1. Morgan Schneiderlin
Signed for £24 million, reported salary £100,000 p.w
Schneiderlin’s Everton career has been nearing an end for at least two years now but he has still managed to take in five managers in that time. A limp sending off in Lyon in the disastrous 2017/18 Europa League campaign, being booed coming on as a substitute in February 2018, and reports he walked out on training when asked to leave if he was not “prepared to take the session seriously” should have been enough to force a sale a long time ago.
Although the Frenchman’s time at Goodison actually started brightly, his attitude has been repeatedly questioned by fans and performances on the pitch have been unerringly lacklustre since that initial stint. His sizeable wages may have proved a sticking point for any potential buyers, but with 18 months left on his contract Everton have to swallow their losses with an eye on creating a unified atmosphere under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
2. Cenk Tosun
Signed for £27 million, reported salary £110,000 p.w
Farhad Moshiri bizarrely gave inevitably-departing manager Sam Allardyce and director of football Steve Walsh a £50 million transfer kitty in January 2018. The majority was wasted on Tosun. The signing wasn’t entirely without logic - Tosun suited Allardyce’s style of play and had performed well in Europe for Besiktas. He even scored five times in his first half-season on Merseyside, earning a decent rapport with fans in the process.
It was never a wise move in the long-term, however, particularly for such an eye-watering fee. Tosun never gelled in Marco Silva’s system and has found the net just five times in the last 21 months.
Slow, technically poor and turning 29 this year, Tosun has no future at Goodison. Having a ‘Political Views’ section on Wikipedia is rarely a good thing too. Remarkably he will probably leave Everton before fellow hall-of-famers Sandro Ramirez and Oumar Niasse this January.
3. Gylfi Sigurdsson
Signed for £40 million, reported salary £100,000 p.w
Fans of neutral clubs may raise their eyebrow Ancelotti-style to see Sigurdsson surrounded by players of this calibre but few Evertonians will. Despite scoring an impressive 13 Premier League goals last season Sigurdsson has contributed almost nothing in this. Even more troubling than his dire creative numbers is his capacity to let games completely pass him by.
A team of Everton’s aspirations under Ancelotti cannot afford to grant Sigurdsson the license given to him at Swansea, and his current centrality to the team makes him more urgent to move on even before less technically adept alternatives. Now 30 and past his prime, his record-breaking signing in the same window as the arrivals of Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney never seemed wise.
4. Theo Walcott
Signed for £20 million, reported salary £100,000 p.w
Walsh’s staggering profligacy in 2017/18 was such that Walcott probably rates in the top half of the ten senior players signed that season, for a collective cost of around £185 million. That is saying very little. Like Tosun and Schneiderlin, Walcott showed flashes of form early on in his Everton career, but has been on a worrying decline ever since.
Zero goals and one Premier League assist this season speaks for itself, and Walcott - playing senior football at 16 and reliant on his incredible pace - was always likely to wane after reaching 30.
Everton will struggle to progress if Walcott remains a consistent first team fixture. Like many of his teammates, the winger is a cautionary tale against signing older players on their way down from bigger clubs on massive salaries.
5. Michael Keane
Signed for £25 million, reported salary £60,000 p.w
Bashing Keane feels less righteous than others. The England international enjoyed a decent season next to Kurt Zouma in 2018/19 and is seemingly a well-mannered dedicated professional.
Unfortunately that doesn’t obscure his too-often, too-weak performances on the pitch. Keane has some good qualities and can perform well in a system that amplifies them, but an upwardly mobile Everton is unlikely ever to play to them.
He’s painfully slow and doesn’t compliment Yerry Mina well at all. Mason Holgate, younger and less expensive, is already a much more reliable option. Unlike some other candidates, Keane could yet have a long career at Goodison, but that would probably be the wrong pathway for both parties.
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