Benitez claims Everton will be making signings in January window

Everton (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

Rafa Benitez has confirmed again that Everton will be looking to add new players in the January window after the latest dreadful defeat at Manchester City yesterday.

Well, the obvious thing to say is yes that would seem like a necessary move as Everton once again embarassed themselves in the 3-0 loss at the Etihad, exposing all the faults and failings in this current squad.

We’ve heard various stories about which positions are being targetted with the main focus supposedly on another midfielder and a wide forward.

On the evidence of yesterday the Blues’ need an entirely new defence, at least two more athletic midfielders who can also score goals, at least one wide attacker with real pace and creative ability and a striker who can play on his own or alongside another effectively. Not much then.

Everton also seem to need to bring in a medicine man or someone like that to try and do something about the absolutely insane amount of injuries this team suffers from, with Demarai Gray the latest casualty. Nothing else seems to work, perhaps the club needs an exorcism to rid it of this curse!

Leaving that issue aside, the Blues’ will have to operate cleverly in the market when January comes of course as there is very little money in the kitty to spend.

Given current form and the horrendous set of fixtures coming up with matches against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea before Christmas, you have to reckon Everton could be right near or even in the bottom three or four by the time that transfer window opens.

That might further constrict their room for manoeuvre in the transfer window as players will be more reluctant to move to a club threatened with relegation.

There have been constant stories and rumours of potential targets that may or may not have been identified by Benitez and Marcel Brands.

It does seem very likely that any additions will come in on loan deals perhaps with options to buy. But, maybe more important than even how talented they are, is whether they have enough character to consistently contribute and show the metal to help see the team through difficult times, something that too many of the current squad seem to lack.

That’s not always easy to identify in individuals but I’d argue the situation with a player like Lucas Digne is the perfect example of what I mean.

Digne is certainly a very talented footballer. A few seasons back he was arguably the best all-round full-back in the Premier League.

Recently, his form has fallen away badly and it seems to me that he has been playing on his reputation for perhaps a year or more. Too often these days he looks like he is coasting and just doing enough with the knowledge that there is no one in the squad to take his place.

Everton have too many of these sorts of players and they must ensure they are not simply bringing in a player with ability but one who turns out to lack the character or desire to contribute consistently.

And, the other question is whether Benitez should be the man to make those signings as the Toffees’ season unravels in double-quick time.

I’ve said I think this run of games could ultimately decide the outcome of the season. If the Blues’ are right near or in the bottom four by Christmas with maybe only one or two wins from those eight games (not unrealistic to imagine at the moment) then will Benitez be able to survive?

As we all know he just doesn’t have the good will in the bank to draw upon if the team are really struggling badly by then and staring possible relegation in the face.

I’m sure the club will not want to make yet another change but they might have no choice if the crowd has strongly turned against him and relegation looks likely. With a £500 million stadium being built, Everton surely cannot afford to go down.

It would probably be more than a little unfair to sack Benitez as he’s not been here squandering all the money over the past five years or so, although his tactics, team selection and style of playing can be criticised at times.

But, football like life, isn’t fair and the manager always carries the can when things are falling apart on the pitch as it’s the only direct, short-term change a club can make to try and improve things.

And, that decision will have to be made before the window opens because the Toffees’ would surely have to give that new manager a chance to improve the squad. So there’s not much time to assess what to do.

All in all then, a very difficult and pressured few weeks ahead for the board, Benitez, the team and us fans too, as the Blues’ face this crucial run of fixtures before the end of the year.