After just six months in charge, and having won only one Premier League game since September, Everton sacked manager Rafael Benitez after a 2-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Norwich in mid-January. Having since lost 1-0 to Aston Villa at home, the Toffees themselves now sit 16th in the table, only three points above the relegation places. Frank Lampard now becomes the sixth man to take the reins at Goodison Park since the current owner Farhad Moshiri bought the club in February 2016. So how did this once mighty club get here?
Fans in recent weeks have not held back their displeasure for the club’s board and owner, but it has to be recognised that Everton’s shortcomings haven’t been for a lack of trying. The club under Moshiri has spent over £500 million in transfer fees but are yet to finish above 7th in the league. Everton has started to develop a reputation for a club that spends big in all the wrong places and end up losing their marquee signings for half of what they bought them for. A prime example of this is midfielder Davy Klaassen, who came to Merseyside from AFC Ajax for a considerable fee of £24 million in 2017. After playing only seven Premier League games, he then departed for Werder Bremen only a year later and for a fraction of the cost. More recent blunders include Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean, who were acquired for a whopping combined £52 million in the 2019-20 season. Both are still on Everton’s books and neither has managed to hit any goal scoring form.
Evertonians will now be looking to the future. The appointment of Frank Lampard as their new head coach is in many ways a risky one. Lampard is certainly not an experienced manager, and in his most recent role at Chelsea, he was somewhat shown up when his replacement Thomas Tuchel, who led them to Champions League glory. Nevertheless, there are immediate positives that fans can take from the appointment. Lampard’s brand of football is attacking and free-flowing, and he has already demonstrated the pull he has in the transfer market. The deadline day signing of Donny van de Beek on loan is sure to excite fans. The Dutch midfielder was revered as a goal scorer and playmaker at Ajax, before a strange move to Manchester United saw him sit on the bench for the best part of two years. However, the other man to join the Toffees on deadline day may represent the board falling back into their old habits. Dele Alli arrives on a 2.5 year deal and a fee that is said could reach £40 million. The former Tottenham Hotspurs player has been out of form and out of favour for several years and under several managers in North London. Will this be another flop in blue, or can he help Everton finally turn their fortunes around?
Image courtesy of @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London via WikiMedia Commons