Is James Rodriguez the right player to improve Everton?

Everton have started moving in the transfer circles after a disappointing last season and a slightly underwhelming one even once Italian legend Carlo Ancelotti stepped into the dug out.

And now Everton under Ancelotti are set to sign their first let’s say dazzling player in James Rodriguez. He who seduced Real Madrid into once paying over 60m euros for his services. Such was the excitement around the player that 45,000 Madrid fans turned up just to his induction. Though Rodriguez had a decent first two seasons with Los Blancos his influence soon tallied off in the heated atmosphere of that famous midfield which at the time included Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric. Still James as he is fondly known won 9 trophies with the club including 2 Champions Leagues. And it was Ancelotti who brought him to Madrid.

He later played for Napoli also under Ancelotti and that is why Everton fans will be optimistic of the players arrival. It has been reported that Everton are closing in on the Colombian’s signature and it seems at least from the outside that this would be a major signing for the Merseysiders and to top it off James is only 29.

So Ancelotti and Rodriguez know each other very well and that is already a great start. The problem is that whilst Rodriguez has been brilliant at times for every club he has played for he hasn’t really shown that brilliance over the course of a season. Could that be a problem? Are Everton going to break their wage allowance for a player akin to a Ferrari that revs his engines up when he feels like it but plays in gear 1 on a Tuesday evening away to Southampton?

In all honesty history says Everton are going to get a player that performs brilliantly well for a third of the season. At the same time maybe that will just do the club fine at this present time. Rodriguez is going to show the fans some wonderful tricks and goals. Maybe a superb free kick here and there and his hooking up with the likes of Richarlison when everything clicks will make Everton look like a top 6 side. Whether they will finish there is another matter.

Everton are also in the hunt for Allan the Brazilian midfielder who currently plays for Napoli. Allan is set to have a medical this week and should join for around 25m euros. And finally the club are also in talks with Watford who were relegated last season for their midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.

If anything Everton are moving in the transfer market, and that will make their fans happy as they try to finish in the top half of the table next season.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

 

 

Napoli the losers in Allan deal

There’s an art form to knowing when to sell players. The selling club must navigate a fine line, to dance their finest tango, in a bid to make sure they produce a sizeable profit. Generally there are three roads for them to take.

The first road usually ends in the club striking prematurely, accepting a good offer rather than holding on for another season or two in the hope that player X develops even more and commands an even bigger figure. The second road tends to end with the club striking when the iron is hottest. This scenario is when player X is at the absolute pinnacle of their game, combined with them being relatively young and there is ample room to shift the player on in the future. Continue reading

Time is needed but Carlo Ancelotti has not started well for Everton

It was supposed to be a match made in heaven that Everton could get in the legendary Carlo Ancelotti as manager but when we look at how Everton have performed under Ancelotti’s guidance it is alarming.

Of course the Italian needs a proper transfer window and one whole proper season to be judged although in today’s game everything moves so quick. For example the way Everton finished the campaign was quite appalling and if the club were to continue that form into the next season people will start talking by Christmas- that’s just the nature of how football is now.

Predictably Ancelotti’s time at Everton started well enough and there were plenty of encouraging moments. In the clubs first 7 games that Ancelotti was in charge they only lost once and that was against the then champions Manchester City. However in their last six games of the league title everything really started falling apart where they won just 5 points from their last 18.

It felt at that time knowing they couldn’t reach the Europa League that the players simply gave up and were playing on the dreaded ‘holiday’ mode. This was disappointing given that the Italian was in charge and maybe these players would have seen to have had extra motivation, that wasn’t the case.

Everton need to offload players and the worry is that with such a small transfer window and everything being squeezed up that the club will not be able to either get rid of the players that need selling and buy the players they need- the new season begins on September 12th.

What has been worrying has been the returns since Ancelotti took charge. Of course he has only overseen 21 games but still his win rate sits at 38% that is the poorest in Ancelotti’s career. From 21 league games managed he has won 8, drawn 6 and lost 7 and has a -4 goal difference. The % win rate is the lowest of his career by a margin, he hasn’t even dipped into the 40% marker since he managed Parma back in the late 90s.

This record does not bode well for the club, however he needs more time. At the same time it doesn’t feel realistic that he is going to dramatically turn things around at the club anytime soon. This has if anything else been an interesting experiment though that shows even some of Europe’s best managers cannot get that extra out of a team who simply do not have an array of talent and do not have owners with a blank chequebook.

Ancelotti will be judged again by the end of the year and whose to say that if Everton are in the bottom half of the table that the Italian’s job could be cut short. After all surely the objective here was to improve Everton to be a top 6 side. We will wait and see how this one develops.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Jose Callejon – Serie A’s best signing of the last decade?

Recall the scene: Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne would receive the ball down on the left hand channel of the opponent’s half. Insigne would take several touches, cut inside and delicately float a beautifully weighted diagonal pass behind the opposition defence and into the stride of Jose Callejon on the right hand side, who’d timed his run impeccably.

Callejon would either take one of two options: he’d instantly kill the ball with his first touch and shoot at goal, or roll it across for Napoli’s central striker to tap it in. Throughout the Maurizio Sarri era, this scenario played out seemingly two or three times a game, with a goal usually the end result. Continue reading

The Premier League is back and Liverpool are aiming to win the title at rivals Everton

There has been a three month gap but finally the Premier League in England has been given the green light to restart once again after the Coronavirus.

The virus has dissipated enough for life to feel like it is resuming again and although there will be many differences and procedures in place to how we left football back in March, many up and down the country will be happy to see football back again.

That will be underlined if you are a fan of Liverpool. The Reds were easily set to win their first league title since 1990, as they are 25 points clear at the top with just ten games left to play but the virus put the club in a bizarre position. There were talks of voiding the league completely. To their credit Liverpool as a club and the fans have remained calm and optimistic that their league title would not be taken from them. Even if you don’t support the club if it had happened one could have seen how cruel it would have been on them after their efforts this season.

The league is scheduled to return on June 17th when Manchester City play Arsenal. If City were to lose the game then Liverpool’s match that weekend would be one of the most viewed in English sporting history. Not only could it be the match where Liverpool secure the league title but it is against their rivals Everton and at Goodison Park. Just imagine how that could turn out?

Liverpool have been far superior to their neighbours this season though under Carlo Ancelotti Everton have really improved. But would be a fantastic match as Everton would do everything they could to delay Liverpool’s title, no one associated with the club would want to see Liverpool winning the title at Goodison Park.

Of course for Liverpool what a day it would be to win it at their rivals. It is a story after 30 years that you simply couldn’t have made up. Of course one major factor is that there will be no fans- this is something we can expect will be the norm in football until the early part of 2021 it seems.

A Liverpool victory could feel muted- just what does one do? Will the fans swarm the streets even though they have been told not to? That is a hard one, and only time will tell us what will happen.

If Liverpool fail to win the league at Everton, their next game is at home to Crystal Palace, a side managed by Roy Hodgson who of course is an ex Liverpool manager. No matter what happens as it has turned out the virus has only delayed the inevitable, something that football fans have known at least since the turn of the year, and that is Liverpool are going to be crowned 2020 league champions.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

 

Moise Kean’s future with Everton in doubt after he breaks lockdown rules

Some Premier League players have been good at something during the lockdown due to Coronavirus and that has been flouting the rules. The latest player to do so is Everton’s Moise Kean. The striker hosted a party at his Cheshire apartment which is of course against strict rules.

Everton were left stunned and surprised that Kean would break the rules and host a party and they had the following to say in a statement:

”Everton Football Club was appalled to learn of an incident in which a first-team player ignored Government guidance and club policy in relation to the coronavirus crisis. The Club has strongly expressed its disappointment to the player and made it clear that such actions are completely unacceptable. Everton has regularly stressed the importance of following all the Government guidelines including rules and advice for inside and outside of the home through a series of official communications to all staff members, including players. The amazing people in the NHS deserve the utmost respect for their hard work and sacrifice. The best way to show them respect is by doing everything we can to protect them.”

Those are strong words by the club and reports have suggested that Kean could be fined 2 weeks wages, around £106,000 depending who you believe. The club will hope that Kean will learn quickly and will understand that he is completely in the wrong.

Of course when such matters are raised to the surface it is easy to reflect on what the player has done on the pitch- which isn’t much. The £25m move from Juventus last summer was supposed  to reignite Everton and on the surface Kean’s transfer looked like a good one. He had forced his way into the Juventus team and scored a few goals with limited time.

Everton came in for Kean, in what appeared to be a solid buy for the club but the fact that no other major European team wanted his services and challenged Everton for his signature should have raised alarm bells. This season Kean has struggled and has scored just 1 goal from 26 games.

But perhaps the main worry isn’t his lack of goals but his overall body language. When his team doesn’t have the ball he looks dejected, he doesn’t track back and simply doesn’t look very interested at all. For a player who is earning £53,000 a week this is a shocking situation.

In light of Kean breaking the lockdown rules, one could presume that Everton would be better off trying to offload the player. The problem is that they will almost certainly lose their investment and could take a 50% hit. Or possibly the best is yet to come from Kean and current manager Carlo Ancelotti will try to get the best out of the player.

As it stands Kean needs to realise how lucky he is. There will be hundreds of young kids in the local Everton area that could only dream of playing for the club, that may just lack some skills or just be unlucky. But are equipped with more passion and understanding of the club and football. Kean simply needs to wake up and realise playing for Everton in the Premier League is a huge opportunity that should not just be thrown away.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

Gabriel signing could determine how far Everton have come

Everton have emerged as the front runners to sign Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The player is currently with Lille and has impressed the Premier League side who are willing to spend £30m to get his services for next season.

If Everton get the player simply known as Gabriel it would be seen as a major swoop, and they certainly look the favourites to secure his services at this time. One of the reasons that the transfer would be impressive is because both Arsenal and Chelsea have shown an interest. Not only are both clubs equipped with larger budgets, but because of recent successes they would also have more pulling power.

One has to remember that Everton have not won a major trophy since 1995 when they won the FA Cup. Some could see Chelsea and Arsenal in transition at this moment but both clubs are still powerful and can attract the very best players in Europe. The question is could Gabriel’s head be turned? Could Chelsea for example offer more wages, or a bigger transfer fee to Lille?

The good news for Everton is that they have Carlo Ancelotti as manager and no one can deny that he is amongst the very best managers in Europe his CV speaks for itself and that could mean everything in Everton persuading Gabriel to join and be coached by one of the greats.

However is £30m too much of a risk on Gabriel? The defender has only played 34 games for Lille since his move there in 2017, and one of those reasons is that he has been loaned out to Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. Why would you loan out a player, if he is worth £30m to you?

Of course it could simply be that Gabriel has needed time to grow and adapt as a player and at 22 he is still young and learning. He hasn’t made the Brazilian national team yet but has played for the under 20 side. Also Gabriel would be able to link up with Richarlison, Everton’s Brazilian forward who has improved his game since joining Everton from Watford, that could also be a major plus.

The transfer though isn’t assured, as both Arsenal and Chelsea also have another trick up their sleeves, which is the pulling power of life in London and all that comes with it.

It will be interesting then to see if the Ancelotti effect has taken on some importance, as he looks like the only major ‘player’ in proceedings that could swing this deal Everton’s way.

If they do get their man, well done, but presently Gabriel seems a little unproven for the money being talked about.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

 

 

Premier League: Player of the Week: Richarlison

It was an odd week of Premier League football given that there were just 3 games. Originally the total was 4 but Manchester City and West Ham had to be postponed because of bad storms.

Most players did not play then, and most did not perform, there were only a couple of players that stood out in fact and one of those was Everton’s Richarlison.

The Brazilian has been a little hot and cold this season but it was truly significant, one suspects, that he scored last weekend as Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Goodison Park.

It was a goal that Richarlison needed and it is one that has also calmed down perhaps the stormy waters from last month. It was reported in January that Barcelona had shown interest to sign Richarlison for 100m euros and Everton had quickly rejected. What transpired was very important when manager Carlo Ancelotti said that the Brazilian is a big part of Everton’s future and to important to be sold. Everton had just turned down Barcelona, but their advancements could still have turned Richarlison’s head, not so. The Brazilian has been very committed to the club since then and has played some very good football, Though fans would have wanted a few more goals from him, well scoring against Palace went some way to rectifying that.

So far this season Richarlison has earned 38 points he is by far then in terms of fantasy rankings the most successful player at Everton this season and is 18 points ahead of Lucas Digne.

However as strikers go in the Premier League he is a little behind in 12th place, for example Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who is currently in 1st position has almost double the points of him.

From Richarlison’s 24 starts he has scored 9 goals and assisted in a further 3 meaning that he has contributed 12 goals to Everton’s season so far. The club have scored 34 goals so far and so Richarlison has been involved in 35% of the teams goals- so on reflection no wonder Ancelotti was so reluctant to see his player, plus Barcelona had come in very late on and Everton would not have had the time to replace anyway.

Richarlison can be brought into your team for 7.5m which seems like a great price and he has been overall a good success at Everton. Fans still believe he could score 5-10 more goals a season and that would certainly boost his standing. For now though he is certainly one of the more eye catching strikers in the Premier League.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

 

 

 

In December the talk at Everton was of survival now it is about European football

At the beginning of December it was very gloomy around Goodison Park in the midst of Marco Silva being sacked and Everton flirting with relegation. The prospect of the club being relegated for the first time in almost 70 years looked very real indeed. But the board acted and have done extremely well and now Everton have one of the best managers in world football.

The change was made by sacking Silva and whilst no one truly wishes the sack on any manager Silva’s time at Everton had been very average indeed. One could say he had 3 good months from 16, and true the club finished last season well enough but there were plenty of cracks in the club and it was amazing in the end that Silva lasted 4 months of the new season.

Naturally Duncan Ferguson stepped in as caretaker manager and whilst Ancelotti is now getting the plaudits, the roots of Everton’s upturn this season are from Ferguson. An ex-Everton player who garners respect from the players, the fans love him and Ferguson became an instant hit with them. The images of him celebrating with the ball boys when Everton scored against Chelsea and then beat them will live in the memory banks for Everton fans for some time.

Once Everton appointed Ancelotti so soon after, one could be forgiven for thinking that Everton were doing just fine with Ferguson, but the Scotsman even admitted that he wasn’t the one for the job long term and that the club had to bring in a world class manager and they did just that.

The first thing Ancelotti got right was to keep Ferguson on as his assistant- the Italian realised off the bat that Ferguson is adored at the club and is rightly a club legend, and that has really helped with Ancelotti’s smooth trajectory into the club. Plus being under Ancelotti will surely make Ferguson a better coach and he could well be managing the club he loves so dearly sometime in the future.

But Everton look a completely different side under Ancelotti. They are winning games again and have climbed 10 places to 7th now. The football isn’t always pretty and Ancelotti will have to let some players go and bring in some quality in the summer but the team are heading in the right direction. There has only been one low point and that was losing to Liverpool’s youngsters in the FA Cup.

At the weekend Everton sailed past Crystal Palace winning 3-1 and the club now have 36 points and are five clear of Arsenal who is their next opponent in a few weeks time.

Can Everton finish in a European position, that is the question now being asked. And for some they don’t mean the Europa League. Everton should be kicking themselves now for allowing Newcastle to come back to 2-2 after they were leading 2-0 the other week deep into injury time. Had that been a win Everton would be on 39 points and just two points shy of 4th place Chelsea.

There is an uphill task to get the Champions League of course with the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and Sheffield United trying to push Chelsea out of the way. Inevitably it will be the team who gets the most consistent in the next few months who will get 4th place and by no means will it be Chelsea if they continue their inconsistent form.

But if Everton do reach the Europa League, what a turnaround of a season it would have been for the club, and it just goes to show how important it is getting the right manager in.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Watford 2-3 Everton

To tell you the truth there has always been a bit of animosity between Watford and Everton. You could go all the way back to the 1984 FA Cup final when Everton beat Watford 2-0. As the final whistle went the Everton fans started singing ”I guess that’s why they call us the Blues”. This was in reference to Elton John who was part of the board of Watford- he is a long time fan, and his hit song- talk about a sucker punch.

Most recently the teams have clashed off the pitch twice. Firstly when Everton did everything in their power to secure the services of Marco Silva, the then Watford manager (look at how that turned out). Then once Silva had jumped ship he put in a bid for Watford striker Richarlison, and for £40m that was accepted, to say the fans were livid of Everton by now would be an understatement.

Led by club captain Troy Deeney there has been a determination and maybe a little menace behind the clubs action to go and beat Everton, and they have been successful in the last few seasons at doing that. This past weekend looked to be no different, as they cruised into a 2-0 lead, but there would be a sting in the tail for the Hornets.

Not only could this match be considered the game of the weekend in the Premier League, it was also the comeback of the weekend, although Brighton did very well at West Ham coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.

Of all players nobody was expecting Watford defender Adam Masina to open the scoring, but then again this match would turn into a game of defenders. It was Masina’s first goal for the club in his 2 seasons at Vicarage Road. At 1-0 Watford were in control and then there was a crazy 5 minutes where the game swung from huge Watford advantage to no advantage at all.

When Robert Pereyra struck for the home side with three minutes to go of the first half to make it 2-0 the game looked finished. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was most upset. Pereyra had just scored his 3rd goal of the season and maybe his most important thus far.

But as Jimmy Greaves once said football is a funny old game and that sentence came to haunt Watford in the name of Yerry Mina, Everton’s defender who had only scored 1 goal for the club previously. Mina struck from a corner in the injury time of the first half, and literally seconds after scoring, he repeated his goal again! All of a sudden the teams went in at half time and the score was 2-2. Everton were jubilant and back in the game, Watford’s players walked off the pitch as if they were losing 3-0.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2nd half whilst the clubs had shared possession the home side had no further shots on goal. When Everton’s Fabian Delph was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go, it felt like the match was going to end in a draw. Certainly playing against ten men did not encourage the Hornets.

But there would be one final cruel twist for Watford, when in the 90th minute Theo Walcott struck the ball home and past the goalkeeper to give Everton all three points. The players were ecstatic as Watford’s ones fell to the ground.

Watford have been very good in the past two months yanking themselves out of bottom place. But they have slumped a little in their last three games and manager Nigel Pearson will have to make it crystal clear to the team that they can’t feel sorry for themselves, they are still very much in the relegation battle.

As for Everton the win moved them past Arsenal and into 9th. What a turnaround it has been for the club since Carlo Ancelotti arrived, from flirting with relegation to possibly finishing in the top half of the table, and what a game of football that was, well, unless you were a Watford fan.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.