The internet is a cesspit. Social media brings out the worst in most groups in society, let alone football fans. Reasoned debate and insight are hard to achieve in 280 characters while anonymous accounts shout loudest and put off the sane-minded users. Every now and then, however, a comment makes you smile and remember why you use Twitter in the first place.
“Que Dios bendiga al Everton,” read the comment under an announcement that Everton had completed their trio of signings from Barcelona – Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and André Gomes (on loan). One Barcelona fan simply could not believe that Everton would pay that much money for three of their cast-offs who had arrived with promise but failed to deliver on it. God bless Everton indeed.
Over the transfer windows in the past two seasons, Everton have spent around £270m on new players, so spending so much on Barcelona rejects would not phase them. Huge sums of money in the Premier League is nothing new but there are few sides in the league who can lay claim to being as bad as Everton in the transfer market. If the money spent and the players signed perform well, no one mentions the price-tag. It is only mentioned when things go wrong that the cost of a failure is referenced.
Since the start of December, Everton have lost seven league games (and in the FA Cup to Championship side Millwall) and won just three. Their defeat at home to Wolves this weekend was unsurprising to anyone who had seen them play recently. Wolves scored from a set-piece when no one bothered to mark Raúl Jiménez, and again when Everton were unsure what to actually do with the ball when they had it, giving it away easily on the half-way line.
Later, Jermaine Jenas commented on Match of the Day that he “doesn’t know what Everton are anymore”. Clearly, neither do Everton themselves. The team can’t attack, defend or keep the ball. Regularly finishing as one of the ‘best of the rest’, Everton are in an identity crisis.
The last three managers have all brought their differing approaches to the club. Ronald Koeman brought discipline and a structure to the team, Sam Allardyce tried to make the fans feel that avoiding relegation was somehow a fine success, while incumbent Marco Silva has provided precious little so far beyond a constantly changing line-up and a glum face on the bench.
The club is on a road to nowhere. Steve Walsh was hired as director of football from Leicester to try and find the next Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kanté yet was fired before this summer’s transfer dealings took place. The legacy of his failed signings lives on and permeates throughout the club.
No one knows what Everton are anymore. Consistently being the best of the rest, they tried to take the next step and move up but in doing so have left behind everything that gave them the platform to reach such heights.