Everton’s summer transfer window was a quiet affair with Rafa Benitez failing to flex the financial muscle of the Toffees.
Though, in short, there was actually very little to spend with Demarai Gray provoking the highest expenditure of just £1.7m.
You can’t accuse Everton for a lack of trying. As the deadline grew closer, Benitez looked at bringing Luis Diaz and Salomon Rondon to the club.
However, while Rondon did arrive, a swap deal involving Diaz and James Rodriguez fell through.
They also tried to sign Kyle Walker-Peters while Donny van de Beek was an exciting option on transfer deadline day.
Fabrizio Romano revealed what happened with the Manchester United midfielder on the Here We Go podcast this week.
He said: “They had an agreement with the player and they had a project for the player to make him a starter to give him game time so they were prepared to sign him on loan from Manchester United.
“They were also prepared to give Manchester United what they wanted for Van de Beek but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been very clear telling him [he wants him to stay].
Romano added: “From what I’m told Van de Beek he was not so happy because he wasn’t playing.”
“Everton were really, really close, Benitez wanted him, the whole board wanted him so it was more than an idea, it was a done deal really between Everton and Van de Beek but Manchester United said no.”
After not being given much money to spend in the transfer window, this was an incredibly shrewd approach from Benitez and co to try and lure one of the most exciting midfield players in Europe to the club.
Van de Beek has started just eight matches since arriving in English football but his talent is unquestionable after what we saw for Ajax.
With Rodriguez’s future so up in the air as well, this would have been the perfect replacement when you consider his ability to create and score goals.
During the 2018/19 season, the Dutchman scored a whopping 17 strikes and helped himself to 13 assists. A term later, van de Beek added ten more goals and 11 assists to his tally for the Eredivisie giants. This all happened during Ajax’s phenomenal run to the Champions League semi-finals too.
He’s not been able to replicate that in the Premier League yet but it shows the calibre of player Everton would have secured here.
The Netherlands international would have been an instant upgrade on many of the options the Toffees already have at their disposal, especially in the middle of the park.
Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are all valuable options, but they are more defensive based midfielders.
Doucoure can add the odd goal to his game but it’s nothing like the regularity with which van de Beek finds the net.
After spending so little this summer, Benitez should be angry to miss out on such an exceptional cut-price option.