It’s been a funny old week to be an Evertonian. At five to eleven on transfer deadline day fans were on the verge of committing seppuku or at the very least preparing the marching banners. However, by half eleven everything looked very much different and maybe even better than anyone had reasonably expected.
Deadline day has always been a roller coaster of emotion and this one looked set to be another one in which Evertonians were left angry and frustrated. Marouane Fellaini’s move to Manchester United appeared to have stalled and despite the club claiming the contrary, all of their alleged moves for players seem to stall as a result. Fans were far from shoving Fellaini out the door but they were realistic enough to realise that if he wanted to go and we could bring in the right players then it would be okay. Unfortunately, Manchester United left things very late and Everton had not given them a deadline meaning deals were on and of throughout the day. Add to that an alleged deal for Fernando that seemed destined to be another Vadis, Fer or Negredo letdown and things were at boiling point.
Everton have a gift for making you desperate for players you didn’t want or were not bothered about. When half eleven came Gareth Barry and James Mc Carthy turned from uninspired into exciting signings!
However, this window was all about the coup of bringing in Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea. This was the imaginative transfer that set fans imagination alight and despite it only being a loan deal, he will almost certainly turn out to be an inspired bit of business by Roberto Martinez.
Of course we must say our goodbyes to Victor Anichebe as he made a surprising and profitable move to West Brom. Victor split fans down the middle but he went a long way to winning fans over last season. He is one of a handful of youngsters to come through the ranks and break into the first team. Subsequent interviews have shown he holds Everton dear to his heart and I can only wish him well despite six million pounds being a great deal for us.
The departure of Marouane Fellani has left a sour taste in a few mouths as there was much wrangling over fees but in the end twenty seven and half million is a fair price for the Belgian. He could well prove to be a superb signing for United but time will tell if he can perform to a consistently excellent standard. He has largely acted with quiet dignity throughout the transfer shenanigans and I will have fond memories of his time with us. Certainly of last season when he dug us out of the shit more than once!
Perhaps the most important and welcome news for Everton and Evertonians is the retention of Leighton Baines who has seemingly been sold to Manchester United three times over in the last twelve months. Despite many insisting the deal was done for whatever reason he remains an Everton player and will remain central in all that is good about us.
This transfer window was far fr om perfect with the ever reliable Dave Whelan making fools of us with our initial, “Brighthouse” style bid for James Mc Carthy. We could have brought more permanent players in and whether Fernando was ever on, the failure to capture such a player is a disappointment. However, in theory this squad is stronger now than when the window started which a lot of people never expected.
There is now adequate cover in central midfield with Mc Carthy, Gibson and Barry competing for two holding or central spots. This means we don’t need to play Osman or Barkley further back and they can compete with Naismith for a role further up the field. We have options on the flanks with Pienaar, Deulofeu and Mirallas all competing for a place. Up front we finally have a striker who should score goals and may give Kone and Jelavic the kick up the arse they sorely need and defensively we have able cover across the back line.
A lot of our solutions are short term and will merely paper over the cracks with a number of loans bolstering our numbers. However, in Martinez’s first season it allows him to take stock and assess while pushing us forward immediately, something refreshingly different from what we are used to.
Time will tell if Martinez is the right man for the job but there are positive signs that he knows what he needs to do and how he wants to do it. We at least need to give him the time to make the attempt. It’s going to be an interesting season, of that I have no doubt.