Transfer Need Becomes Clear

It's obvious, isn't it?

If it didn't need saying beforehand, then the shoot-out defeat to Leicester City added an extra layer of importance for a recognised, fit and quality central midfielder to arrive at Everton in January.

It's difficult to point fingers of blame at Marcel Brands, Marco Silva or anybody in particular, really, because who could have seen it coming?

Fabian Delph has struggled with injuries throughout his career but never, surely, to this extent?

And sickness for Gylfi Sigurdsson was just plain cruel following long-term injuries to Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes.

But whoever replaces Silva must work in tandem with Brands to secure a top-quality signing.

Mason Holgate, like at Manchester United, harried and tackled and, in fairness, was still probably one of Everton's better players on a testing night.

Tom Davies, likewise, is full of guts and bottle and scored a well-taken volley to drag his team back into the game.  Still, though, it should never have come to this untested and youthful pairing to be taking the game to a confident and well-functioning opposition.

Tom Davies picks the ball out of the net after scoring during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final between Everton and Leicester City
Tom Davies picks the ball out of the net after scoring during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final between Everton and Leicester City

Brands will be all too aware that landing a player of the ilk necessary in January might cost a little more than the going rate but sometimes needs must.

Leicester, in a similar vein to the recent collapse at the King Power under Silva, were too often afforded the luxury of time and space in Everton's central heart and it was crying out for a leader, for someone who could do something with the ball that would hurt the visitors.

It won't be an easy task but it's looking increasingly necessary for Farhad Moshiri to bankroll a mini-winter rebuild if Everton are to salvage this campaign.

Summer Signing Struggles

It's been an interesting time in the life of Alex Iwobi.

Sunning himself on Deadline Day, away from the yellow band of Sky Sports and breaking news, he was - unbeknown to him - soon to be an Everton player.

A medical was foregone, even, because Marco Silva and Marcel Brands were so desperate to add fire-power and flair to their attacking options.

At first, there were doubts. Nobody had really seen too much of the Nigerian and reviews from Arsenal supporters were mixed. 

But then he joined and came alive.

Cameos soon turned into starts and it seemed like a transfer master-stroke, of sorts, had been pulled off.


 His form had slowed in recent weeks – a mistake against Tottenham Hotspur a nadir – but Leicester City perhaps showed a need to discover who he is at Everton.

James Maddison of Leicester City battles for possession with Alex Iwobi of Everton
James Maddison of Leicester City battles for possession with Alex Iwobi of Everton

Iwobi has made less than 20 appearances during his time on Merseyside but has already featured on the wing, in central-midfield and behind the striker.

At times on Tuesday night he looked lost.

It's not hard to understand why, you suppose, in a team ravaged by injury and struggling for consistency. But Iwobi must ensure he does not fall into the Gylfi Sigurdsson trap of being weighed down by an inflated price-tag.

He certainly didn't ask for the big-money move and Everton will need to be patient but there is definitely something there, perhaps something that needs to be managed correctly. 

The fact Ferguson allowed him to stay on the pitch for the majority of the 90 minutes proves he at least has the trust of the manager to work hard and run harder.

But without a goal or an assist in 12 appearances he will have to improve his attacking output to impress any prospective new manager and avoid further questions about his place in this team.

A Glimmer of Hope

It's important not to get caught up in the small details.

But you couldn't help but be excited when Moise Kean, on as a half-time substitute, held off two men, dragged the ball out wide, took on Ben Chilwell with a couple of fast-paced step-overs and got his cross away.

The Goodison roar, as it had been when he was introduced, was manic.

Everton supporters want to see Moise Kean succeed. His team-mates and coaches do too.

The second-half against Leicester was a glimmer of hope that this expensive raw talent might just have what it takes to come good on Merseyside.

He wasn't constantly involved and didn't play a direct role in either goal but his mere presence caused difficulties for the Foxes.

Moise Kean challenges for the ball with Wes Morgan and Wilfred Ndidi during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final between Everton and Leicester City
Moise Kean challenges for the ball with Wes Morgan and Wilfred Ndidi during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final between Everton and Leicester City

Kean is fast, strong and committed and if those attributes can be honed and channelled in the correct manner they can be flammable in a Premier League environment.

It is easy to forget that he was not born at the turn of this century and had played less than 500 minutes of English football before his introduction on Wednesday evening.

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Everton vs Leicester City matchday

But this was a reminder from the teenager that he can be the player everybody hoped for when he signed on the dotted line in an exciting summer deal. 

It was a small detail, the moment with the step-over, and it is, on a broader scale, just a small step on his road to success at Everton.

But it's a start.