I do believe that the window, despite the criticism from Roberto that it should close prior to the season starting, is probably right to stay open a little longer. It allows teams to assess and address weak spots, cover early injuries, and bring in a big signing to improve the team and confidence in the season ahead. In essence every player is up for sale and, believe me, everybody has a price regardless of what managers and owners say!
As I have stated in a previous article, our beautiful game is now an intense and highly competitive business. Money drives the game, the players, and the clubs. Supporters are just one important, but not primary income stream, being some way behind television income and usually not a significant consideration. Sorry, but it is just the way it is. We are all just consumers despite the massive emotional investment.
Getting excited about the transfer window and potential big signings has become just as important as the games being played. The media create some of it, but we supporters are equally guilty, or maybe like the media the less facts we have the more fiction we throw into the pot. So just five days left to determine our squad for the next few months.
I personally believe the window also provides an interesting insight into how well clubs manage themselves and how attractive the club is to the player pool. So far hard to tell. We are clearly not at the top table, but so far we have neither performed better or worse than many other clubs. I believe Deulofeu is a good signing, and despite Cleverley being castigated by some he has done well and is a more than worthy addition to the team. What I don't like is players sat in the stands wearing scarves awaiting work permits. The club look pretty stupid if the permit is not granted. Let's hope it is just a matter of process and not if they will be granted?
So what will happen next? It has all gone very quiet. Some of the high profile speculation of the last ten days has come to nothing and unless I am missing something no new names added. This could be because intense private negotiations are taking place or the Stones scenario is still being played out and this is determining what happens next.
I know the club have said not for sale at any price and I know many supporters have applauded this communication, but realistically the club has to make that statement to keep potential buyers in no doubt it will take serious money to buy him. If Stones stays I will be very happy, but only if he is able to put this transfer window behind him and stay totally committed to Everton for the time he stays with us. He has continued to play which is a credit to both him and Martinez, but realistically the chance of Stones earning a testimonial are probably nil. He will move on to bigger things sooner or later.
I think it is a shame a transfer request was submitted because in reality it means little. He gives up his right to being paid off the rest of his contract, but this is usually a consideration that the buying club picks up.
Sadly it means he is a bad guy in the eyes of some and subject to some abuse at the Barnsley game and fan blogs. We should not forget that he is a young man, a human being, be it a rich one by most peoples standards, but still driven by human ambition and determination to earn what he believes he is worth. I am not forgetting his agent who must really be worried that his percentage is not looking a safe bet as it currently stands.
I like Stones he is a true talent and that does not come along too often, but surely showing support that he is still pulling on the shirt is a better way of keeping his mind in the right place. What is apparently on the table from other clubs would tempt us all so let's not throw stones in glass houses. I think the best that comes out of this is an improved contract and an understanding that the club will allow him to leave at some point in the future subject to a potential buy out clause. He may indeed be the big signing for this window.
There is I believe a high degree of uncertainty which may be driving what happens next. I still believe there is a big deal to come, but in what position may not yet even be decided. I am pretty sure we will have our targets, but getting them never seems easy.
I will end with one observation that I would challenge the club on. If I was Roberto and going into the window with a view that none of my squad will be sold I would simply look to get all my business done quickly. I know that the window being open can unsettle players potentially being targeted, but it also unsettles players in the team who may with incoming transfers become squad players. I would be surprised if Roberto's wish list did not include a centre back, play maker, and back up striker, but we have still not landed them and the South American pair are not yet confirmed and possibly a little for the future.
If we lose a player for good money then you reinvest in a replacement, but best case scenario is you quietly go about business and start the season with your first eleven. I appreciate fine tuning may be last minute loan deals that add value to the squad, but surely your marquee signings must be well in place by now? The why not is perhaps a further debate for another day, but like most supporters I hope we do end the window, stronger, more robust, and more talented.
I would also like more competition for Howard. Robles just looks despite his ability incredibly nervous and a liability if Howard is injured. On Wednesday he sadly gave Barnsley confidence that they could score whenever in position, which was actually true. Against better teams I would be worried. Roberto I am sure you must also be worried?