It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in English football, but it’s official now that Jermaine Beckford has completed his free transfer to Everton. Leeds had cancelled his contract on Friday which is an unusual step. Regardless of the fact a player has agreed to join another club, clubs usually keep the registration until the very last day of the contract. Often this runs until June 30th but both parties seemed to agree to part the ways earlier than required.
Questions are liable to raised in regards to Beckford’s abilities, as he’s jumped 2 divisions after firing the goals that helped return Leeds United to the Championship. Yet taking a risk on such a player who has scored 85 goals in the last 3 seasons for Leeds is hardly risky. There’s no fee involved and the wages that Everton will be paying him will be more than he earned at Leeds but nowhere near the top end of Premiership players.
Beckford’s star has certainly been rising over the last few years, he struggled at Leeds after joing the club from Wealdstone in 2006, but he’s quickly become one of the most feared strikers in England outside of the Premiership. His goal at Old Trafford certainly gave him column inches world wide and made sure that people outside of the U.K. became aware of his potential. By joining Everton, he’s at a club that will give him the support and guidance he’ll need.
Moyes has been searching for more striking talent to back up his current crop of attacking options. No-one doubts the abilities of Louis Saha and Ayegbeni Yakubu but both are not getting younger. Saha has developed a reputation of being injury prone but has managed 68 appearances for Everton in the two years he’s been on Merseyside. Yakubu, for all his early promise at Portsmouth has found goals hard to come by since he joined up with the Toffees.
I’ve always thought troubled Everton for the last few years is the lack of depth in the striking department. They would usually have two first choice strikers, but then the back up would fall away. Victor Anichebe has struggled for goals when he’s had the opportunity of being giving a chance for Everton and James Vaughan seemingly suffers from a rotating knee injury that have blighted his early promise. Both have simply had some bad luck.
One thing Beckford will bring to the club is pace, he is lightening fast and he gives the striking options more weight. Moyes will be delighted to have captured him in face of some healthy competition and it increases the clubs options. As I mentioned earlier, people will point to his lack of Premiership experience, but sometimes you’ve got to take a risk on players. Some will relish the opportunities that will come their way and of course it will take time for Beckford to settle in to the top flight, but that’s only natural.
Everton will be hoping to avoid another slow start to the season which derailed an excellent campaign from being even better. Surely they’ll get the breaks they need next season and with one or two additional signings, they’ll be back up there again. No doubt, they’ll be also hoping to avoid a repeat of the Joleon Lescott transfer saga and strengthen a side that can consistently push into the Europa Cup qualifying places.
How do you think Beckford will do? Leave me your comments and you can find me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/paulbestall