Former Chelsea and Millwall striker Tony Cascarino has suggested Everton’s transfer policy this summer was “really weird”, as the Blues bid well below what they needed to pay for Wilfried Zaha and ultimately signed Alex Iwobi instead.
What’s he said?
Everton were heavily linked with a move to sign Crystal Palace forward Zaha in the summer, with the Blues reportedly offering the South London outfit a package totalling £60m in cash and outcast striker Cenk Tosun in July.
When that offer was rejected, a further approach of £70m plus James McCarthy and a one-season loan deal for Tosun was reported by The Guardian, but the Eagles rejected whatever bid was put in front of them, stating that only £100m outright would be enough to sign the Ivory Coast international.
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Palace’s refusal to strike an agreement sparked Zaha to take matters into his own hands and hand in a transfer request to try and force his way out of Selhurst Park, feeling the Eagles were trying to block him from leaving.
The Selhurst Park outfit’s refusal to sell below their asking price left Everton with the potential of making no further forward additions, but instead moved from South London to North and signed Iwobi from Arsenal for a potential £34m.
This decision has not sat right with Cascarino, who feels Everton moved below the market value for Zaha and ended up buying a player who was not who they needed.
Speaking on talkSPORT’s Weekend Sports Breakfast show (13/10/2019 at 09:05), the former Olympique de Marseille striker said:
“I never quite got the Wilf Zaha one. They made a bid for Zaha, and they ended up with Iwobi.
“Okay, they have different qualities. But Everton looked like they were trying to get to a level of competing against the top-six and then they couldn’t get him [Zaha], and it felt like a deal that really never got going. It was really weird.
“If you offer £50m-plus, you know you are going to have to offer more to go after Wilf. If you are looking at [being] a top-six team, I don’t think Iwobi ticks that box, at this moment. He is still a young man, so he could become a better player.”
Creativity over finishing in Iwobi over Zaha
Palace had every right to demand such a lofty figure for Zaha, who has been a shining light at Selhurst Park, and displayed the best form of his career with ten goals and ten assists in the Premier League last season.
Iwobi, on the other hand, cost just a fraction of the figure demanded by the Eagles because he was leaving Arsenal as a player that failed to live up to the demands bestowed on him, with only 15 goals and 27 assists in 149 games across all competitions.
He was, however, one of their best creative talents in the league last term, and that was what Everton signed by moving for the Nigerian.
Per ninety minutes in the Premier League last season, Iwobi had the fifth-highest number of key passes, per WhoScored data.
Everton are yet to turn those chances created into results, but once Iwobi’s average of one key ball per 90 minutes this season are scored from, pundits like Cascarino may look more positively on his move to Goodison Park.