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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Three-Transfers Road to Improvement: Everton

another article i wrote on bleacher report

In the 6th part of my "Three Transfers" series, I will be looking at Everton, a club that performed admirably well this season, despite a period where they lost all their strikers to injury.

Looking at their squad, if everyone is fully fit, they don't really need any major additions. David Moyes has done an excellent job of putting together a nice blend of brain and brawn in the side, and their performances this season have seen them finish fifth in the table, and also get to the FA Cup Final, quite a feat for what is supposedly a "small club", as described by Rafa Benitez.

It will be a tough task to think of three transfers that would improve Everton, given the quality in their ranks, and also their budget, but here's where I feel improvements can still be made.


Tony Hibbert has been a loyal servant for Everton since he joined the Toffees eight years ago. While he is a solid right-back, he is not much of an offensive threat, and this is something where Everton should look to improve on.

On the left, Leighton Baines bombs down the wing on the overlap regularly, and whips in some fantastic crosses. Now, imagine if Everton could replicate that on the right. I think with the ability in the air that Everton possesses, they could get a fair few more goals, if they had a right-back who could attack well.

Of course, as Everton's game is based on solidity at the back and in midfield, a potential signing must also not be defensively crap, so that rules out somebody like Justin Hoyte.

A possible signing Everton could go for is Habib Beye. A solid full-back, with the ability to go forward when required, I think Beye would be perfect for Everton. With Newcastle relegated, he would also not be too expensive, and this is important for Everton, as they do not have the luxury of splashing cash around, unlike some other team in blue (no, not Sunderland when they play away).

If the Beye deal doesn't materialise, another right-back they could go for is Alan Hutton. He is not first choice at Spurs, and might welcome the chance to play in Europe.


On paper, Everton are quite well-stocked here. Yakubu and Saha are the established names, and competition is in the form of Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan.

However, Saha cannot be counted on to finish a season without major injury, as he is made from the same mould as other footballers/hospital VIP card-holders like Tomas Rosicky and Darren Anderton.

Yakubu has been missing for a large part of this season, while Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan are nothing more than pure potential, and they aren't ready to make the step up to the first team week in, week out yet.

Having qualified for Europe, I think Everton should look to strengthen their team, and if possible, bring in a different kind of player to Saha and Yakubu.

I think Everton could send out a real statement of intent to the other teams in the league by signing Javier Saviola. The little Argentine is only 28 years old, but has been reduced to a bit-part role at the Santiago Bernabeu. With his pace and goalscoring instincts, I think he would be the perfect partner for someone like Yakubu. He also brings with him European experience, having won the UEFA Cup with Sevilla, and played in the Champions League with Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past. This European experience could be crucial in the Europa League next season.


Currently, the wingers at Everton are Pienaar, Osman, Arteta and Van der Meyde. Van der Meyde has been out of favour, and seldom gets any first-team action. That leaves three players for two spots on the left and right wing. However, given that Arteta has had a stellar season operating in the middle of the park, perhaps, he should stay there, where his playmaking skills can be put to best use.

So with Pienaar manning the left flank, and Osman on the right flank, Everton has played very well this season. However, with the demands of European football next season, Everton could perhaps do better if they had more players to rotate.

David Bentley has been touted as a possible transfer by some media sources, but I think he would not fit into Everton, as the team is based on hard work and hard running, and everyone fighting for each other. I just do not believe David Bentley is the sort who will put club before self, and as such, I think he should not even be considered.

Ideally, Everton would want a winger who can operate on both flanks, as it will be easier to rotate, and I think the perfect player for Everton is Sanli Tuncay. Blessed with technique, he is also a willing worker and always puts the team before himself. He was one of the bright sparks in what was a poor season for Middlesbrough, which ultimately resulted in relegation.

Signing him might not be that easy, even though Boro have been relegated, as there is definitely going to be a whole host of clubs going after his signature.

If Everton cannot get Tuncay, then they could perhaps turn their attentions to Chris Brunt. One of the stand-out performers from a West Brom team that often entertained despite losing, Brunt has a good left foot on him. That, coupled with his high work-rate, would make him quite a good signing for Everton. I can already picture Brunt's delicious left-foot crosses being headed home emphatically by the likes of Cahill and Fellaini.

The signings that Everton will make in the close-season really depend on the budget offered to David Moyes. Hopefully, for Everton fans, the Europa League, which has promised higher revenue for clubs, will provide Moyes with the financial injection to improve the team. Whatever it is, they are my favourite club from Merseyside, and I hope they will make the right signings for next season.

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