Monday evening saw the shutting of the English transfer window and, unusually, Everton were hardly involved.
The Toffees historically love a deadline day scramble but were never truly in the shake up this time around.
This didn’t quite lead to mass panic from Blues throughout the world of social media, but there were some questions asked as to why Roberto Martinez didn’t further strengthen his squad.
Unsuccessful negotiations were had with Manchester United regarding the future of Tom Cleverley. Martinez had worked with the England international at Wigan Athletic a few seasons back and is clearly an admirer.
It wasn’t to be. The Red Devils weren’t believed to be keen on a loan deal with one of their rivals for European football and Everton were unwilling to match the club’s asking price. In the end, the 25 year old joined Aston Villa on loan after an extension was accepted by the Premier League to force the transfer through.
Much to the bemusement of many blues, Everton did wrap up one deal on deadline day, the season long loan signing of long time target David Henen. The young Belgian signed for Olympiacos earlier on in the day, only for the Blues to agree a loan deal late on Monday evening.
The loan acquisition was made all the more bizarre given Martinez’s admission that Henen will link up with the development squad rather than the first team.
However, an anticlimactic deadline day should not take away from what has been a largely productive transfer window for the blue half of Merseyside.
Going into the summer, the name on everyone’s lips at Goodison Park was that of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international was a huge hit at the club during last season’s loan spell and many saw the permanent signing of the Chelsea man as this summer’s top priority.
Despite various reports in the media linking the 21-year old away from Merseyside, the club did brilliantly to smash their previous transfer record with a staggering £28m bid that saw Lukaku become a permanent Everton player.
A huge sum, no doubt. But in today’s market, a proven Premier League goal scorer with over a decade of top level football ahead of him, you’d do well to snap him up for much less.
Earlier on in the summer, Everton confirmed the signature of Muhamed Besic, a £4m signing from Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros. Despite his calamitous error during the freak 6-3 defeat at the hands of Chelsea last weekend, Besic provides needed cover in midfield, especially given the injury concerns of Darron Gibson and Ross Barkley.
Christian Atsu was loaned from Chelsea and Brendan Galloway, a young defender with a bright future, was signed from MK Dons.
With the transfer deadline fast approaching, it was clear to see that Everton were still light up front. The only real competition for Lukaku was the in form Steven Naismith. Arouna Kone still has a part to play at the club but will no doubt take a while to recover from a long term injury.
Martinez saw this and addressed it in the best way possible, by signing a three time Champions League winner in the shape of Samuel Eto’o.
The Cameroon legend was a free agent after being released by Chelsea at the end of this season and, despite being the wrong side of 30, if he is in the sort of shape that he claims to be then he could prove to be an inspired acquisition.
The former Barcelona hit man marked his Everton debut with a goal against Chelsea last Saturday and showed enough clever touches in his brief cameo to suggest that he has no intention of being a bit part player at L4.
That very 6-3 humbling has led to some serious questions being asked of a leaky defence. Everton have now conceded ten goals from their opening three league games and must address this startling situation if they are to stand any chance of improving on last season’s record breaking points tally of 72 points.
Not to be forced into panic buying, Martinez decided against strengthening his defensive unit in the market on Monday, despite various rumours flying around.
A wise move? Time will tell. He clearly has faith in a defence that kept 15 clean sheets last season with only Manchester City and Chelsea conceding fewer goals over the course of the campaign.
Such numbers suggest that the alarming start to the season, at least from a defensive viewpoint, is just a blip and possibly down to rustiness. Even so, don’t be surprised to see either Phil Jagielka or Sylvain Distin dropped for the trip to West Brom.
To summarise, a productive window with the priority capture of Lukaku sealed early doors. Question marks remain over the defence but there are options available to Martinez from within the squad should he decide to change things up.
The current mood of uncertainty will soon be lifted with three points at the Hawthorns on 13th September, a genuine must win game so early in the season.