22 Jan 19
The Scottish Sun
HERE’S a decent trivia question to make a sub-zero winter day fly by.
Can you name the TEN players Everton have signed for fees of at least £20million since summer 2016?
Everton are languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League despite their expensive squad
Marco Silva has failed to get Everton back towards the top of English football
Answers at the foot of the column in case you really haven’t got anything better to do — but trust me it’s a staggering roll-call of largely over-priced football players.
And all of them were recruited in just 2½ years of drunken-sailor spending by the one-time ‘People’s Club’ which has become a byword for more-money-than-sense Premier League mediocrity.
Everton are a club which agents throughout Europe tend to laugh out loud about, their lack of business sense having become legendary of late.
The dressing-room atmosphere has also been toxic at times.
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After a sixth defeat in ten matches at Southampton, the Goodison Park club are marooned in the bottom half of the Premier League, despite having a squad which cost more than that of Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
Despite selling Romelu Lukaku and John Stones for a whopping £122.5m, the Everton still have a £200m net spend since 2014.
It would be easy to pin Everton’s current problems on manager Marco Silva — and Watford did suggest as much yesterday when they retweeted Gary Lineker’s claim, from last year, that it was an ‘absurd decision’ for them to sack the Portuguese.
Watford now sit seventh under Javi Gracia, having recovered well from Everton allegedly ‘tapping up’ their manager and destabilising a promising campaign last season.
Richarlison is one of Everton’s big-money recruits who has yet to make his mark
Silva had been a young man in a hurry but pretty soon, even at a club as weirdly under-the-radar as these nine-time champions of England, they’re going to start asking whether he is actually for real.
The Portuguese has a negative record at all three of his Premier League clubs, including a relegation at Hull.
And in just over 18 months, Silva led all three teams to concede at least six goals in a home match, thanks to his legs-akimbo defensive set-up.
But it’s not all about Silva.
No Evertonian wants Sam Allardyce back, yet the chopping and changing of managers with extreme differences in playing philosophy is indicative of a club without a long-term plan.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was brought from Swansea for big money
Tottenham, a club of similar stature, have established themselves as Champions League regulars and look forward to (eventually) moving into their world-class stadium.
After decades of talking about relocating from the atmospheric yet decrepit Goodison, new stadium proposals are still at the castle-in-the-sky stage, despite the efforts of their city’s Evertonian mayor. Since 2016, when Farhad Moshiri bought his controlling interest and Roberto Martinez (whose reign looks far better in hindsight) was sacked, Everton have been all over the shop.
They have hired and fired Ronald Koeman, Big Sam, Wayne Rooney (arrested for drink-driving and soon dispatched to the MLS) and Leicester’s title-winning chief scout Steve Walsh.
It’s not so much a revolving-door policy as a panic-room scenario.
Despite 23 seasons without a trophy, the scale of Everton’s under-achievement tends not to be recognised because the local press has always been fixated on Liverpool, and largely staffed by supporters of Liverpool.
Yerry Mina came from Barcelona with a big reputation and cost a fair bit
That’s handy for Everton as no other club with a similar-sized support would be allowed to operate so badly with so little public accountability.
Last summer brought a major overhaul of the club, with a new chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale and director of football Marcel Brands arriving, as well as Silva.
But on-field results set the tone and Silva does not seem to know the best team to pick from the hotchpotch of a squad left by all that scattergun spending.
After defeat at Southampton, captain Seamus Coleman made the worrying admission that his team-mates are not showing enough fight.
I dunno, maybe they could attempt a team-bonding exercise to boost team-spirit? How about a little quiz?
[boxout headline=”ANSWERS”]Yerry Mina (£28.5m), Richarlison (£40m), Davy Klaassen (£23.4m), Jordan Pickford (£30m), Michael Keane (£25m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£40m), Theo Walcott (£20m), Cenk Tosun (£27m), Morgan Schneiderlin (£20m), Yannick Bolasie (£25m)
IT WILL be good to see Ashley Cole enjoying a swansong in English football with Derby County.
It would have been a shame if the 38-year-old had slipped into retirement in far-off Los Angeles after finishing his stint with LA Galaxy.
Left-back Cole was one of the few English footballers of the past half-century who were the world’s best in their own position for a substantial length of time. It’s a pity he believes the media had a vendetta against him.
In truth, Cole agreed to the most ill-judged line ever published in an autobiography and he got into an unhappy celebrity marriage with a singer who had a very effective PR team.
But, in footballing terms, he has long been cherished.
Ashley Cole made a return to English football aged 38 as he joined Derby
PASSION A NU-NO
LAST season, Nuno Espirito Santo apologised after copping an earful of invective from Cardiff boss Neil Warnock for daring to enjoy a crucial top-of-the-table victory.
Now Nuno holds up his hands again after being sent to the stands for invading the pitch to celebrate Wolves’ last-gasp winner in a 4-3 thriller with Leicester.
He is an absolute gentleman, so you won’t hear him complaining.
But Nuno must think ‘wasn’t the great thing about English football meant to be its passion?’
Nuno Espirito Santo has been charged for running down the touchline to celebrate in injury time against Leicester
FUL OF GLOOM
THREE weeks ago, Fulham suffered the embarrassment of Aboubakar Kamara stealing a penalty from Aleksandar Mitrovic and missing it.
Then sub Mitrovic missed a spot-kick in an injury-time home Cup KO by League Two Oldham.
Then Mitrovic and Kamara had a bust-up in a yoga session.
Then came two own goals in a defeat at relegation rivals Burnley, who failed to get a shot on target.
Then the revelation key defender Alfie Mawson had suffered a long-term knee injury while changing his boots.
Then a second successive injury- time home loss, against Spurs.
Then the realisation Claudio Ranieri must have used up all his luck at Leicester.
Claudio Ranieri has not enjoyed much luck at the start of his Fulham spell
SARRI IS ED CASE
IF Maurizio Sarri is as intellectual as people on the internet keep telling us, why does he believe that publicly monstering Chelsea players may improve performances?
Did nobody tell him this club pretty much invented player power?
You don’t have to be a simpleton to believe football is often a simple game. And playing two Footballers of the Year, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, out of position isn’t as clever as all that.
Chelsea’s current squad, apparently impossible to motivate, have won more than 50 major honours between them.
Sarri has won nothing. Perhaps only because there isn’t a Nobel Prize for Philosophy.
Maurizio Sarri laid into his players in Italian after an uninspiring 2-0 defeat at Arsenal
APPARENTLY, Saturday’s 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace proved once and for all that this has to be Liverpool’s year.
They reckon this was the match they’ll look back on and identify as the key moment when the glorious morning dawns and the people’s champions are crowned and yada, yada, yada.
If you thought it looked more like a Liverpool team riddled by nerves — the ragged defending, the chaotic game-management, the shocking tackling from James Milner, the desperate dive from Mo Salah — then you need to apply for your free pair of red-tinted glasses courtesy of any other media outlet.
Liverpool held off Crystal Palace in a seven-goal thriller on a nervy afternoon at Anfield
I BET Manchester United are glad they put in a gagging clause forbidding Jose from talking about them as part of his pay-off.
I don’t know about you but I’ve barely heard a squeak out of him on the subject lately.
Jose Mourinho appeared as a pundit on BeIn Sports at the weekend