After a summer-long transfer saga surrounding arguably Everton’s two best players and a reunion with their former boss at Manchester United, the Toffees find themselves in a strong position. Yes, Marouane Fellaini has departed to join the Premier League champions, but the Merseyside club side look like a more-rounded team after their transfer window exploits.
Things were looking slightly dire for Everton two weeks ago, with United on the trail of Fellaini and Leighton Baines, with an opening offer of £28 million for the pair quite rightly labeled derisory.
In the long run, Everton could not hold onto the giant Belgian, but have kept Baines. This is a positive result for Roberto Martínez’s men, as the England left-back would be much harder to replace than the now Manchester United midfielder.
In terms of a transfer fee, Fellaini had a £22.5m release clause expire earlier in the summer and Everton ended up piling pressure on United and receiving an excellent £27.5m. This financial boost is much-needed and will be appreciated at Everton.
For around half of the fee received for Fellaini, Everton have brought in two players more suited to Martínez’s style of play. The ex-Wigan man urges his sides to get the ball down and play, regardless of where you are on the pitch and wants to instill a possession-football ethos at Goodison.
Despite Fellaini’s other admirable qualities, the former Standard Liege man does not fit into Martínez’s style of play. His replacement, £13 million signing James McCarthy, is an apt predecessor. The Republic of Ireland international knows Martínez and his footballing mentality well from their time together at Wigan and the midfielder can form an exciting pairing with fellow prodigious talent Ross Barkley this season.
To counterbalance this young pair’s lack of experience, Gareth Barry has also been brought to Everton on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City. The former England captain will add a steady hand in front of the side’s back four and has a wealth of Premier League and international experience.
The club have also managed to sell Victor Anichebe to West Brom for a fee that could rise as high as £6m. In his place they have signed arguably the most lethal young forward in the land in the form of Romelu Lukaku, again on loan, this time from Chelsea.
In seven seasons at Goodison Park, Anichebe failed to enforce himself as an automatic starter for the club and was plagued by injuries and dips in form. In his considerable time at the Merseyside club Anichebe only scored 18 Premier League goals. Lukaku scored 17 Premier League goals for West Brom in one campaign last term.
The Belgian forward has a point to prove after being shunned by José Mourinho at Chelsea and in a World Cup year will look to have another excellent season. Everton have potentially a 20-goal-a-season man now leading their line, and if supported by Nikica Jelavić and Kevin Mirallas, the Merseysiders could have one of the most devastating attacking units in the division at their disposal.
Keeping Baines, making a stellar profit and bringing players that fit into Roberto Martínez’s footballing style of play mean it has been a good summer for Everton. Fellaini will be missed, but the Merseysiders look like a more-rounded and dangerous team despite his departure.