Turn the sports news channel over, get off Twitter, in fact steer clear of the Internet completely (after reading this of course) and only peruse the 1st 40 pages of your preferred daily rag. The slowest part of the year is here and is in full swing – the summer break.
If you want it to pass smoothly and quickly, the easiest way is to not get involved with who's allegedly being sold to who, who's been spotted being shown around the training ground and definitely don't bite at the bait of any player who links themselves to your club. Silly season is well and truly upon us.
So far we have seen very few transfers in England's top division but the deals that have been finalised have, in the main, been for exceptional amounts of money. “Debt ridden” Manchester United, fresh from last season's Premier League title triumph, have spent around £50m securing the services of Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers, the sought after Ashley Young, formerly of Aston Villa, and Athletico Madrid's goalkeeper David De Gea.
Liverpool have also been flexing their recently regained financial muscle with the acquisition of England U-21 international Jordan Henderson and the nouveau riche of the North East are reaping the rewards of cashing in on their most saleable assets, with Newcastle starting to spend some of the £35m available from Andy Carroll's departure earlier this year and Sunderland, who have just agreed a fee of £9m for the promising Connor Wickham of Ipswich Town, having in the region of £40m at their disposal after Henderson followed Darren Bent out of the Stadium of Light.
There really hasn't been much movement elsewhere as of yet, including, very noticeably, at Goodison Park. David Moyes said at the end of last season that he was hoping to get his business done early this year, in order to have a full squad ready for the start pre-season training. The pessimists will say that this target hasn't been fulfilled, only for the optimists to counter with, the afore mentioned fact, that the transfer window only opens officially everywhere else in Europe on July 1st.
Everton have three key areas that require more cover, most obviously a striker, that elusive 20+ goals a season forward, craved by every 92 members of the Football League. Secondly, an out and out winger to create the space and whip the ball across the box for that elusive 20+ goal a season striker to tap in. Finally, a natural left back to challenge Leighton Baines for a starting place and be ready to cover his position should he fall foul of injury or suspension.
It's well documented that in order for Everton to chase the targets the manager desires we will have to raise funds from the sale of players deemed either disposable or saleable. James Vaughan has already found pastures new in East Anglia for a fee somewhere in the region of £2 million. Joseph Yobo is expected to also leave shortly for a permanent switch to Fenerbache of Turkey, although it is looking increasing likely it will be for a reduced sum than first anticipated. A player of his age, position and calibre should gain around another £4m for the pot. Our former 20+ goals a season striker Yakubu should follow his countryman Yobo through the Goodison Park exit door, however his wage demands and speculated reluctance to drop down a Division may see him still with us come August 31st. West Ham had their offer of £4m for him rejected last summer so I would assume his value to be around that figure a year later.
Those I would suggest are the probables but there is also a list of possibles, who could be sacrificed for the greater good. Slovakian reserve goalkeeper Jan Mucha has already aired his frustration at a lack of game time, with his international credentials an asking price of 1 to 2m would not be out of the question. Another of the squad, who is either football's most misquoted man or sees his future elsewhere is, Johnny Heitinga, originally signed as a right back he has stated on many occasions that his preference is to play at the centre of defence. But if Distin and Jagielka pick up again where they left off last season his opportunities there will be few and far between, recouping the £6m we paid for his service two seasons ago should not be an issue.
One big expensive problem we have is Bilyaletdinov, after 24 months on Merseyside and only a handful of memorable moments David Moyes must be questioning the scouting report on our inconsistent Russian. Based on his performances I would imagine it's going to be difficult to find a buyer at anywhere near the £9m that was paid but a figure between £5m and £9m should be achievable based solely on that rarity of a rocket of a shot he possesses.
Assuming that it would all be available for transfers, that would give us a bottom end total of £21m to strengthen with, without even considering Rodwell or Fellaini having suitors. With the standard of player coming through the youth ranks and those already on the peripherals of the starting XI we could go into the 2011\12 season with a stronger squad than what we finished with in May. I eagerly await the next six weeks before the start of the new campaign and look forward to seeing what master stroke Moyes can pull off in this inflated transfer market.
Enjoy your holidays and thank you for reading.
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