Modern day football clubs place an increasing emphasis on expansive scouting systems, with Premier League sides scouring the four corners of the globe to find the latest superstar. However, with multi-million pound price tags resting on today’s players’ shoulders, it is very rare that a first-team star can be plucked out of obscurity for a fee less than £100,000.
Everton defied this logic to bring Séamus Coleman to Goodison Park back in January 2009, with the Irish wideman now one off the most prestigious and well-respected defenders in the English top flight.
The 25-year-old rose to prominence with local club Sligo Rovers, with a host of individual displays catching the eye of visiting scouts. In the end it was Everton who won the race for the rising star, with the Merseyside club shelling out a modest £60,000 to bring the Irishman to England.
Coleman made an instant impression at Everton, picking up the man of the match award on his debut against Tottenham after coming off the bench to set up both of his side’s goals in a 2-2 draw.
A loan spell at Blackpool in the second half of the 2009-10 season allowed Coleman more regular playing time, before he returned to Everton and vied for a consistent first-team place for David Moyes’ outfit.
Despite the versatility of being able to play in midfield due to his attacking instincts, Coleman has made the right-back slot his own in recent times. Under new Toffees manager Roberto Martínez, the defender has become one of Everton’s most influential players and the new style of play at Goodison Park suits the Republic of Ireland international.
The former Wigan chief has implored his side to play attacking, possession-based football, which has brought the best out of Coleman. The speedy wideman is comfortable with the ball at his feet, has a deadly shot from distance and is making the most of his licence to get forward.
A solid defender who has the pace to get himself out of tricky situations, Coleman’s positional play while his side are on the back foot has also improved over the last 12 months. From an attacking perspective, five goals this term is the most for any defender in the division while his link-up play with the side’s midfield and forwards has been exceptional.
Despite the amount of transfer speculation surrounding Everton’s other full-back Leighton Baines and the potential for a reunion with Moyes at Manchester United, Coleman’s stellar efforts this term have seen him in the British press also. Arsenal have been linked with a move for the marauding full-back, with a valuation in the media generally touted as £15 million plus.
To come to England from the League of Ireland on a pittance of a fee for the Premier League, Coleman’s transformation into one of the best attacking full-backs in the division has been astounding.
Coleman will continue to play a sizeable role in the Merseyside outfit’s assault towards Champions League qualification, and has only gotten better as a player since the appointment of the attacking-minded Martínez.