Everton de Benitez transfers ranked, with Townsend 2nd and Rondon 6th
Rafa Benitez joined Everton as the club struggled with financial fair play during the summer transfer window, to leave Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend as his big name arrivals.
Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri had injected millions into the Goodison Park squad in recent seasons. But their past overspending on players who failed to deliver and struggles to sell others for profit have caught up with the Merseyside team this year.
Moshiri has spent around £ 450million in a bid to see the Blues close the gap to the Premier League’s top six. Yet at the end of the summer, Benitez spent a total of £ 1.5million on Gray, while Townsend, Salomon Rondon, Asmir Begovic and Andy Lonergan joined for free.
Gray and Townsend may have arrived in Merseyside with a bang, but have proven essential to Benitez’s plans. Some of those the Spaniard knocked out didn’t reach great heights either.
8. Lonergan – Experienced depth for Everton in training
Lonergan made one final transfer to Everton in August to give Benitez extra goal depth. The 38-year-old joined the Toffees on a one-season contract after teenager Harry Tyrer suffered an injury in training. Joao Virginia has also joined Sporting Lisbon on loan.
The Preston-born sniper was not likely to play regularly ahead of Jordan Pickford or Asmir Begovic. But his experience has so far only given Benitez depth in training.
7. Bernard – A high salary that Benitez had to unload
Everton backed Marco Silva in his first window at the helm of Goodison in 2018, with Bernard someone very keen on. Sky Sports noted that the Portuguese coach coveted the Brazilian, who left Shakhtar Donetsk at the end of his contract.
The Toffees responded by giving Bernard a £ 120,000-a-week contract, but he struggled to be essential in royal blue. So much so that Benitez allowed him to leave a year before his contract expired.
Benitez will have the impression that Bernard has vindicated his departure with the fading of his brilliant start to Emirati club Sharjah FC. His form suggesting the 29-year-old would have seen his terms on the sidelines.
6. Rondon – A very slow burner in royal blue
Like Lonergan, Rondon joined Everton at the end of the summer transfer window to give Benitez some extra depth. The Venezuelan arrived on deadline day to support Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, but injuries have thrown the 32-year-old into the limelight.
Sadly, Rondon arrived in Merseyside without enjoying a preseason and would struggle to get back into shape. So when Benitez had to throw his former favorite Newcastle United into the deep end, he sank.
It took Rondon until his 12th appearance – 11 in the Premier League – to score his first goal at Everton. He had started seven matches at this stage and scored after 663 minutes.
5. Begovic – Pickford’s lining for lack of funds
Begovic joined Everton knowing he would be Pickford’s understudy, but failed to keep the England international on his toes. His presence has given Benitez an alternative in the Blues’ Carabao Cup matches, but the Bosnian will only appear in the league if Pickford is out.
4. Kean – Flashes but little spark from Everton’s farewell
Everton believed they had signed a rising star in Italian football when Moise Kean joined the summer 2019 transfer window. They paid Juventus an initial £ 25million but he joined the Serie squad. A last August with a first two-year loan with a purchase obligation of £ 24million.
Kean left Everton after scoring four goals in 39 games in all competitions, and spent last season away on loan. He has since shown flashes of skill, but often little spark for the old lady as a save option under Massimiliano Allegri at the Allianz Stadium.
3. Rodriguez – A vital summer start for Benitez
James Rodriguez has delayed Everton transfer plans at the end of the summer while transfers to AC Milan, Porto and Basaksehir have failed. He eventually joined the Qatari side of Al-Rayyan upon death.
His exit was vital to pulling a salary of £ 200,000 a week from a bloated payroll. The playmaker also had a strained relationship with Benitez at Real Madrid, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Rodriguez hasn’t shown Everton what they’ve been missing since, of a player who admitted he joined last year to reunite with former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti, via ESPN. The 30-year-old only cut a peripheral role to Al-Rayyan and saw red in October after a furious rampage.
2. Townsend – A career revived after the transfer from Everton
Townsend joined Everton on a transfer from Bosman after leaving Crystal Palace at the end of his contract. His final year at Selhurst Park suggested little would come from the 30-year-old from Merseyside, but he has proven the skeptics wrong.
The winger has offered three goals and two assists in his first seven Premier League games in royal blue. He remained a leading figure in the Benitez attack, but his production dried up.
If Calvert-Lewin hadn’t suffered an injury that would have kept him out for months, Townsend might have been even more efficient.
1. Gray – Winger justifies Benitez’s long-term admiration at Goodison
Benitez only spent a fee on one player during the summer transfer window to get Gray to Everton. He later noted that the winger was a player he had followed since Gray was at Leicester. And the forward has since justified the Spaniard’s long-term admiration at Goodison Park.
Gray burst through the gates with three goals in his first four Premier League games with Everton. He continued to offer a dynamic presence and was often the Blues’ biggest offensive threat from the wings of Benitez.
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