Wolves Shambles a Reminder That Everton Still Need Smart Investment to Improve

Nischal Schwager-Patel
Everton players in their Premier League defeat to Wolves.
Everton players in their Premier League defeat to Wolves. / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Despite showing promise since the restart, Everton fell to another damning league defeat on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Raúl Jiménez, Leander Dendoncker and Diogo Jota gave Wolves a comfortable 3-0 win at Molineux, at the expense of the lacklustre visitors.

That loss marks back-to-back away defeats for the Toffees, the fourth time that has happened this season. They remain 11th in the table, nine points off even a Europa League qualifying spot. In a season where they have had three different men in charge and are facing their worst league finish in four years, something needs to change.

Though if there is one positive for Everton, it is the man at the helm.

Since Carlo Ancelotti arrived in December, the Merseyside men have gone from four points off relegation to sitting comfortably in mid-table – only six teams scoring more points than them since his arrival (although, granted, three sides have the same number with a better goal difference).

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti celebrates a win in the Premier League.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti celebrates a win in the Premier League. / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

That's not good enough for the money Everton put into this team though.

The Toffees should be capable of finishing high up year in, year out, competing with the big six at the top. A mid-table finish does not do them justice, a club that has been in the Europa League twice in the last six years and hasn't finished lower than its current position since 2004.

Granted, they have done well to steer the ship away from relegation in a difficult season. Marco Silva had to go if the club wanted to move forward, leaving Duncan Ferguson to steady the ship ahead of Ancelotti’s arrival.

The Toffees have succeeded in stabilising themselves and ensuring their Premier League status but, with just three games to go, it is time to start looking ahead.

Everton players celebrate scoring in the draw against Southampton.
Everton players celebrate scoring in the draw against Southampton. / Pool/Getty Images

Ancelotti is absolutely the right man for Everton - a fantastic piece of recruitment by the board. He has the resources to make some vital signings, whether it be the time to rebuild over the summer or the crucial backing of the management.

The club needs to make an array of top signings, strengthening various areas across the pitch. Whether it is bolstering their backline, adding depth to midfield or signing a new prolific forward, some new arrivals are essential at Goodison Park.

So, who should Everton sign?

The Toffees have shipped a concerning 52 goals this season, the joint-seventh worst defence in the league. With just three central defenders in their squad having conceded more goals than anybody above them, they desperately need to buy a new centre-back.

Lille OSC's Gabriel Magalhães - a potential target for Everton.
Lille OSC's Gabriel Magalhães - a potential target for Everton. / Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Gabriel Magalhães of Lille has been heavily linked with a move to Merseyside, with Napoli also interested. The 22-year-old is valued at just £16m, a potential bargain in a market without many available. While they seem to be the underdogs, Everton have a number of appealing factors which could help them win the battle for the Brazilian.

The Toffees have the attractions of playing under Ancelotti, Premier League football and guaranteed status as a first-team player. However, Napoli have the money to make the more enticing financial offer, while the possibility of Europa League football is something that Everton cannot promise.

Gabriel is not the only South American defender Everton have an eye on, with decorated veterans Thiago Silva and Diego Godín also linked. Although that pair have a much bigger profile (and wage expectations) it could be the case that the younger, cheaper centre-back with the greatest potential is the smartest choice.

Ancelotti on the touchline for Everton.
Ancelotti on the touchline for Everton. / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

The backline is a key area for Ancelotti, where the most work needs to be done. He could also do with a top-class midfielder or forward, though their current options have shown promise and can excel if developed effectively by the Italian manager.

If Everton want to move forward and push for the European spots, simply spending lots of money will not do the job. They should know that by now. It is about making smart moves in the transfer market, by offloading excess players and signing top talents from Europe and beyond. Ancelotti has an intelligent football brain, and the club have to lean on his expertise heavily now.

This season has been underwhelming, highlighted by the sorry defeat at Wolves. But there is potential and promise at Goodison Park, with truly positive signs that they can return to the heights. It will be a defining transfer window for the Toffees, but if they make the right moves, they will reap the rewards in style.

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