When Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as the new man in charge at Goodison Park way back in December 2019, fans of the club were expecting big things.
A three time Champions League winner, the Toffees brought in Ancelotti with the idea that he would be able to lift them into the sacred Top 4 positions for the first time since 2005. His name not only brought a sense of the ‘big time’, but also meant he would be able to use his connections at the top of the game to bring in top players to match those ambitions.
In the January transfer window, Ancelotti did nothing. No sales and no acquisitions. He took the time to analyse the squad properly throughout the season, trying different systems and different players. Some played much more than others, some barely featured at all. But now with the summer window upon us, Ancelotti has made it abundantly clear he needs upgrades.
The club are on the verge of a triple midfield signing with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure set to join from Napoli and Watford respectively for £25million each. They’re due to top that deal off with the permanent signing of Real Madrid man James Rodriguez for around £22million. I wrote back in July about how Rodriguez could be the perfect signing for them to get the best out of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while switching to a more favoured formation for the Italian. He usually uses a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-2-1-2 but at Everton so far he was using a standard 4-4-2 in order to get the two biggest attacking threats closer to goal while also making up for the lack of quality central midfield options.
With the additions he’s making now, he’s going in that direction. But he now needs to make sales. Players like Bernard, Alex Iwobi, Yannick Bolasie and Tom Davies are all reportedly available for transfer after failing to impress. Theo Walcott has also struggled under Ancelotti and if an offer came in that they deemed acceptable he’d also be allowed to move on.
After the window is completed it will be much easier to understand what his plans are, but the ambition the club are showing is promising. The issue is that the players being brought in aren’t the greatest.
Allan was a tremendous box-to-box midfielder Napoli two seasons ago, which made him the subject of a €60million bid from PSG that was accepted before the transfer eventually collapsed. Since then, he has struggled to reclaim that form and Ancelotti will be hoping that he can coax it back out of him like he did while they were together at Napoli in 2018.
Doucoure had an excellent season at Watford two years ago but last season he struggled in a similar way to Allan. Add to that with the fact that James Rodriguez has barely played football in the last two years, Ancelotti is taking some big gambles based on previous performances and experiences with these players rather than where they are right now.
If he can get them all firing again and maintain the good form that Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin showed after his initial arrival, then Everton will be pushing hard for that Top 6. Otherwise, it will be a very expensive window with zero progress made for a side desperate to get back to competing.