Transfer deadline day was a dismal affair for Rafa Benitez and Everton.
It was rather in tune with how the entire window had gone for a Toffees side who were clearly lacking the usual financial firepower.
Everton spent a grand total of £1.7m on five new recruits in the summer window.
Bizarrely, only one of those players actually cost an upfront transfer fee as Demarai Gray swapped German shores for English ones.
A late move for Salomon Rondon wrapped up their business but it could have been a lot more exciting.
That’s because according to Dutch reports, Benitez and co made a late move to sign Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek.
They submitted a loan offer to acquire the Netherlands international but it was a move that was ultimately blocked.
Van de Beek was keen on the move to Goodison Park but it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who stepped in and stopped the deal from being completed.
It doesn’t appear as though Everton could have done much to stop Solskjaer’s thought process but if they’d tried earlier in the window, they may have had greater success.
PSG never came in for the Brazilian as they kept Kylian Mbappe in Paris despite an eye-watering bid of £189m from Real Madrid.
As for James, he couldn’t find a suitable club to sign for despite missing early parts of the campaign. Judging by the Colombian’s wages of around £200k-per-week, you’d have thought Everton would push more to sell an unhappy player.
However, that wasn’t the only disaster on deadline day. Van De Beek’s move was out of their hands in the end but it will be a huge blow that they weren’t able to conclude a deal.
After all, he’d have been an exceptional signing for the Toffees.
The former Ajax man hasn’t been able to settle in at Old Trafford, starting just eight times last term after moving from the Eredivisie.
His time in that division was sensational though as he contributed to ten goals and seven assists in his final campaign with Ajax.
A complete midfielder, Van De Beek would have offered more than just goal contributions to Benitez’s team though.
His two tackles per game in 2019/20 shows that he can also perform reliably from a defensive point of view.
Creative numbers of 1.8 key passes per match during a final season in his homeland dictate he’d have been a fine replacement for James too. Benitez should be gutted here.