The transfer window has only been closed for a matter of 12 days but Everton are already planning their moves for January.
Rafa Benitez has enjoyed a vibrant life back in Merseyside and there are plenty of positives for the Toffees.
One player who Everton targeted in the final days of the summer market was Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
They lodged a bid to sign him on loan with an optional future fee but it was rejected by the Gunners who wanted an improved offer.
Yet, after the player took to Instagram in dismay, pleading that he was given a chance to play, it led to crunch talks between all parties.
Maitland-Niles eventually stayed in north London but according to fresh reports from ESPN, Everton are set to revive their chase in January.
The outlet states that a permanent move could be on the cards this time too.
The summer transfer window of 2021 was a downplayed affair for Everton, one that was out of character with their usual spending routine.
Since 2016/17, they have spent a combined £450m on new players who have failed to take them to the next level.
Yet, as the window slammed shut a fortnight ago, just £1.7m was spilt from Everton’s coffers in the latest market.
That’s more than can be said for a certain Alex Iwobi. He was the last man that Everton prised away from Arsenal and after a £34m switch, it has not panned out well at all.
The Nigerian has found the net on only five occasions in 69 outings, a dismal tally for someone who showed so much promise and potential in the red and white of Arsenal.
Maitland-Niles is a different player but he’s hardly pulling up many trees in the capital.
Although he’s capable of playing at right-back, a position Everton desperately need bodies in, he has disappointed in a central midfield role, a position where he’d prefer to play.
Dubbed a “Rolls-Royce” by Martin Keown a few years ago, his performances have dwindled and nothing summed that up more than his display against newly-promoted Norwich on Saturday.
Furthermore, his pass success rate of 80% left a lot to be desired for someone who was supposed to be playing in a possession-based system.
Although the £14.4m-rated gem still has plenty of time to grow and improve, Everton’s purchase of Iwobi back in 2019 suggests that recent history isn’t kind to the Toffees when they buy from north London.
This might be a move they want to swerve.