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Gylfi Sigurdsson had been the star man for Swansea.
His performances made Everton determined to sign him last summer, and the Swans were keen to dig their heels deep into the south Wales sand over the required fee. It became a ‘saga’ of sorts.
Ronald Koeman clearly wanted the Icelandic international at the club ahead of anyone else. The pursuit of Sigurdsson was not going to end until Everton coughed up. They eventually did just that, paying a wince-inducing fee.
Too many similar players
As the negotiations dragged, Everton were cluttering their squad with similar players.
A nostalgia-driven return for Wayne Rooney was almost inevitable, but then Davy Klaassen also joined. Sandro was added as a striker, but was not a feasible option if two of the aforementioned three were going to start.
Fitting Klaassen and Rooney or Klaassen and Sigurdsson in the team could work. Rooney and Sigurdsson was a bit more challenging, but, with the right players around them, even that partnership could thrive.
The impact of losing Romelu Lukaku has been tirelessly mentioned, though it’s not his goals that are really missed. It’s his presence, his movement.
Sigurdsson, Klaassen and Rooney are all players who want to face the opposition’s goal. Sigurdsson and Klaassen particularly are only effective with mobile players in front of them to create space and run on to through passes. Losing Lukaku took that out of Everton’s final third and it was not replaced.
The team had to play a specific way to create for Sandro. They have not done that, and Koeman clearly did not believe in the players that could have helped him.
A luxury without the right components
Midfield creators are a luxury without the right players in front of them.
Sigurdsson, Klaassen, and Rooney have all been nullified by the teams selected by Koeman. Finding a striker to score at a rate like Lukaku was improbable at best, but Everton’s greatest failing was in not replacing the type of player they lost.
When you add the attempted sale of Ross Barkley to that watered down attacking cocktail, Everton are bland. The summer signings could individually have been successes, yet, in a group, they were a disaster.
Kevin Mirallas, Oumar Niasse and Ademola Lookman remained out of favour with Koeman until the end. The trio were by no means a solve-all, but they all offered skillsets that Everton desperately lack this season.
Spending elsewhere could have saved the Dutchman
With Klaassen and Rooney already signed, spending the Sigurdsson money elsewhere could have saved the Dutchman.
Signing three players who play similar roles, operate in the same space of the pitch, and do not work with the new striker borders on madness.
Whoever is selected to succeed Koeman at Goodison Park has the same issues with balance. A summer that seemed to dearth of planning has locked any Everton manager in an unenviable position until January at least.
Written by Sam Cox
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamRCox_
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