Rumours surfaced on Sunday afternoon that West Ham were eyeing up a move for Tom Davies. A worrying pattern has started to emerge under both Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce’s reigns at the club, involving numerous youngsters being sold or loaned.
A youth system that has for so long been renowned as one of the best for producing consistent and capable talent, Everton’s policy to promote from within has always been the way. More recently, however, a worrying trait has started to appear from Everton’s most recent first team managers, both of which haven’t been renowned at their previous clubs for backing youth.
Ronald Koeman arrived at Everton with somewhat of a directive to utilise the youth players at the club where possible and bring in new young talent from other clubs. Amongst those younger players that arrived under Koeman was Ademola Lookman, Nikola Vlasic and Lewis Gibson, with the latter signed for our u23s side. But, Koeman also began the trait of selling or loaning our academy products.
Kieran Dowell was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest, much to peoples initial surprise after he performed outstandingly in 3 of Everton’s 4 preseason fixtures. Dowell’s loan was perhaps the right thing to do when Koeman’s drawn out pursuit of Gylfi Sigurdsson came to a successful climax for Everton. But, as Dowell has continued to show on a regular basis at Forest, he is more than ready to be involved in the first team and push for a place in the starting XI back at his boyhood club.
Ronald Koeman also opted too loan out both Tyias Browning and Matthew Pennington to two different Championship clubs in his time at Everton.
After Koeman departed, Everton found themselves in a teetering position in the league table and a manager needed to come in and stem the flow. The club took no risks in signing Sam Allardyce to hopefully ensure any threat of heading further towards the relegation zone was prevented, but also in the hope a respectable finish in the table could eventually be achieved. With Allardyce only signing what appears to be a temporary 18 month contract, Everton’s board have a responsibility to it’s youth players to ensure any decisions made by the current managers are not permanent and any given player has the opportunity to prove themselves under a more permanent appointment.
The club has already succumbed to selling youth product Liam Walsh in this current transfer window, a decision that may have started the alarm bells ringing. Walsh was a highly thought of member of Everton’s youth setup when he was making his way through the respective age groups. Unfortunately for Liam, our previous manager signed 4 central midfield players, both defensive and attacking. This meant that with Idrissa Gana Gueye, Muhamed Besic, Tom Davies, Beni Beninghime and James McCarthy already in the first team squad, a chance to prove himself would be pretty much impossible.
Other clubs have now got a sniff that Everton’s youth products aren’t as well protected as should and was the case in the past. Tom Davies is now thought to be on David Moyes’ radar at West Ham and a bid that wouldn’t usually be entertained may well be under Sam Allardyce.
Davies has found himself in patches of good and bad form throughout the season, something as a 19 year old, is likely to be another good learning opportunity. Amongst the patches of form this season, Davies has provided glimpses that he can be a real asset for the club when he comes of age and has always shown he has a steeliness that is needed from any good central midfielder. Rather than certain players being highlighted for poor performances, it must be recognised that Everton have found themselves in transitions from a couple of previous managers and their tactics, periods of learning for all players as the new managers tactics are grasped and periods of time whereby new players have come in and have had to learn traits of other players. It’s an awful lot for any seasoned professional to adapt to, hence why Everton’s youth products must be granted more patience and time.
If Everton’s officials have only shown 18 months worth of faith in Sam Allardyce and see a more certain future in another manager this summer, they must ban any permanent decisions being made on any members of their youth system and younger players. Whilst Everton have a wealth of options they could instead sell before any young player, it has to be that option and only that option until stability has been resumed to the clubs management role.
Muhamed Besic, Davy Klaasen, Sandro Ramirez, Joel and Stekelenburg are all players that must be considered for a transfer away from the club before losing a player such as Tom Davies. At the age of 19, Tom Davies still has the best part of 3 years before his overall potential can be decided upon. Davies is in a period time now when he is most likely to be impressionable and given the right directions, moulded into a more accomplished player. The selling of a player at this age would be the most ‘un-Everton’ and premature decision I think i’d have seen in many, many years watching the toffees.
The reaction from the majority of Everton fans when rumours became apparent that the likes of Davies was subject to interest, was one of anger and defensiveness. If permanent decisions on Everton’s young fringe players or first team players are made by Sam Allardyce, his time at the club could come to an end quicker than his 18 month contracts suggests.
In summary, Everton must, as a matter of common sense, wait until a permanent manager at the club has arrived and assessed all of his options. Sam Allardyce is probably not an option going past this season and the need protect our youth until that period of time is over and stability is regained is an absolute necessity. ‘NOT FOR SALE’ is the only answer acceptable.