Everton manager David Moyes has urged the club to sort out their summer transfer business early once the season is over, in order to avoid a repeat of the tortuous pre-season of last year that left the Toffees scrambling on transfer deadline day.
As of deadline day a year ago Everton had yet to bring in any new faces. As the window came close to closing Moyes brought in Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi on loan, letting Yakubu, Jermaine Beckford and Mikel Arteta leave, with the Spaniard’s transfer to Arsenal not going through until the dying hours. Moyes, quoted by the
Everton’s early season results were distinctly disappointing. After 10 games of the season Everton were 16th with 10 points, having won three and drawn one of their opening fixtures. That streak included a home loss to Queens Park Rangers in Everton’s first match of the season, a poor start to the year that only exacerbated the frustrations around the club’s inactive summer. Once the window shut Everton had been shorn of almost all the creativity in the side – Arteta’s sale compounding a problem that had begun when Steven Pienaar joined Tottenham Hotspur in January 2011.
Moyes eventually remedied that fault to a point. Drenthe is an electric player but devastatingly unreliable, both on the field and, after the winger was advised to stay away from Goodison Park for the rest of his loan spell for disciplinary reasons, off it. But the livewire Dutchman was at times the only burst of inspiration Everton could call on, a role Drenthe was never as suited to as he himself appeared to believe. Everton stuttered to New Year in 10th, the definition of mediocre, in dire need of a centre-forward.
January gave Everton the chance to fill the gaps in their squad. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov moved on after a disappointing spell and the money received for the Russian was largely spent on Nikica Jelavic, who, with eight goals in 12 games, has been an unqualified success since arriving from Rangers. A penalty box poacher with enough physicality to hold up possession, Jelavic has proven worth every penny of his £5.5m fee. Darron Gibson also joined from Manchester United and while the midfielder has had a decent start to his career, there is room for improvement, particularly eradicating the tendency to pass the ball first time without being aware of his surroundings.
Two loan returns, Pienaar and Landon Donovan, also rejuvenated Everton in January. Pienaar could yet return permanently, and the dynamic South African winger is likely to top Moyes’ summer wanted list. Wrapping up that signature before the season starts and perhaps some striking assistance for Jelavic would represent a good summer for Everton, potentially setting up a much better start to the season in the process.