Under Ronald Koeman, it seemed like the Iranian might have got it right from the very start, as the Dutchman managed to steer the Toffees to a 7th-placed finish during the 2016/17 season.
It only seemed right to back him with all of his financial might, and the summer following saw him unload £182.88m on numerous players with seemingly no real game plan in mind.
This resulted in an imbalanced squad, with the additions of Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen the most baffling given their desire to all play the same position.
With the former being something of a returning legend, and the Icelandic star being their record signing, it was the Dutch midfielder who unsurprisingly fell to the wayside.
He featured just 16 times for the Merseyside club and did not score, recording just one assist. For comparison, the season prior he had captained Ajax to a league title and Europa League Final, scoring 15 goals and assisting ten.
The 29-year-old’s average SofaScore rating for his one and only Premier League season was decidedly underwhelming, recording just a 6.50. He created zero big chances, averaged 0.3 key passes per game as well as managing just 0.3 shots on target per game.
His move to England had nullified his attacking instincts, and he would make the switch away from the club the summer following after Koeman had been sacked. Werder Bremen only had to pay £12m for him, just over £10m less than his asking price a year earlier.
Since returning to Ajax in back in 2020, he has somewhat rediscovered his form of old. Erik ten Hag praised the player he was when first leaving Amsterdam, but also claimed his experiences away will have grown him as a player too.
He noted: “When he left here he was, without discussion, the best player in the Netherlands, then he has been in the Premier League and the Bundesliga. He has incredible experience and he carries it with him.”
Clearly, Everton did not get the full force of this supposed “best player”, and he will be remembered as someone who seemed like a smart buy but ultimately failed; like most of the transfers from that fateful summer.