Inside Everton's Sensational Summer Transfer Window
Seven new faces have arrived at Everton this summer in a spending spree of almost £100 million.
It's the type of transfer activity usually saved for Football Manager, but boss Ronaldo Koeman is enjoying the real-life benefits of a board that are willing to back him and reach for the stars.
Fans of many other clubs have been watching on with an envious eye, but why are the Toffees proving so much more productive than other Premier League sides?
It seems Everton intend to add another two faces yet, so as we wait on more breaking news from Goodison Park, I have been looking into the summer plan to discover how the Toffees emerged as the 2017 kings of the transfer window.
Making Things Happen
Everton have managed to figure out a transfer system that works, as there are straight lines of communication between key figures.
Chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Robert Elstone, director of football Steve Walsh and manager Koeman have been coming together to spend the funds provided by owner Farhad Moshiri.
Simply put, Walsh or Koeman identify a target, and the figures of power then decide how to move forward.
Early in the transfer planning, there was concern about friction between Walsh and Koeman but, helpfully, those influential men have agreed on every big decision for this summer.
For examples of how this has worked, it was Koeman who identified Davy Klaassen, yet Steve Walsh who put forward Michael Keane. In both instances, the other parties agreed on the potential signing, and bids were quickly pushed through.
Rather than rubbing each other up the wrong way, as can so easily happen in such scenarios, they have been helping to get the moves going.
Ultimately, it is Kenwright and Elstone who become responsible for sealing the deals, and everyone is pleased with the job done so far.
Spending Big Cash
Well before the end of last season, the club knew they would have to make an impact in this transfer market, and planning has been underway since the end of January.
Koeman wanted players who were dependable, talented and driven—and Jordan Pickford and Keane were identified early as attainable Premier League players who would fit their model.
Pickford could end up costing £30 million, but Everton see it as a good investment, with the 23-year-old putting pen to paper on a five-year deal.
Keane's £25 million arrival was viewed similarly. The player showed early on that he wanted to play regularly for an ambitious club, rather than sit on a bench somewhere higher up.
Everton also secured Klaassen from Ajax for £24 million in a deal mooted by Koeman and backed up by the rest of the transfer team.
They have found value, too. Sandro Ramirez arrived from Malaga after his proposed switch to Atletico Madrid fell through. Koeman and Walsh quickly agreed to meet his buyout clause of £5.25 million—an absolute bargain in this market.
Bringing Back Rooney
The most intriguing, although perhaps not the most surprising deal, was to bring Wayne Rooney back to Goodison Park.
This move had been on the cards for a while—as we revealed here in March—and it was chairman Kenwright who was most keen on a romantic bid to bring him home.
Koeman did not need too much convincing, though. Sources indicated he feels Rooney is not quite as far over the hill as others in the game seem to believe, so once an agreement could be made on personal terms, there were few hurdles in the way.
"With Wayne coming back there is a real buzz around the club," Everton under-23 manager David Unsworth told Bleacher Report. "It is brilliant. Wayne is an amazing signing and he has so much more to contribute on the pitch. And also with all the signings, they are quality additions."
Rooney was tired of his fading role at United and the way the club's mentality had shifted since the Sir Alex Ferguson years. In pre-season, he already seems to be showing the new lease of life Everton felt they could offer.
Expect him to play a variety of roles next term. He will be a main striker, a supporting forward, and will even occupy wider positions. His presence in the dressing room was another reason for his signing, though. Rooney's winning mentality is something the club needed.
Everton's stance always seemed clear: They wanted to hold on to Lukaku unless a world-record bid arrived.
In the end, they settled for £75 million plus a potential £15 million in add-ons—but it's still one hell of a deal.
Chelsea thought they had done good business when they sold him to the Toffees for £28 million in 2014, but it proved to be money well spent.
This deal is not expected to set a precedent. This was a situation in which agent Mino Raiola clearly had sights on a big move for his client. Everton do not want to become a club that sells its best players.
Not Finished Yet
There is more to come from Everton before deadline day, and the hope is that two more significant signings will arrive.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is one name in the frame, while another forward is needed following Lukaku's exit.
Sigurdsson has been on the radar since March and Everton are in a battle with Leicester for his signature, per the Mirror.
Swansea City are playing hardball over a fee, but the Toffees are confident they will get him even though Leicester have offered better terms to the player.
The last offer for Sigurdsson was £40 million, with an incentive of another £10 million in add-ons if Everton qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Swansea are saying no, but sources have suggested that it may yet prove to be enough as we get further into the transfer window.
Contacts have indicated that Sigurdsson would like to become part of the Everton project, and after showing such signs of intent in recent weeks, who can blame him?