This week’s addition of Swansea star Gylfi Sigurdsson for $73 million has pushed the Blues past the $210 million in player signings over the past few months.
Added to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford ($50 million), defender Michael Keane ($50 million), attacking midfielder Davy Klassen ($32 million) and striker Sandro Ramierez ($8 million) – with Wayne Rooney valued at $16m – Everton have been on a spending spree like never before. They even bought Nigerian prospect Henry Onyekuru ($11 million) and promptly loaned him to Anderlecht.
Of the Premiership clubs, only Manchester City – who they face on Monday night – has spent more. It is an extraordinary turn of events for a club that once spent their transfer windows trawling (with some success, it should be said) for bargains and off-cuts.
Considering Yannick Bolassie was picked up for $40 million and Morgan Schneiderlin for $39 million, plus $19 million for Ashley Williams and $18 million for Ademola Lookman, Everton’s spending in the past 12 months is close to $320 million.
It should be noted that period has seen them lose one of the world’s best strikers, Romelu Lukaku, and arguably one of the world’s best young defenders, John Stones, with 23-year old homegrown marvel Ross Barkley also on his way out.
But has manager Ronald Koeman invested that money wisely? Is it really enough to transform Everton into a genuine title contender? And can it even get them into the Champions League placings?
They above-mentioned purchases are all of a certain quality, ensuring Everton should finish in the top half of the table, and pushing hard for Europe.
However, I wonder just how many would forge their way into the starting side at Manchester United, Manchester City or Tottenham?
You could mount a case for Keane, perhaps the best centre-half in the Premier League last season, and who already looks a significant upgrade on any of Everton’s other defensive options.
He’ll likely form a partnership with Stones in England’s defence for the next two World Cups. And some of the bigger clubs could come in with a thumping offer in the coming years.
Pickford, too, looks a class act. Everton paid an unbelievable figure for his services but his save to deny Xherdan Shaqiri at the death last Saturday was extraordinary and won any doubters over immediately. He may be Everton (and England’s) keeper for the next decade – potentially making the deal a good one.
However, one has to wonder if the Toffees also overspent on Bolassie, Williams, Klaassen and, most recently, Sigurdsson. It's too early to judge on Lookman and Onyekuru.
Bolassie – currently recovering from a knee injury – is quick but inconsistent, and not a prodigiously skilled player. Hakan Çalhanoğlu went for a lesser fee from Bayer Leverkusen to AC Milan and is an incomparably better player.
Williams was an emergency purchase to cover Stones’ late departure last season but at 32, age is already catching up with him. He’s a physical presence but doesn’t have the athleticism or technical ability to bring the ball out of the back.
Technical ability is no problem for Klaassen, educated in the Dutch school of Ajax. But his adjustment period at Goodison Park may take a while. Firstly, the arrival of Sigurdsson and Rooney means he’s already facing stiff competition for his position.
But whether Klaassen can adjust to the pace, speed, physicality and tempo of the Premiership is another question. Even Koeman acknowledges this.
His performances in the pre-season and UEFA Cup qualifiers were average and his league debut against Stoke underwhelming, leading to some early media criticism. It is ridiculous to judge so early but that is the reality of life at the top.
Finally to Sigurdsson. If he was 21, the $73 million fee might be justified. But at almost 28, one has to wonder if Everton could have spent the money differently. Wouldn’t Everton have been better off keeping Barkley, almost five years Sigurdsson’s junior?
Don’t me wrong – it’s thrilling for Evertonians to see their club spending big at last. Only time will tell, but there is a nagging feeling they paid top dollar for talent that may not fit the eye-popping price tags.
There’s no doubting the buoyancy about Everton at the moment and it is certainly justified. Whether there’s enough star power to challenge the big boys, however, is another question altogether.