Marcel Brands hit gold with Everton’s deal to sign defender Ben Godfrey from Norwich City, with Tottenham Hotspur now reported to have been left incensed after missing out.
According to Football Insider, some senior Spurs executives have launched an inquest to see what lessons can be learned from missing out on signing Godfrey in October.
The centre-back moved to Goodison Park for £20m after a year in the Premier League with the Canaries, in which he helped Daniel Farke’s side keep two clean sheets in 30 games as the Carrow Road natives were relegated back to the Championship.
Everton are thought to have faced the greatest competition from newly-promoted Fulham in their quest to sign Godfrey, despite the 23-year-old being a player about whom Tottenham had first enquired more than a year before.
Spurs are claimed to have contacted Norwich to discuss Godfrey’s availability ahead of the January 2020 transfer window after discussions over a summer 2019 deal fell through, at which point they were made aware of the Canaries’ £20m-25m valuation.
It is not suggested that the north London outfit returned in the off-season with a new approach, but questions are now being asked as to why Jose Mourinho’s side did not push the Toffees harder before Godfrey penned a five-year deal at Goodison Park.
The England under-21 international has featured in all but three possible games since joining the Blues, having twice been rested and benched once due to a hamstring injury, while starting 22 of his 23 appearances across all competitions.
As well as being a regular across the Everton backline since joining the Toffees, Godfrey has earned more than his fair share of admirers having established himself comfortably against competition from Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate for a central defensive role.
No admirer appears to come bigger than Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti, who Football Insider note considers the £77,000-per-week enforcer to be his best central defender and the one with the most potential.
His performances at full-back after stepping in to replace Lucas Digne following the French ace undergoing surgery on an ankle ligament injury earlier in the season have also garnered rave reviews from former Toffees defender David Weir.
“He’s really stepped up to the plate. We all knew he was a good player when Everton signed him and had high hopes, but he’s exceeded those expectations by the level of his performance, both in central defence and also in full-backs as well,” Weir told Football Pass last month.
Godfrey’s displays in the Everton backline so far this season have returned a higher average number of successful tackles per Premier League game (1.58) than Mina (1) and Keane (0.72), along with a greater haul of ground duels won (2.47 to 1.58 and 0.96), plus more interceptions (1.21) than Mina (1.11), per SofaScore.
The York City product establishing himself so well as Ancelotti’s favoured option will go down as a masterclass by Everton’s Director of Football Brands, who – along with his team – was responsible for bringing Godfrey to Merseyside.
“He has surprised me because I didn’t know him so well,” Ancelotti said of Godfrey, via quotes in the Liverpool Echo last month. “The signing from the club, from our scouts has been good. He has been able to adapt very quickly to different positions.”