liverpoolecho: It has arguably not made an appearance at Goodison Park for quite some time.
But a long overdue word can once again be associated with Everton.
The summer overhaul being carried out by Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands has so far largely targeted one specific area of the Blues squad.
Ancelotti spoke last season about his desire to find extra “energy” in midfield.
With the double swoop for Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, a much-needed injection of additional quality into the engine room has been secured.
Based on the evidence against Spurs on Sunday it has already given other players a lift too.
And that is before we even get on to the exciting debut of James Rodriguez in a more advanced attacking role.
But another word can also be connected with the Toffees as the Ancelotti project continues to build.
It may make some rivals and observers prickle. There may be risks attached with shelling out in the current financial climate.
But there can be no doubt Everton are aiming to improve and climb the ladder.
The victory in London at the weekend was the Blues’ first away win at a so-called ‘big six’ team in 41 matches. It was a sorry record that stretched back almost seven years.
And it was a shackle Ancelotti simply had to break to help the side kick on.
That result could begin to reshape perceptions of what Everton are all about.
In his blog last week ahead of the game, former Sky Sports broadcaster Richard Keys took a swipe at the signing of Rodriguez.
He wrote: “Everton? Anything other than a top half finish would be a total failure. Having appointed Ancelotti they had to back him, but I’m not convinced by James Rodriguez. If he was top drawer he wouldn’t be signing for Everton, whoever was in charge.
“I wouldn’t fancy him at Stoke on a wet Tuesday evening in November, but he’ll look great when the Toffees are 2-up at home. For Everton to make an impact, he’s GOT to dominate games.
“If I was Ancelotti I’d be going after Troy Deeney. That’s what Everton need – Reid and Gray again. Deeney would be fantastic around the club. Like Jagielka, he’s a ‘proper’ bloke.”
With no disrespect to Deeney – a fine and underrated footballer – he is not what the Blues need.
While another forward option would be useful for depth, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is already the man to lead the line. Richarlison is another star, and fans will hope to see more from Moise Kean this term.
Keys’ view tallied with the pessimistic perspective in some quarters that the best days of Rodriguez are behind him.
And there has also been an almost inverse inference elsewhere that the Colombian is too good for the club.
Both hot takes were hampered by the way he lit up the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Ahead of Sunday, Rodriguez had only trained in four sessions with Everton. Despite that, he was a standout performer. Clearly there is even more to come.
To give Keys his due, he has noted the big contribution of Allan since the weekend win.
And changed his tune on Rodriguez… slightly.
Blogging again yesterday, Keys said: “Everton looked good [vs Spurs]. James Rodriguez will become a firm favourite at Goodison. He was neat and tidy but I don’t think he affected a great deal. That’s what I expect most weeks.
“Allan, on the other hand, did Peter Reid’s old jersey justice. He was fantastic. His type are a dying breed, but Ancelotti has found a good one there. And what a good goal from Calvert-Lewin. I’ve said before – there’s something about him that I really like.”
The Premier League looks set to be as competitive as ever this campaign.
But Everton have shown a ruthless, ambitious streak in the transfer window and started like they mean business.
The challenge for Ancelotti and everyone else involved now is to keep it going. On and off the pitch.
Source: Published by liverpoolecho