It’s that time of year again when we, as Everton FC fans, fill ourselves with anticipation, hope, worry and excitement for the season ahead.
This season will start very differently to the ones we have known before, just as strangely as last season ended, however, this isn’t the only change that is affecting us as Everton fans. There is something a lot more positive in the back of our minds.
We now have, at the helm, a man who has been there and done it all, collecting many t-shirts along the way. Commonly referred to as The Don (and rightly so) is one of the best managers to have ever been involved with this game and you’d be forgiven for acting like a kid at Christmas and being a little starry eyed when you see his name at the top of the weekly team sheets.
As we approach the beginning of the new season, all those aforementioned feelings are a bit different this time round. Carlo Ancelotti has now had the time he requires to put his stamp on an underperforming squad. We cannot beat around the bush when talking about the squad he had inherited, it simply was not up to par and I dread to think where we could have been without him in the latter stages of last season, however, the past is the past, time to look to the future and the future certainly is looking bright right about now.
Everton FC New Signings – The Start of A New Era?
For me, the most important piece of business we could have done is that of sealing the capture of Allan. He will finally be the piece of the jigsaw that we have longed for since the sale of Idrissa Gueye. He is the bite in midfield that we, as Blues, long for and appreciate more than anything else on that hallowed Goodison turf. Seeing his performances during his time at Napoli, he looks like he could fast become the fans favourite at the Old Lady and, eventually, Bramley Moore, just as much as Gueye was before him. We have all seen Doucouré’s abilities being known to most premier league teams. Hearing Watford fans on Twitter wax lyrical about the player we will be receiving shows that he is one that we would definitely be able to appreciate. He is an engine. A box to box midfielder that, again, has escaped us for many a year now and one that could genuinely begin to revamp our fortunes sooner rather than later. Its testament to the player himself that he has turned down other opportunities and actually held out for this move and it speaks volumes that Watford fans have finally deflated their blow-up snakes and put aside their obvious hatred for our club to wish him the best of luck as he ‘deserves the move’.
James Rodriguez – An Everton FC Flagship Signing
Now, the big one. For me, maybe a slight luxury, but, what a luxury to have. Keep the man fresh and fit, and we have one of the world’s biggest talents joining us. James Rodriguez, for want of a better term, is world class, and my disbelief that we have managed to pull this one off is only bettered by my excitement. Maybe he has lived in the limelight of the Colombia goal v Uruguay in the World Cup all those years ago, but, Ancelotti is the man in his life that is able to get a tune out of him. He was a standout performer of Ancelotti’s time at Real Madrid and if we can see, even 80%, of that James Rodriguez then our team improves no end.
Aside of James’ undeniable playing abilities, the marketing opportunity that comes with the guy is extraordinary. You only have to have a peak at social media to see how many Colombians and South Americans are switching their allegiances to the blue half of Merseyside. Everton, as a club, have missed opportunities like this in the past (I see Tim Howard in the USA and Tim Cahill in Australia as examples of this), however, this is different. In a time when social media is a huge platform and to put this into context, James Rodriguez has 15 million more followers on Instagram than Liverpool Football Club. If we can exploit the South American market here, we’d be onto such a winner from the get go.
Sure, we’ve been excited about signings in the past, for example, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Romelu Lukaku etc, but, as I’ve said this time it feels a little different. We have a man in charge who knows football, one of the most successful managers ever. For me, it takes me back to a time when Manchester City made their first flagship signing after the Sheikh’s money was thrusted into the club. When Robinho signed for Manchester City, he was arguably the most famous and sought after players in the world, they invested heavily in their squad and, well, we all know what happened with that club once they made this signing, it did not take long at all for the club to sky rocket. James Rodriguez can be our Robinho.
We cannot underestimate the abilities of Andre Gomes in this scenario too. Too many times last season we were ready to jump down his neck (I was guilty of this at times myself), but, put 3 world class players alongside him, as opposed to 3 underperformers, and I truly believe we will see the Gomes we are used to. The Gomes before the horror injury. Looking at it on paper, it’s a seriously exciting midfield if we can keep them all fit and healthy.
As with everything in life, success is never guaranteed, but, with Ancelotti, we have a man who believes in the project and wants to see us into the new stadium at the peak of our powers. Times like this and signings like these do so much to instil confidence in us as fans, but, also, those players at the club who won’t settle for mediocrity, for example, Richarlison and Lucas Digne.
I genuinely believe, for the first time in a long, long time we can flourish and the sun can start to shine over Goodison once more.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum (and that’s never been more true).
Feature Image Photo Credit: Everton FC Official Website Evertonfc.com