No, not that Steve Walsh, the other one. You can see how The Echo got confused (I can’t actually) but this is not the no-nonsense head-the-ball central defender from the Leciester City team of the 90s. Actually, we could do with him if he’s still fit enough to play.
No, this is the Chief Scout and occasional Assistant Manager at Leicester City for the last 5 years who, admit it, you’d never heard of until last week. Talks are under way but Everton are expected to make it official that Mr Walsh will become our Director of Football or something fancy like that. We’re even willing to pay over £1m to get him so he must have a pretty decent little black book entitled ‘boss footballers’ on him.
So Who Is Steve Walsh?
He’s in his early 60s and was born in Chorley, Lancashire, where he worked as a PE teacher in his early days whilst doing his coaching badges. He started scouting for a few clubs including Chelsea and scouted Zola and Drogba for them. Pretty neat, huh? Although I remember Zola being in the Italy team before he came to Chelsea, so that’s maybe not too impressive?
Anyway, he went to Newcastle and started working with Nigel ‘slightly aggressive’ Pearson and followed him to Leicester, Hull and back to Leicester again where he became his right-hand man. He stayed on once Pearson left and was involved in the signings of Kante, Vardy and Mahrez but also key players such as Drinkwater and Huth. He only extended his contract in May once they’d won the Premier League title so to grab him now is quite an achievement.
Does He Only Sign Amazing Players?
Well obviously not. You can’t keep taking punts on players and expect them all to come in. Jamie Vardy was obviously signed for £1m as a ‘Championship-style’ player from the lower leagues to get them promoted to the Premier League. To expect him to then go and achieve the title of ‘most abused England player on Twitter’ following the Euros is a title they could only dream of.
Leicester also wasted money on other players that cost a reasonable amount of money that have quietly been moved on. For every Mahrez there is an Andrej Kramaric. Who? Leicester signed him as a forward for £9m and shipped him out for an undisclosed fee this Summer. Leicester actually spent £35m on players last season (mostly last Summer) and whilst you wouldn’t argue with the final results you can’t expect every signing to hit the spot.
Inler was £5m, Amartey was again £5m, Ulloa was £8m the Summer before. Benelouane was also £5.6m alongside Okazaki for £7m last Summer. Some of these players have done well as squad players but would Everton fans be happy if players of their type (not ‘glamour’ signings) came through the door on a regular basis?
It’s going to be an odd time if we are going to see a large number of players coming and going as we look for the right mix of players. And now that Walsh is coming in does that mean that audacious bids for that Napoli defender, Witsel et al will hit the skids?
Everton fans are starting to get over-excited already about the prospect of having cash to spend and will no doubt want to see money splashed out on big names in fear of being left behind by other clubs. Everyone is now rich via the TV money, although few are as rich as us. The fans will expect us to flex our financial muscles and move up the table. Maybe even – shock – win something. At least a few home games. If not and the Goodison crowd are pretty well known for getting onto the backs of players, managers and Exec members alike. No-one wants another plane with a minty banner hooked up to it. Well apart from the Bunion maybe. The crazy funsters.
What Should We Expect From This Signing?
Well if you listen to the football experts out there you’d believe that the whole shape of life at Everton is about to change. You never know, it might. It might take a while for this to happen though I think.
If/when he arrives you’ll imagine that he’ll bring his files with him from Leicester City about who we might like to sign from his scouting days. Blimey, thinking about it, do you think he’ll be allowed to go in and collect them? If someone leaves my place of work we remove their PC access immediately and deactivate their swipe card.
Anyway, let’s assume he’s remembered some of them. These appointments don’t happen by accident and you’d expect that he’ll come armed with a shopping list of players that he’s identified. Leicester announced yesterday that they’ve finished shopping for the Summer (in the hope that Mahrez will stay if they lock the doors) so hopefully we’ll have a relatively clear run at some of his potential signings.
The whole ‘Everton Project’ will take a few years to come into fruition though. We’ve already seen that some top players may not be leaping at the chance to join us just yet until we start to get successful. A few £5m signings may come through the door over the coming months to bolster the squad we have alongside maybe one marquee signing to keep Moshiri happy. The start of the 2017-18 season could be very interesting indeed though.
In other news I keep seeing stories about Niasse going on loan to Galatasary. That would be for the best but I won’t celebrate us losing money in a deal. Maybe the fact that our other Chief Scout might be going to Man United will be a blessing in disguise.
Incidentally, I read this morning that the £10m that we’ve paid for Koeman, Walsh and the redundancy cash for Martinez is pretty much equal to David Moyes’ net spend over eleven years. Poor lad.
And remember, you can still get Everton at 12/1 to get into that top 4 this season via Bet365 (and a £200 welcome bonus to boot). Is this the signing that kick-starts our campaign?