At the start of the summer, the assumption was that Arsenal and by extension, Unai Emery, would not have a great deal of money available in terms of recruitment and therefore, many were predicting a difficult upcoming season for the Gunners. However, it seems as if Emery has been working miracles in the transfer market and has somehow made a very meagre budget go a long way, a budget which saw the North Londoners break their transfer record in order to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
The purchase of the 24-year-old is one that has been structured so that the transfer fee will be paid in instalments, and although Arsenal have gambled their future on a return to the Champions League, it is fair to say that risk often matches reward. But one player who will not be a part of Arsenal’s future is Alex Iwobi, as he made a transfer deadline day move to Premier League counterparts Everton and the forward will now be under the tutelage of Marco Silva at Goodison Park.
As always, the dream for Everton will be breaking the glass ceiling which is otherwise known as the ‘Big Six’ and although that is the fantasy, the reality is that they will have to make do with aiming to be the best of the rest. A look at the current football betting suggests that Everton are going to have competition in the race to earn a seventh-place finish next May, with Leicester and Wolves also eyeing up a potential Europa League berth themselves.
If Everton are to knock on the door of the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, then a lot is to be expected of their new signing Iwobi and if he is to catapult the Toffees to their best finish under Marco Silva, then his attacking output will need to improve. The Nigerian international scored just three goals in thirty-five Premier League appearances last season and although this does come with a caveat – that being a large number of those top-flight showings were from the substitutes bench – critics will rightly suggest that he can do better. However, he did assist seven goals so he certainly has the potential to be a creative force for his new side.
With Everton still something of a work in progress under Marco Silva, it will be interesting to see just what they can do in this new campaign but if the likes of Iwobi and fellow signing Moise Kean can slot into their new surroundings, it should be a very interesting season in the blue half of Merseyside. Although Iwobi did not feature in the opening weekend draw away at Crystal Palace, he will have been purchased with the left-wing position in mind and the former Gunner will now be tasked with providing flair and guile to the 4-2-3-1 formation that Silva favours.
This is a formation that has treated him well throughout his burgeoning coaching career and due to the number of impressive displays that he oversaw while in charge of previous club Watford, he would eventually find himself on Everton’s managerial radar. While in the aforementioned stalemate at Selhurst Park, it was the Brazilian Bernard who operated out on the left and the fact that he and his teammates failed to breach Palace’s defence will have only highlighted the need for further attacking reinforcements.
Reinforcements that come in the shape of a player who scored in a major European final last season and if the cousin of Jay-Jay Okocha can regularly find the net for his new employers, then his signing will surely prove to be a rather worthwhile investment.