Bobby's Business

By Alasdair Mackay 14/06/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
With all this talk of a Director of Football role, I started thinking why the club has shifted it's focus towards the implementation of a system that has brought many a manager to distance themselves from positions at major football clubs and which has wreaked havoc at places like Newcastle.

At Everton we were incredibly lucky to have a manager in David Moyes who was brilliant at dealing with transfers. I was not the biggest fan of his tactics or, in the event, his ethics, but the man could sign a player. Amongst others he unearthed Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Lescott, Cahill, Arteta and Pienaar from relative obscurity. There were pretty big misses too, but in the main he proved to be more astute than most in terms of the transfer market.

So just how badly has Bobby messed things up? Well, let's have a look.

Year One

Martinez's first summer actually displayed a reticence that was largely ignored – he signed 4 players that he knew from his old club; paying £4.5m for Joel Robles and £5m for Arouna Kone, while picking up Antolin Alcaraz for nothing and splashing most of his budget on James McCarthy. His other major inward moves were loans, with Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barry all arriving on season-long deals. We'll talk more about these guys later on because they all earned permanent moves to the club.

Alcaraz was an unmitigated disaster, but cost nothing. Kone was blighted by injury, but has been something of an unflattering workhorse, who is perhaps unfairly treated because he is our clear second choice forward and doesn't score or play enough. In terms of value for money, I feel in this day an age it is okay. So let's say on those two deals Bobby wiped his face. Joel has had a pretty good period in the second half of his third season at the club, but no-one (aside from maybe the man himself) sees him as the long term solution and £4.5m is a decent wedge for a back-up goalie. McCarthy would probably sell for at least what we paid, but he has been patchy at best, doesn't score enough goals and his best attribute remains his work-rate. This isn't something you say often about players in teams competing for the top prizes. So I am putting those two down as bad business.

In Year One Bobby also sold Fellaini (although he had little control over the situation) and Victor Anichebe. We got £5m for Anichebe. 3 years later, the lad is a free agent, having been mainly a bit-part player under a few different managers at West Brom. I think this was good business.

In January Bobby paid £1m quid for Stanek, the goalie and £1.5m for Aiden McGeady. He also loaned a player from Monaco, who scored one goal and then fell down. I don't think any of these transfers can be deemed good business. Stanek is about the brightest prospect of the lot and he is still a long way from first team duties.

He did sell another striker, though, getting £6.5m for Jelavic from Hull. This was another example of good business, but it all seemed to be happening on the selling side, which can't really be credited wholly to the first team manager. Up to this point, none of the permanent incoming transfers had paid off.

Year Two

With the prospect of European football and a record points total behind him, Bobby's stock was high. Rumours of Barcelona were met on ToffeeWeb with fear and trepidation. Where would find another Bobby? But in the transfer market, the clues were already beginning to show that our new leader was not all he was cracked up to be.

£1m was paid to secure Gareth Barry from Man City, when to the rest of the world it seemed strange – he was at the end of his contract after all!? In terms of his continued professionalism and performances on the pitch in the last two seasons, Barry has gone beyond our expectations, but I am still not sure we can class it as good business by Martinez.

One of our other loanees was brought in permanently, when £28m was shelled out for Lukaku. Eyebrows were raised at the time, but the fee always made sense to me, given his age and international status – we were always going to make a profit on the player. He has scored goals and, those that question his attitude off the pitch are, in my opinion, targeting a guy for having ambitions above his station. I don't see any problem in that, particularly when it is going to net us a tidy profit of anything upwards of £35m. Good one, Bob!

He also brought in Brendan Galloway this summer for a shade under half a million - more good business. This is a player that looks like he could play a big part at Everton, particularly now he has a manager who was unquestionably one of the greatest centre-halves of his generation to learn from. 2-0 to Bob!

Then there is Besic. On his day Mo can be brilliant, but he is injury prone and he struggles to get himself going at times. He is a squad player who doesn't have the versatility described to the faithful, but does offer the attitude and rambunctious nature that we all like to think we would display if we were fit enough to run around in blue at Goodison ourselves. £4.5m – let's call this one a draw.

The other major incomings that summer were a loanee in Christian Atsu and a marquee in Samuel Eto'o. Eto'o was perhaps the first player to see Matinez for what he was, but his status as a visionary should not undermine his lack of professionalism, considering the money he was earning. The less said about Atsu, the better.

The major outgoing was that of Shane Duffy, who we got £1.5m for. Not too bad, but his potential is still huge – even if he is now mid-20s. I'll sit on the fence with this one.

January offered one new face in the shape of loanee, Aaron Lennon. We'll talk about his permanent transfer later on.

Year Three

So, the general assumption was that European football had distracted the players In Year Two, so this would be the year when we would emerge, without such a distraction and finally become the team that Bobby had envisioned. We were right – sort of.

Distin and Alcaraz were shipped out and there wasn't a whole lot of shipping in. We didn't have Europe, so the squad size was sufficient and tweaks were needed, rather than major upheavals.

Everyone was anticipating the arrival of a player who had been excellent on loan and played mainly on the right wing. Yes – we already had Mirallas for this role, but we needed serious competition. Cue Lennon. Right? No? Deulofeu? Really? Okay. Brilliant. And Lennon. Okay. Great, but why?

Suddenly we were overstocked in one part of the pitch, which would be great if we weren't so desperately under-manned in other areas. Lennon cost £4.5m, which was pretty much what you would expect to pay for a player who had clearly all-but left his previous club, where he wasn't getting a look-in. He was also a winger in his late-20s, which means no real re-sale value. The fee was about right. Gerry cost us about the same, but it is layered with buy-back clauses that mean it could yet be a wipe-your-face sort of deal, rather than a good one.

In other business, £9.5m was paid to get Ramiro Funes Mori over to England. He has been good and scores goals, but at the moment he remains a question mark, perhaps a victim of bad coaching alongside a major cultural change, or perhaps genuinely playing to potential – in which case £9.5m seems like a lot, given his prone-ness to error. He reminds of Joe Yobo in this respect. Mason Holgate followed the route of John Stones from Barnsley, but has so far failed to emulate the latter. Time will tell with both of these defensive players.

The only other bit of business was the acquisition of Tom Cleverley, who cost us nothing and gives us great squad depth in a 2 or 3 positions. Truth be told, he isn't quick enough to be a winger or tough enough to be a defensive midfielder, nor does he score or create enough to be an attacking midfielder. That being said – he will do a job in all those areas, without going missing or underperforming. Cleverley is a decent squad player and a good signing for me. Pretty obvious, though. the whole world knew he was out of contract.

In January, Tarashaj and Foulds were brought in for £3m and £300k respectively. I don't know enough about either to judge them as signings, but their acquisitions came at a time when the positivity of the most ardent Martinez fan was starting to fade. The most telling bit of business of January 2016 was, perhaps, the deal agreed between Tim Howard and the Colorado Rapids.


Bobby's business has largely been unimpressive. His best signings, in my opinion have been Galloway, Barry and Deulofeu, when all factors are considered. Lukaku will prove to be good business, but the vast majority of his signings go under the category of a break even or a loss in terms of value. More significant than that is the consequent inbalance in the squad at the end of his tenure.

Koeman must pick up the pieces of a first-team with no depth at Right Back, no starter in Goal and nobody on the left of midfield. There is also major surgery required up front and huge question marks and debate about the personnel at Centre Half.

Hopefully the club will find the right person to work alongside Koeman in a Director of Football role. I only hope we haven't made a reactive decision based on the weaknesses of the last person we put in charge of player acquisition – the manager.

My suggestion: ask Moyes. What a great Director of Football he would be. And he's not doing anything else!

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