Anthony Gordon has had a turbulent past few weeks as an Everton player, he went from picking up two awards (Young Player and Player’s Player of the Year) after his breakout 2021/22 season to a rumour linking him to a £35 million move to Newcastle, where the fans reacted with outrage.
Skip to the middle of August, as per ESPN, Chelsea have made a bid up to £42 million (who has a market value of £18 million) and the fans seem to be happy to let the local lad go. This isn’t shocking, Gordon has had a rough start to the season, but that is understandable since he has been played out of position due to Everton’s lack of striker depth after the injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
It’s a tricky question to answer as it depends on Everton’s ambition, does Frank want to push on now or does he want to be at the helm of a rebuild for the future? From the moves, the club have made it seems like the former with rumours reporting that Frank Lampard is open to selling Gordon for the right price.
The question now is, what approach do Everton take? Do they continue to develop Gordon into one of Everton’s star players going into Bramley Moor? Or do they take the money now and build a squad to try and contend for the top half, or possibly even Europe, by the time the club move into the new stadium? I will try to provide options for both, showing an XI with Gordon, and an XI including the sale of Gordon.
What Everton can do with and without Anthony Gordon?
Option One: The Starboy is Staying
If Anthony Gordon stays expect the Everton team to look very similar on the 1st September, Frank Lampard did confirm in an interview after the Chelsea game that their will still be changes to the squad, but I expect those changes to be a backup striker and maybe a player in on loan, but I don’t think the changes will be as drastic as they could be if Gordon leaves the club.
This team probably may not see an astronomical rise in terms of final league position but it would also provide a better chance to develop players like Gordon (21), Nathan Patterson (20), Amadou Onana (20) and academy players such as Lewis Warrington (19) and Stanley Mills (18) who would probably see limited opportunities due to the players Everton could bring in.
One thing the fans have always complained about is the lack of academy graduates in the first team, a complaint that will more than likely pop up again in a year if Gordon leaves the club. Football is a sport that focuses on the present more than the future when it comes to performance, which is understandable for a club that was almost relegated last season for the first time since 1951.
Gordon having a bad start hasn’t helped his case, but the reason why is clear to see and it’s also clear that Gordon is a very talented player, Chelsea wouldn’t be willing to open with a £42 million bid if he wasn’t talented. However, would Everton be able to bring out the best in Gordon? That is the question that is hard to provide a concrete answer to, Gordon will have a learning tree of fantastic players like Lampard and Ashley Cole to learn from, but Everton have shown they have a history of helping bright stars fade faster.
The argument against that is that it looks like a new era for the Toffees, Lampard and new Director of Football Kevin Thelwell are interested in giving this club a future, which is shown by the signing of somebody like Onana, and the question is would the sale of Gordon go against that method?
Gordon’s statistics wouldn’t blow anybody’s mind, but playing striker in an Everton team that already struggled to score goals last season won’t help that, Gordon’s end product needs to improve, but it’s hard to use that as a stick to beat him with if he is not given the chance to improve.
With players like Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and the crop of young English talent like Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount who all turned into fantastic players at such a young age, it’s understandable why fans expect more from Gordon, but all players develop differently and Gordon doesn’t have the same tools to develop as all the previously mentioned players did.
Option Two: Wayne Rooney 2.0?
Let me get this out of the way quickly, I am not saying Anthony Gordon is the next Wayne Rooney, it’s almost certain that the club won’t bring through a player that talented in the next 100 years nevermind bringing a player through that talented less than 20-years later.
What I mean is, Everton selling their brightest asset and using the money to improve the squad, while also helping with financial issues.
If you cast your mind back to the Summer of 2004 that’s exactly what Everton did, selling an 18-year old Wayne Rooney to Manchester United for £33 million, a monumentous sum at the time and an amount of money that saved a financially desperate Everton from a similar fate to clubs like Portsmouth.
When Everton proceeded to replace Rooney with Marcus Bent it wasn’t looking too good, signings like Bent and somebody you all may know by the name of Tim Cahill weren’t seen as adequate replacements for one of the best English talents this country had ever seen, but along with smart signings like a certain Mikel Arteta on loan from Real Sociedad guided the Toffees to a fourth place finish in the Premier League, still the club’s highest finish to date.
So the question is, could Anthony Gordon provide the same boost to Everton’s squad that Wayne Rooney once did? The answer is probably no, the Premier League has become monopolised by the ‘Big Six’ and even though we’ve seen teams like Leicester and West Ham breakthrough, that doesn’t mean it will become a regular occurence.
What the sale of Gordon could provide is the players for Everton to possibly push from 16th to the top half, something fans would’ve thought as unthinkable just a few weeks ago, especially after the sale of players like Richarlison.
Ironically, £33 million in 2004 would be worth around £51 million today, so Everton would have an almost identical amount of money to work with. Smart signings like James Tarkowski, Conor Coady and Onana provide Everton with more funds to spend in attacking areas. Dwight McNeil is a good player, but looks a lot more like an Anthony Gordon replacement instead of a Richarlison replacement.
It’s very possible that Everton could sign that Richarlison replacement, along with somebody to back-up Dominic Calvert-Lewin to provide a much needed improvement on Salomon Rondon.
France is producing some fantastic talent at fantastic prices right now, with players like Martin Terrier (25), who has an asking price of around £35 million after 21 goals in Ligue 1 last season, a realistic transfer for Everton, Terrier would also lighten the load on Calvert-Lewin when he returns in a similar fashion to Richarlison, allowing the England international to get back to his best.
Another French talent who may be much harder to sign is Amine Gouiri (22), it’s been rumoured that Nice would be willing to accept around €40 million (£34 million), but with clubs like PSG and Real Madrid interested, it would be very surprising if Everton were able to sign one of the most impressive young forwards in Europe.
Everton have been linked with plenty of back-up strikers, all who fit the mould of a player who could fit into Everton’s system in that Calvert-Lewin role, names like Serhou Guirassy (26), Saša Kalajdžić (25) and most recently former Celtic striker Moussa Dembélé (26) have all been linked, with Dembélé being the most recent due to his contract expring next year.
These signings could help boost Everton’s league position, but there is also that sting if Gordon continues to develop into a fantastic player and the Toffees’ singings flatter to deceive. However, there is also the possibility that these players prove to be fantastic business and help propel Everton up the Premier League table.
The Final Word
It’s hard to really give an opinion on this signing, Anthony Gordon is a great young player, one of the best Everton have produced in a long time, but for a club in Everton’s position, £50 million is an offer almost too difficult to turn down, and with the possibility of a deal also helping with the club’s chances of getting somebody like Armando Broja or Conor Gallagher on loan, it’s understandable that the club may bite.
Gordon is a fantastic player, and I’m in the crowd who believe he’s going to be in and around the England squad if given the proper development. In an ideal world I’d like to keep Gordon and have him be Everton’s star player moving into Bramley Moor, I think he’s fantastic and will only continue to develop at Everton if the right steps are taken, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the club sell him.
Should the Toffees sell Anthony Gordon?