Are Everton in danger of doing a ‘Spurs’?
We may still only be in early July, but it is already safe to say that the summer of 2017 has been like no other for fans of Everton football club. A transfer-spending spree that looks to inevitably eclipse the £100m mark and one that has left a number of their close rivals in something of a tailspin. Many are already tipping the 17/18 season to be the one where Everton finally rekindle some of the magic of yesteryear and firmly re-establish themselves as the big club that they historically have been.
So how has this all been possible for Everton?
A combination of factors are clearly relevant here, the increased TV rights monies largely common to all clubs in the league is starting to take effect. Increased expenditure on players is a trend across clubs and that alone doesn’t explain the exceptional spending of the ‘toffees’. This can mainly be attributed to the increased financial power brought about by Iranian Farhad Moshiri’s ever-increasing influence at the club, a man with similar ambition to the much-adored Bill Kenwright, but also with the means to achieve his goals. In addition to this, Everton have been awaiting the funds from the soon to be confirmed Romelu Lukaku deal (circa £75m) and a potential deal for Ross Barkley (£25-40m). There is a genuine chance that despite the lavish spending, Everton may well see a balance on their player trading for summer 2017.
Does this all sound a bit familiar?
There is of course a natural parallel here, and one which Everton fans may not be keen to be drawn on. Tottenham Hotspur spent much of summer 2013 preparing for the imminent departure of Gareth Bale, a deal that was completed eventually on September 1st for a then world record £90m fee. Leading up to this, Spurs spent an eye-watering £108m on a range of new players in a bid to fill the void left by the welshman. The notion of selling Elvis and buying the Beatles was bandied about, but in truth only two of the original seven remain so it has become something more akin to the White Stripes. Mauricio Pochettino spent much of his early tenure furiously clearing out the deadwood from the transfer splurge, and has only recently begun to reap the benefits of a new order at Tottenham.
Will Everton learn from Tottenham?
It is most likely that they have and will. There are certain important differences between what Everton have done and what Spurs fatally did in 2013. First of all, there is a greater deal of certainty, Lukaku has already departed and the majority of the new acquisitions have arrived ahead of a full pre-season. This simply wasn’t the case with Spurs whose early parts of the season were subject to continued upheaval and change. The nature of Everton’s signings also provide a bit of assurance, largely inexperienced players yes, but also ones with a degree of Premier League experience. If required, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane should be able to hit the ground running. In Davy Klaasen they have a product of an academy that is fast becoming as secure a well of talent as there is in European football, Ajax’s most vaunted youngsters very rarely turn out to be duds. The rest of the signings to date look promising, but also have commanded small enough fees to negate any potential risk that they won’t pan out as intended. Sandro Ramirez looks an absolute coup at £5.1m, and surely even an average season in England would see a host of Spanish clubs competing for his signature again come May.
Everton haven’t done a ‘Spurs’ here, in fact everything points to the fact they have heeded the warning from a few years ago. The mark of this new cohort won’t necessarily be in titles and trophies straight away, but in whether Everton can progress and begin to compete with the ‘big 6’ once again. Instead of looking forward, the Likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are firmly looking back over their shoulder.
Are Everton the dark horses for a top four place this term?