Moise Kean saga a perfect reflection of Everton failures and decline

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 05: Moise Kean of Juventus enter the pitch during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Juventus at Stadio Olimpico on March 05, 2023 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 05: Moise Kean of Juventus enter the pitch during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Juventus at Stadio Olimpico on March 05, 2023 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images) /

News has broken this evening that Juventus have completed the permanent re-signing of striker Moise Kean from Everton three and half years after he left Italy for Merseyside.

Italian international Kean has been back in Serie A since making an initial loan move from the Blues’ to PSG and then finally returning to his former club.

When in summer 2019, Everton announced they had signed the forward from Juventus, it was something of a coup for the club.

At the time Kean was regarded as one of the hottest young starlets in Europe. His joining the Toffees’, seemed further confirmation that they were becoming seen as a genuinely viable destination for some of the continents’ better prospects.

The Italian arrived at Goodison Park a year after Everton had splashed the cash to lure Brazilian forward Richarlison from Watford.

The prospect of these two young forward talents combining in the future, was at least on paper, a potentially mouthwatering one.

Of course, this being Everton it didn’t work out that way and eventually Kean went out on loan, while Richarlison finally left to join Tottenham last summer.

So, the Toffees’ went from having arguably a surfit of forward resources just a few seasons ago, to now relying on a maddeningly injury-prone centre-forward in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, their only decent striker and likely source of goals, who seems permanently crocked.

Then fast forward to January this year and the Blues’ were scrambling around in the bargain basement of the transfer market trying desperately to sign almost any forward they could find with hours and then minutes left on deadline day, after sitting on their hands for weeks.

It was frankly embarrassing and depressing to witness this farcical process and see some of the names now being linked to the club.

And, to cap it all off, despite even supposedly looking at very average players in the Championship, Everton still failed to bring in a single new player in before the window closed. Apparently, no one would sign for the Blues’.

While Kean had never settled in England and always seemed a fish-out-of-water when he did play (which you can argue is just bad luck) his signing seems symbolic of the wasted money and failed strategy that has characterised this club’s transfer dealings for so long, and led to the Toffees’ current predicament.

Kean was very much seen as a Marcel Brands signing and the suspicion was that he wouldn’t have been owner Farhad Moshiri’s choice.

That tension and uncertainly has so often characterized the club’s dealings in the transfer market over the past four or five years and no one seemed to be clear as to who had the ultimate say in signings.

The Dutch Director of Football at the time (whose own arrival in 2018 had also seemed a vote of confidence in the club) very much favoured exciting young talent and had pushed hard to get the deal over the line.

When Kean joined the club, Marco Silva was his manager and it seemed the young Italian forward was the sort of player both these two men wanted.

However, from the start there were questions about how an inexperienced 19-year-old who had only played a handful of games in Italy’s top flight, would settle and fit into the team.

Was he ready for the challenge of the ultra-competitive Premier League and could he come in and perform quickly?

The answer was no, and with stories of how much he was missing home circulating, just six months after he signed, Silva was sacked and Everton were looking for another new manager.

This kind of instability wasn’t exactly the best situation for a young, raw player still learning the game who was evidently dealing with serious homesickness as well.

Initially, that new man in charge was temporary boss Duncan Ferguson and it was under the legendary Scottish centre-forward that Kean endured his lowest moment on Merseyside.

In a game at Manchester United Ferguson brought him on as a substitute only then to yank him off again just minutes later after he was unable to get involved in the game or show enough commmitment. It was a perfect microcosm of his struggles on the pitch.

However, when Carlo Ancelotti became the permanent replacement, Kean never fitted in properly or performed with any consistency under his compatriot either.

Ancelotti didn’t seem to want him or couldn’t find a place for him in his 4-3-3 formation as he preferred a player like veteran superstar James Rodriguez in the wide attacking position that seemed best suited to Kean.

So, after a spell in France, he eventually returned to Italy and Juventus. Clearly it was very unlikely he would ever be seen in an Everton shirt again.

Although, as I’ve mentioned, Kean must himself accept a considerable amount of the blame for this wretched outcome, he is only one of so many high-profile and hugely expensive signings who have failed to perform to expectation. The obvious question is, why is that?

Their indivdual failures have surely been compounded though by the widly inconsistent transfer policies and constant changes of managers that have bedevilled this club under Moshiri’s ownership.

Now, Evertonians face the very real prospect that the Blues’ 71 year stay in England’s top flight is about to come to an end this season.

If the Toffees’ are relegated, then the disasterous inability of the club’s inept hierachy to put an effective football strategy in place and find the right players, especially up front, will be a key factor.

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