You do not have to cast the mind back far to find examples of the so-called ‘big boys’ throwing their weight around in the transfer market and thrusting money at a problem in an effort to get what they want. Everton, though, are taking a stand and proving that such tactics will be met with stubborn resistance if the situation calls for it.
Chelsea’s pursuit of John Stones has left something of a sour taste in the mouth, with there no reason in an era of directors of football and multiple player representatives for a saga of this sort to be played out in public.
The reigning Premier League champions clearly know what they are doing, though, and have hung their laundry out to dry in the hope that mass hysteria will prove destabilising and ultimately lead to them toasting the desired result.
Jose Mourinho would appear to have underestimated the Toffees, though, with a transfer window that has not delivered too much in the way of fresh faces being welcomed through the door offering plenty in terms of keeping key men out of the clutches of a Premier League rival. James McCarthy’s future kept the gossip columns in business for a while, before committing to a new long-term contract, while Kevin Mirallas was also the subject of unwanted attention before putting pen to paper.
Bill Kenwright was widely reported to have played a crucial role in the securing of McCarthy’s services, and is likely to have had more than a passing interest in discussions held with Mirallas.
He will also be the man leading the fight to keep Stones on Merseyside. Kenwright has never shied away from the fact that books need to be balanced and that funds will often need to be self-generated in order to be used in recruitment drives elsewhere.
He is, however, also a man who will look to do best by the club at all times, and if that means fending off advances from afar for prized assets, then so be it.
In Roberto Martinez he has the perfect mouthpiece and a man offered a stage on a regular basis from which to preach the philosophies of the collective cause and to make it abundantly clear that Everton are not a club to be messed about – as has been the case during the Stones saga.
It is an approach that is refreshing to see, and one which is likely to have been welcomed by all footballer followers outside of Stamford Bridge. Accepting a ten-fold profit on a player snapped up for £3million may make sense to some, but Everton are fortunate to be under the stewardship of men who still see football as being much more than a business.
They are still able to hold their own among the elite and will fancy another shot at bucking trends in Premier League betting markets which suggest that the top four, possibly even the top six, is a closed shop and one impossible to breach.
This is a club focused on the present but building for the future, and a 21-year-old defender who has already seen his talent recognised at a senior international level and one who committed to a five-year contract just 12 months previous, is rightly considered to be a key part of that project.
It is also important to note that Stones could well be worth considerably more than the figures currently being floated further down the line, so why should the Toffees allow that potential to slip through their fingers? They have every right to tell Chelsea where to go, with it about time that someone stood up to the Premier League’s prima donnas and made them aware that money isn’t everything.