“Roberto is in a new job and I’m sure he’ll get to understand how Everton work. I know exactly how Everton work.” – David Moyes
As the news transpires that Everton have received a transfer request from John Stones, it emerges that Everton’s “project” has failed before it really started.
When the Spaniard joined Everton from Wigan, he vowed to “find a way” to take the Toffees into the Champions League, and to put them back into the upper echelons of the footballing world, once again, fighting each season for silverware. This statement was laughed off as unrealistic, but also touched blues fans in seeing that he recognised our club’s history, and showed ambition – something that many supporters felt was lacking under the previous management.
As I looked at the squad ahead of the season, I saw what Martinez had chosen as his “way”, and how he hoped he could take Everton back to the top. He has built a great core of young players to build a team around, and who could grow together. Stones, McCarthy, Barkley, Deulofeu and Lukaku all fall into this category, and the likes of Cleverley, although slightly older, could also be put into this type of classification. Into this category, the club were placing one or two players each summer, and selling some deadwood to help pay for it.
Unfortunately, it would appear that we will lose a lynchpin of this scheme, a player who is as good as it gets in terms of potential for his role, and someone extremely difficult to replace. It is with sadness that I think that it would only have taken one more player to have made Stones think twice about leaving. If we could have gone out and bought a glamourous signing (someone along the lines of Yarmolenko), I think that the Chelsea target would have believed that it would come together, and at least given Everton another season.
The building that the club have put in place is a solid start, but once one player fails to believe, others will too, and I fear that Everton will remain unable to attract other players of a standard of Yarmolenko, and will struggle to keep hold of the names I gave earlier in the article.
Given the huge new TV money and the loss of key players on big money (Distin, Alcaraz, Eto’o) over the last year, wouldn’t it seem that the Toffees would have the ability to go out to sign a player for £15m without selling? Can’t Everton expect to build on an excellent young squad, and bring in some additional quality? This is the major stumbling block in the plan – the club doesn’t have any money, and unfortunately, the only reason for that is mismanagement.
Despite the major failings in terms of finding revenue streams, sponsorship deals and still not making any changes to our stadium (or moving), we are still the ninth-highest earners in the Premier League, but are being consistently outspent by clubs earning far less than us.
Unfortunately, this has been a consistent pattern, and one which far predates the arrival of Roberto Martinez. I believe that the club needs to sell to buy, hence the FAILED move for Andriy Yarmolenko, and that is the major flaw in the strategy to take us back. We need to add big players each summer, but if we need to sell a key asset to buy one, we are treading water. We NEED investment in terms of personnel, we NEED to improve our financial revenue streams and we NEED to maintain what we have to progress. Unfortunately, rather than building on solid foundations, we are selling them off, and attempting to fill gaps. Regrettably, that appears to happening already, and the beginnings of a new “way” are giving way to the plans of the past. Maybe we should have known…