Contrary to widespread expectations brought about by the billions lodged in the bank account of majority stakeholder Farhad Moshiri, Everton haven’t done much in the transfer market so far.
The Toffees kick off the 2016/17 campaign at home to Tottenham Hotspur, whom they can be backed to beat at 39/20.
So far, just three players have been added to the first-team fold by new boss Ronald Koeman, but what little transfer activity they have done, or more specifically, one deal in particular, deserves the greatest commendations.
Everton’s designated transfer haggler must be due a pay rise after fishing £47.5m out of Manchester City’s pocket in exchange for John Stones and reinvesting what is rumoured to be between £9m-£12m to sign Swansea City skipper Ashley Williams as his replacement.
Chelsea nabbing Leicester City’s title-winning star N’Golo Kante for £32m or Manchester United’s free transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic pale in comparison to what must be the shrewdest move of the summer from the Merseysiders.
Lauded for his on-the-ball ability, for all his talent, Stones isn’t the best defender on the planet (though he is now the second-most expensive in history).
His over-zealousness in possession was a chief contributor to the Toffees’ myriad backline problems of 2015/16, in which they conceded 55 goals and finished 11th.
Only the three relegated teams, Sunderland and Bournemouth allowed their opponents to score more frequently than Everton, who won 73% of the matches in which Stones didn’t play last term, as opposed to 26% of those he did.
The England international may well flourish at Man City, whose opponents tend to be more cautious when attacking, but it’s tough to argue how his presence wasn’t a detriment to the team last term.
In Williams they’ve acquired the domineering, physical force they were so sorely lacking and have done so for about a fifth of what they received for Stones.
When measuring their defensive numbers from last season, the Wales international won more tackles (52 to 37), more headers (72 to 52) and made more blocks (43 to 35), more clearances (316 to 139) and more interceptions (100 to 56) than his English counterpart.
Williams is much more aligned with what Everton need than the player they just received the best part of £50m for and his arrival adds value to their price of 10/1 to finish in the top four.