On Match of the Day last night, Jermaine Jenas claimed he didn’t know what Everton were.
Well, they are a professional football club from Liverpool managed by Marco Silva and they play in blue…
But are they a club in a downward spiral? Or a club in a transitional phase on their way into becoming a modern powerhouse?
What Jenas was referring to was the change in identity that the club are currently going through.
You would typically associate Everton with the David Moyes era.
Big centre-backs, good at set pieces and playing at a ground which was one of the toughest away games for any Premier League side.
Iconic names like Phil Jagielka, Steven Naismith and Tony Hibbert grinding out the results on a cold wet Merseyside night is surely the image in Jenas’ mind.
David Moyes was lured by the riches of Man Untied and after an eleven year journey, he and the club went their separate ways.
A decision Moysey surely regrets after his short-lived spell at Old Trafford ended in tears.
Everton, on the other hand, would have been relatively happy with the change of management, finishing that first year with Roberto Martinez in fifth.
In both 2015 and in 2016 they failed to make the top half of the table, finishing 11th in both campaigns.
49.9% of the club was bought by Farhad Moshiri in February 2016 and people were expecting a Man City type transformation.
Here we are, three years later, and Everton are just as far away from that fourth spot.
And you have to blame the signings, not the managers for that lack of progression.
In the first transfer market under new ownership, over £50million was spent on Ashley Williams, Morgan Schneiderlin and Yannick Bolasie.
Williams has left, Bolasie is on loan and Schneiderlin has just the seven league appearances this season.
The following window saw even more activity.
Romelu Lukaku’s £75mil move to Man United opened the door for some serious cash splashing.
In came Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney and many many more.
Ronald Koeman failed to improve on Martinez’s work and was gone half way through last season.
The Goodison Park side had their wounds licked by Big Sam Allardyce who steadied the ship and took them back to square one.
Silva arrived in the summer and was tipped to be the saviour.
Successful spells with Hull City and Watford gave the Everton faithful hope that he could be the man to turn the big spending into point taking.
Richarlison, Bernard, Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes (to name a few) came in the summer with Everton nearly hitting the £100m mark over the transfer window.
Despite Silva getting the men he wanted, Everton still lack style or a particular identity.
They are no longer that team that would pull off scalps against the big teams, a 0-0 at Stamford Bridge being their only point against a big six side so far this season.
The side cannot deal with set-pieces, they lost 6-2 at home to Spurs and Silva is still trying to work out his best starting X1.
Digne and Richarlison look like good signings but the team as a whole look dangerously inconsistent.
They haven’t won three games on the trot all season.
There is no way Everton can go back to the good ol’ days of being the rough, hard to beat side that they were under Moyes. The personnel doesn’t fit the bill.
It would also be counter-productive to get rid of Silva at this point in the season with little left to fight for following their FA Cup defeat at Milwall.
So, Mr Jenas, to answer your question…
Everton are a club without any identity, without any defining or match-winning traits.
They are a club with disgruntled fans and a club with ambitious owners who thought they could buy a top four finish.
They are a club that, for the foreseeable future, will have to consider seventh place as a success.
Hope that helps.
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