Everton yearning for the Benítez days...
The Merseyside club finds itself in decline just one year after Rafa Benítez left - in spite of the 120 million investment in transfers since the Spanish coach’s departure.
On 16 January 2022, Everton announced that the club was parting company with manager Rafa Benítez. The team had picked up just one point from a possible 12 and it appeared that things were not working with the Spanish coach and were unlikely to. At the time of Benítez’s dismissal, Everton were 16th in the table, six points behind Norwich, who were third from bottom. One year on, and having played two games less, Everton are stuck in 19th position with the same number of points as the team who are bottom of the table, Southampton. The situation looks even worse under the coach who replaced Benítez, Frank Lampard - and after spending 120 million on eight reinforcements.
Benítez surprised some by accepting the challenge of managing Everton in the summer of 2021, becoming the first manager to have held the position at both Liverpool clubs. That summer, to the surprise of the Spaniard, the club spent just 2 million euros on transfers - the least outlay of any club in all of Europe’s major leagues and even in the English second tier, the Championship. Benítez spent the money on signing winger Demarai Gray, a player who is now valued at 20 million.
Everton only invested 2 million euros in transfers during Benítez’s first summer; in the last year with Lampard, 120M.
Despite the zero investment policy, Rafa’s start at Goodison Park was exciting, with the team dropping just five points in the first six games. But a bad run of injuries, which left him without several key players (Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina), together with a slim squad due to zero investment, meant that team dropped down to the other end of the standings. After 19 games and with just 19 points to show, the club terminated the coach’s contract.
West Ham, Benítez’s next destination?
After Rafa had departed and under new manager Frank Lampard, the new signings finally arrived - in both of the 2022 transfer windows. In total, Everton spent close to 120 million euros on transfers (118 more than what Benítez was given) and yet the team is now in a much worrying position. Immersed in the relegation places, Lampard’s team have just 15 points from 19 games.
On Saturday, Everton face West Ham, one of the clubs that Rafa Benítez has been linked to, in a contest where the futures of both coaches, Moyes and Lampard, are on the line.