There was a point during deadline day, at about 10pm local time, that things were looking pretty bleak for Everton Football Club. The Toffees were understandably lambasted by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, with a £12million bid for James McCarthy – in which payments were staggered over four years – laughed off. Whelan subsequently claimed that a deal between the two clubs looked extremely unlikely to happen.
Romelu Lukaku, who emerged as a surprise target, also looked to have slipped through the net, as rumors surfaced that the Belgian was pushing for a move to West Brom instead of Everton. And just to compound matters further, Marouane Fellaini was edging ever closer to a Manchester United move and the sale of Victor Anichebe to West Brom looked all but wrapped up. It was looking like two out, none in for the Toffees.
Deadline day despair is an all too familiar feeling for Everton supporters. As events developed on the final day of the window, thoughts immediately turned to this time two years ago, when Everton lost Mikel Arteta, Jermaine Beckford and Ayigbeni Yakubu in the last minutes of the window. The club failed to bring in any permanent replacements. Unrest gripped Goodison Park and Everton had a very poor start to the campaign. But it couldn’t happen again, could it?
From an Everton point of view, thankfully not. In the end, the club did usher out Fellaini and Anichebe for a combined sum of circa £33million, a figure which represents some excellent business for the Merseyside club.
Roberto Martinez and Bill Kenwright also brought in some exciting players to compensate for their departures. McCarthy eventually ended up joining on a £13million deal and he is a player many expect to be a catalyst for Martinez’s stylistic shift.
And the signings didn’t stop there, as the Toffees managed to pip West Brom to the signature of Chelsea forward Lukaku on a season-long loan. Lukaku is a player many have already tipped to solve Everton’s striking woes, and his ratio of a goal every 122 minutes for West Brom last season suggests he may well do.
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry also joined Everton for the remainder of the season. He could turn out to be a very shrewd acquisition, with the England international midfielder a player who the majority of City supporters seem sad to let go. Everton will gain a strong, composed and experienced player with a great sense for sniffing out danger. He should be an excellent foil for young midfielders like Ross Barkley and the aforementioned McCarthy.
So all in all, in terms of transfers, it has been a pretty good summer for the Toffees. Let’s not forget, aside from the deadline day dealings, the club have already picked up Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Kone, Joel Robles and Antolin Alcaraz. But with the hyperbole of deadline day at the forefront of everyone’s thinking, Everton’s best piece of business has been somewhat overlooked.
This is, of course, that Leighton Baines remains an Everton player. It is no secret that Manchester United were pursuing the left-back fervently and according to reports, they made a late bid – their fifth offer of the window – of £15m for the England man. But so crucial is Baines to this Everton side, United were sent packing yet again.