The Everton supporters have become incredibly irritable and easily downbeat in recent years. A handful of different managerial appointments have failed to produce the type of enthralling football and results to boot which fans are craving.
And, without a club icon to genuinely salivate over on a weekly basis, the atmosphere around Goodison Park has become sour, stale and sobering. But the appointment of Marcel Brands and a subsequent summer spending spree in 2018 hinted that winds of change are blowing on the blue half of Merseyside.
The player who most quintessentially embodies the symptoms of change at Everton is Andre Gomes. After enduring a mentally traumatic spell in Catalonia, the Portugal international swapped Barcelona for Everton last summer on a season-long loan deal.
Opinions concerning whether Brands should pursue a permanent deal have been tempestuous throughout the campaign; a mid-season blip divided opinion but fans are slowly rallying round to call for his signature.
An outstanding performance against West Ham United last Saturday may well have swung popular opinion unanimously in his favour. The Liverpool Echo awarded Gomes with a 9/10 for ‘an incredible display’, while Silva made no secret of his desire to sign him permanently in the aftermath of proceedings.
It was the type of performance which vindicated Steve Sidwell’s glowing verdict of the classy playmaker while speaking on The Debate (31:35) in January earlier this year.
“Andre Gomes is absolutely world class for me, if they could keep hold of him that would be brilliant.”
But Gomes is so much more than just a quality footballer: he is an icon for fans to celebrate, a player with genuine pedigree and an emblem of Everton’s new-era.
The structure of Goodison Park may well look dated and in need of an injection of modern-day gentrification, but its rich history and loyal fanbase deserve to feast their eyes over players of elite quality; someone who forces fans to perch on the edge of their seat; to applaud the finesse and technical prowess of every immaculate involvement.
Everton have showcased enough financial power in the past to prove that they are in a position to meet a valuation at either end of the spectrum, and there is also ample evidence from Gomes’ first season in English football to suggest Brands must pursue a permanent deal.
Goodison is crying out for an iconic figure to evoke genuine excitement amongst the fans and Gomes can fill that void by extending his stay at Everton beyond the season.