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Everton struck gold with Gareth Barry

Everton have a reputation for transfer disasters under the ownership of chairman Farhad Moshiri with over £500m spent and nothing to show for it but financial worries and a relegation scrap.

However, the powers at Goodison Park don’t always get it wrong and this season so far it is looking like the recruitment over the summer has made huge improvements to the side, with eight new signings making their move to Merseyside.

Everton currently have the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding just nine goals alongside Manchester City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United, matching their bitter rivals Liverpool for points in the table as it stands.

The impact of the likes of Conor Coady, Amadou Onana and James Tarkowski has without a doubt had a hugely positive influence on Frank Lampard’s side but the Toffees have seen even better days and that is what the manager will be hoping to bring back to the club as he continues to develop his team.

One player who will be a fond blast from the past for the Goodison Park faithful and is proof of how influential even just one signing can be in a team was former Everton midfielder, Gareth Barry.

The now-41-year-old Barry joined Everton back in 2013 on loan and then signed permanently when he was 33 years old on a free transfer and three-year-deal from Manchester City, and it’s safe to say Bill Kenwright struck gold on the former England international.

The machine-like midfielder, who was hailed “wonderful” by ex-manager Tony Pulis, tallied up 155 appearances, five goals and 12 assists for Everton, and even broke club records owing to his work ethic in the centre of the pitch.

Barry completed more passes than any of his Everton teammates during his time on Merseyside helping the Toffees amass a club-record 72 points in the Premier League to finish fifth in 2014 under the management of Roberto Martinez.

The former Everton boss was a huge admirer of the talented stalwart who won Everton Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year too back in 2015/16 with Martinez dubbing Barry “unique”:

“You always find it difficult to find a No 6, that defensive midfielder who is tactically aware in the English game. Gareth has developed a continental approach in that role, and that’s quite unique. If he was a foreigner, then maybe he would be a bit more glamorous for everyone to highlight.”

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Everton's Richarlison celebrates scoring their first goal

Firstly, where did Everton finish in the Premier League?

The talented ace left Everton at the end of his contract in 2017 and joined West Bromwich Albion until hanging up his boots once and for all in 2020 after becoming the record-holder for the most Premier League appearances over his 22-year career, featuring 653 times in the top-flight.

With that being said, there are not many players that Everton fans will look back fondly on over the past few years but there is no doubt that Barry will always be remembered for his hard work, dedication and the impact he made once upon a time on the blue half of Merseyside.