Coleman, Davies and Lonergan offered new deals by cash-strapped Everton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Tom Davies of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on August 20, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Tom Davies of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on August 20, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

Seamus Coleman, Tom Davies and Andy Lonergan have this week been offered new deals by Everton.

With ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club’s  financial situation, their transfer policy was always likely to be about who they retained as much as who they recruit.

Many were hoping this summer would see a mass exodus of perceived ‘deadwood’ from Everton, but so far only Yerry Mina, Asmir Begovic and Andros Townsend have been confirmed to be leaving, as well as the club deciding not to make Conor Coady’s loan permanent.

So were the Blues right to offer new deals to the trio, and what does it tell us about the club’s recruitment policy?

Many fans will be anxious that it displays both a lack of ambition, and a lack of spending power, but does that do a disservice both to the players, and Sean Dyche’s vision for the medium-term structuring of the playing staff?

Veteran captain Coleman has undoubtedly been a truly great servant, but has clearly not been at his best for several seasons now, and the failure to adequately replace him is one of many failures of recruitment at the club over recent seasons.

However, it’s easy to see why the club have offered him a deal.

Nathan Patterson will surely be first choice right-back next season, and the club will hope he’s put this season’s injury woes behind him.

But he will need experienced cover, and Coleman seems the perfect mentor. It’s likely Coleman’s wages will be significantly reduced, as he moves towards the coaching role many believe he will be offered.

Also, his form picked up significantly when it really counted, with a seemingly newfound burst of energy evident in some superb performances, not least against Leeds, where his wonder goal clinched a vital win.

Assuming Patterson is able to avoid injury, Coleman could provide valuable cover when the young Scot is rested, as well as an experienced option from the bench.

Andy Lonergan has long been at the point in his career where he is happy to be a third-choice keeper. His wages will be comparatively very low, and it’s unlikely he will be called upon very often, if at all.

With Asmir Begovic opting to reject a new deal, the club will almost certainly be looking to bring in an experienced number two as cover, or perhaps competition, for Jordan Pickford. Lonergan’s presence is unlikely to have any true baring on the first team squad.

The decision to offer Tom Davies a new deal is the one that is likely to provoke most debate amongst Evertonians.

Few divide the fanbase or provoke the ire of the Everton Da’s like the academy product. After bursting onto the scene with a brilliant solo goal against Manchester City, it’s fair to say Davies hasn’t lived up to the expectations that goal prompted.

But Davies’ emergence coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods in the club’s history, with him playing under Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelloti, Rafa Benitez, Frank Lampard and now Sean Dyche in a relatively short time frame.

Such change is unlikely to aid the development of any players, and Davies has arguably suffered more than most from this period of unrest, playing only 155 games in eight years.

Other players have managed to nail down regular gametime in this period, however, and questions must surely be asked of Davies.

Not only has he failed to make a place in the team his own, but many are still puzzled as to what his best position on the pitch is. ‘Central midfielder’ is an overly vague term in modern football, with a more micro focus on the various midfield roles.

Davies, however, doesn’t quite seem to truly fit into any of them.

He lacks the pace and stamina to be a box-to-box number eight, and probably doesn’t quite possess the technique of a number ten.

He was often used in a deeper holding role by Ancelotti and showed signs of growing into the role, but an overall lack of awareness saw him all-too-frequently losing possession in dangerous deep areas.

A lack of discipline was sometimes evident too, with him picking up needless yellow cards and giving away free kicks. In fact last season, he received more yellow cards than he managed goals and assists combined.

it’s worth keeping in mind however, that, despite having been on the scene for many years, Davies is still only 24 years old.

As mentioned before, he has hardly had the most settled of developmental years at Everton, and he may benefit from, hopefully, finally having a settled manager with a clear vision of how he wants to play.

Despite not having started a game under Dyche, the boss has clearly seen enough of Davies to believe he can play a part, if only as a useful squad member.

Does this tell us much about the likely level of transfer activity ahead? Yes and no. It speaks of a certain thriftiness that many of us were expecting, and the confines within which Dyche and Kevin Thelwell are likely to be forced to operate.

On the other hand, it may also suggest that short term fixes are being sought in certain areas of the team to enable whatever money is available to be spent where it is really needed.

Why spend big filling out the midfield depth when we all know a striker is top priority for Everton this summer?

While the decision to retain these players (assuming they accept the deals on offer) may have been largely born out of necessity, there are clearly compelling arguments in favour of all three, and it’s safe to say that if Dyche didn’t want them at the club, they’d have been moved on.

Whatever the reasoning, as fans we have to hope the manager has a plan for all three and, having turned a dreadful season around, he will be able to make the best use of them, if only in the short term.

Should they sign, they may not they may be the most inspiring of ‘new’ signings, but they are certainly pragmatic ones, and that probably reflects where the club is right now.