A challenging summer transfer window came to an end at the start of this month and, overall, we are pleased with the quality of the players we were able to add to our Men’s Senior Team.
The strict financial parameters we had to work around meant we needed to be considered, diligent and patient in our trading, making acquisitions that included the free transfer and loan market, while also selling players if we felt it made good business sense to do so.
Crucially, we are confident we head into this weekend's match and the season ahead with a better-balanced squad than the one we had last term.
From the end of the 2022/23 campaign, our priority was strengthening our attack in terms of goals and assists, and it was evident that was a clear focus for the summer window. Adding Arnaut Danjuma, Jack Harrison, Ashley Young – who plays in a deeper role but can operate higher up the pitch – Youssef Chermiti and Beto undoubtedly gives us more forward options and greater attacking depth.
Our view, along with Sean’s, was that if we could keep the same solid defensive base we had last season, retain our midfielders and then improve in the wide areas and striking options, we should be far better equipped for the campaign. I think we’ve achieved that.
Ideally, we would have got all our transfer deals done before the start of the season but the reality is, to do that, you often have to pay the maximum price for a player and that is not a position we were able to operate in. It meant we had to wait until late in the window to negotiate hard and be creative to enable us to succeed in the deals we wanted to make.
I’ve also been asked why we didn’t bring anyone in on the final day of the transfer window, despite the sales of Alex Iwobi and Tom Cannon.
Both sales were good deals for the Club financially. In terms of potential incomings, the key consideration was the players available on the final day of the window. The reality is that, at that stage in the window, players of the quality to improve us come with a premium price. Sean, the Board and I have a responsibility to keep building a squad that’s right for Everton, both in a football sense and financially, and we didn’t want to jeopardise that.
That included not fully utilising the maximum number of loan deals we could have made. Sean spoke last week about having a squad that has enough depth but also one where everyone in it can contribute and play their part. We were reluctant to bring in players we didn’t feel were better than what we already had, and who were probably unlikely to get a lot of playing time.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, and we did not sign all of our targets but, overall, it was a solid window working under challenging financial constraints, with the transfer fees raised from player sales also putting the Club in a healthier position going forward.
We were really pleased to have brought in Ashley. He can play in multiple positions, is an outstanding professional, is another leader to have in the squad and it was important to us to bring in a player who could help us both on and off the field.
It’s well-known Arnaut was a long-term target and we can all see why we wanted him for so long. He’s got the ability to play on both wings and off the front striker. He’s dynamic in one-v-one situations and it’s clear he will have the ability to provide goals and assists based on what we have seen so far - and he’s still getting sharper.
Jack is proven in the Premier League and is a very good fit for Everton in terms of how he sees the game both in and out of possession and is another player with a good goals and assists record. We haven’t seen what he will offer us yet but I have no doubt we soon will when he’s fit and available.
For me, Danjuma and Harrison were two of the best loan deals in the market. We felt we had to win those races to get them and, in doing so, we have brought in two outstanding players.
And then there are the two strikers we signed. We wanted to find one for the here and now and one for the future and we feel we have got that in Beto and Youssef Chermiti.
Youssef is not the finished article yet - and we shouldn’t expect that of a 19-year-old - but we believe he can help us right now. More importantly, he has all the attributes to develop into an Everton number nine.
Beto is a player we had watched for a long time. We felt he was completely the right character for us: a hard-working player with the attitude that perfectly fits Everton’s culture and values, who is proud to be here and understands the size of the Club. The first impressions of what he can give us have been hugely encouraging.
If you add those players to the likes of Dominic and Dwight, we believe that is a very strong attacking group that can help us progress.
We are now looking forward to Sean and his coaching staff helping get the best out of all our players and everyone working together to improve on the pitch.
There is no doubt our performances so far this season have deserved more in terms of points, but we are confident the quality brought in can help make a difference.
Let’s hope we can start that this weekend in front of our passionate fanbase.
Enjoy the match.