For a team reputed to be a bit cash-strapped, Everton had an active deadline day, one fueled by Manchester United’s quest to sign their two most-prominent players: Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. Bill Kenwright and Roberto Martínez were ultimately able to hold on to the one they truly wanted to keep, Baines, while getting a heavy chunk of change for the Belgian always destined to go. That however, left the Toffees with some work to replace the quality Fellaini took from the squad, and it was no surprise Martínez looked to his old stomping grounds to strengthen.
James McCarthy had been linked with Everton ever since his former boss took the Toffees’ job in early summer. The move just made sense. Dave Whelan, however, had Wigan hold out, at times approaching the same rebuking tone that Everton took while rejecting Manchester United. Ultimately, however, the Ireland international moved to Goodison Park for just over $20 million, though Whelan, always good for an honest evaluation, offered the obvious about Monday’s pomp:
“Why they leave it so late, I do not understand. But we have accepted the offer from Everton for James McCarthy.”
Earlier in the day, Whelan was equally candid (and more expansive) to the Irish Independent:
“Roberto is chasing James. If Everton sell Fellaini, they are going to come in again for our boy.
“It depends whether Fellaini goes today. I have heard that he’s definitely going.
“If Fellaini goes, Everton are going to get their £30m or whatever. Roberto knows what James is valued at, so they’ve got to come back in with the right amount. You’ve got to be talking £14m or maybe a little more.”
I suppose that’s the circumstance to go with McCarthy’s pomp.
The now former Latic isn’t the only midfield reinforcement Martínez was able to snag with his Fellaini money. Gareth Barry, a former regular at Manchester City who had missed out on the first three games of this season, heads for Everton, albeit on loan. Making City-level money, he would have otherwise been a poor fit for Everton, but with a deal worked out between the Toffees and the Sky Blues, Barry should help replace some of the defensive value lost with the Fellaini sale.
This is about as good Everton could have hoped for, should they lose one of their big two. In McCarthy, Barry, and Romelu Lukaku, Everton could even be better than they were Monday morning. Players have to bed in, and only one of them is on a permanent deal, but although the Toffees have lost Marouane Fellaini, there’s isn’t reason to think they’re worse for it.