Only a week after reports stated that Roberto Martinez had “no intention of signing players this January transfer window,” Everton have bought striker Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers Zurich. Their name suggests two things, either they lost a bet or have bad judgment– so selling Tarashaj could be one in a long line of their mistakes.
This supposed prospect has signed a four and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee – although he will stay at his club on loan until the summer. All we really know is that he is 20 years old, has scored 8 times in his domestic league and once against England in an Under 21 international. Now, my knowledge of international players is limited, and so is the energy left in the batteries that power my magic crystal ball – So I can’t make an informed and balanced opinion on his signing. Although if I stuck to Everton fan sites and comment sections – I hear he is a “no one” an “unknown” & he “will be shite”. Obviously these fans have no problem seeing the future, although it is odd that none of them have harnessed this stupendous power to win the lottery or cure cancer. Unless they #Nostrodamus these predictions, I am disregarding them from now on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as sceptical as the next guy – even regarding Martinez – and I’m surely not one of those idiots who excommunicates Evertonians or calls them kopites on facebook just because they express disappointment with an Everton performance. Us toffees can choose to be positive or negative as we please, as long as it has some basis in reality; we can “get behind out team” without having to brown-nose every single aspect of our football club. This attitude that many take online is in clear breach of the ‘No True Scotsman’ logical fallacy, that is to say it is drivel. And yet even the silliest of fans, who predict this new signing is “shite”, may well be talking nonsense but they have no less right to call themselves Evertonians than I.
Now here is why I think they are probably wrong regarding unknown players. In truth, much of our success of late has been built on unknown players.
Before Everton F.C. helped shape the talents of players like Cahill, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Rooney, Arteta, Besic, Barkley, Deulofeu, Piennar – How many of us frantically tried to sign them on Championship Manager or Fifa? How many of us chose to include them in our fantasy football teams? Everton has a track record of bringing out the best in unknowns.
Sure, there have been lacklustre signings going back 10 years, not all unknowns mind you: Gascoigne, Beattie, Pistone, Linderoth, Atsu, Alcaraz, Drenthe etc. But how much did they cost the club? Bad signings for sure, but was it really bad business? We didn’t go the way of Leeds United.
Signing ‘unknowns’ has its benefits. If they (the players) fail, we are down a few million at best, if they succeed, we get to tell Chelsea to stick their £38 million where the sun don’t shine. And when was buying world class names a guarantee of success? Just ask Mourinho when he bought Fernando Torres for £50 million. It took Torres four years to score twenty goals for Chelsea; Nick Barmby only scored two less in the same time.
Something I think we have all taken for granted is the underlying optimism of this signing. Did any Everton fan actually think we needed more fire power up front?
Lukaku: Premier League’s joint top scorer as of today – just think of that for a moment, the top goal scorer doesn’t play for Chelsea, Arsenal or Man City – he plays for Everton. And he will be the league’s top scorer by the end of the season after we see Vardy trail off into the ether like so many ‘of the moment’ strikers before him.
Kone: For better or worse Wigan would not have lifted the FA cup without him.
Kevin Mirallas: Netted some important goals for us in the last few years and is a wonder to watch when he plays to his full potential.
Gerard Deulofeu: Who assists more deadly shots on target than the NRA & can dribble like a new-born at nap time.
Martinez seems to be investing in the future, even if this new guy is terrible, he most likely cost less than £3 million – And we probably spend more on oiling the caterpillar tracks on Lukaku’s feet.
It only takes one successful unknown to add tens of millions to our club’s value, and this guy could be a success. Not only are the odds in our favour, I think it is good business. Unknowns have and will always shape our team – Who had heard of Samuel Eto’o before he signed for Everton?