we look to players in age group 20-25/26.”
After everything, Everton had stabilised themselves under the watch of Marcel Brands, and are now running like a self-sustaining football club should.
What’s next for Everton?
Now, it’s about moving forward, and it’s starting to look like Everton are doing just that.
It’s being reported that Everton will sign Andre Gomes for £22 million.
Considering his performances last season, it represents another bargain transfer on the resume of Brands.
The fact that, despite reported interest from Champions League finalists Tottenham, Andre Gomes wanted to come back to Goodison, speaks volumes.
Nearly a decade passed and then Marcel Brands replaced the Baines, Pienaar, Arteta triangle with Digne, Bernard and Gomes in one season. All at a great price. Those three are near identical to replicating those players and the relationships on the pitch. The man’s a genius.
— Ell Bretland (@EllBretland) June 19, 2019
The Toffees are finally starting to be considered as a viable destination for talented players at some of the biggest clubs in the world, and the signing of Gomes emphasises that.
There’s simply no denying that, after a bleak few years under some questionable management, Everton are starting to move in the right direction under the careful watch of Marcel Brands.
If the Toffees can perform as well as they did in the last off-season transfer window this summer, there’s no telling what they could do next season.