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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Everton struck gold with “outstanding” brute

Everton supporters have been through the ringer through the course of the previous two seasons and unless Sean Dyche leads them on a solid winning run, they could face yet another relegation battle.

The Toffees have finished 16th and 17th during the last two Premier League campaigns and there has been a variety of reasons behind the poor performances and lack of confidence at the club. Both Rafa Benitez and Frank Lampard were far from ideal choices to lead the Merseyside outfit, while their records in the transfer market were underwhelming to say the least.

Players such as Neal Maupay, Salomon Rondon and Dele Alli didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and it is perhaps no surprise that Lampard and Benitez failed to make their mark in charge of the club.

In saying that, there have been a few hidden gems that have moved to Everton since the summer of 2021 which have proven to be solid signings and will play become key members of the squad in the coming years.

Nathan Patterson and Dwight McNeil are talented youngsters who could become integral members of the first team for the foreseeable future, yet it is a signing made by Lampard that could potentially turn into a lucrative piece of business by the Toffees…

How much did James Tarkowski cost Everton?

After escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth at the end of the 2021/22 campaign, Lampard entered the summer transfer window with grand designs on how to bolster his squad so that this wouldn’t occur again.


Amadou Onana looked like a promising arrival, joining from Lille, while James Garner signed from Manchester United and McNeil arrived from Burnley and these all looked like positive signings. James Tarkowski also made the move to Merseyside, and it was arguably their finest signing that summer, as he joined for nothing after he left Burnley following the expiration of his contract.

Director of football Kevin Thelwell praised the player when he joined, saying: “We are delighted to welcome a player of James’ quality to Everton and believe he will be an excellent addition to our squad. The statistics show that James has consistently been one of the Premier League’s most reliable defenders in recent years. Added to his playing attributes, his excellent leadership skills and experience will be a huge benefit, too.

“James is a player I’ve admired for many years and Frank was very keen to bring him to the Club. We look forward to him being a highly-valued member of our squad next season and in the years to come.”

This was a player who had made 219 appearances for Burnley and had spent the last six seasons in the top flight, gaining plenty of experience in the process.

The move has since gone on the become a very shrewd signing by the Toffees, especially considering his market value has risen due to his performances over the previous 12 months and this could potentially generate Everton a vast profit should they be tempted to sell him.

What is James Tarkowski’s market value now?

When the centre-back moved to Everton in July 2022, his market value was only €8.4m (£7.2m), yet over the next 12 months, this value would rise sharply.

Indeed, it didn’t even take a month for Tarkowski to be valued at €29.8m (£26m) according to Football Transfers and while this has dropped slightly in the months since, the defender is now currently worth €19m (£16m), and this represents an impressive increase from when he made the move to Everton in 2022.

Why is James Tarkowski worth this much?

Although the Toffees conceded 57 goals last season and finished in 17th place, just two points clear of the relegation zone, there were a couple of bright sparks throughout the season and Tarkowski was one of them.

The 30-year-old played a total of 40 games across all competitions during his maiden season on Merseyside, and he certainly proved to the supporters why the club were keen on signing him in the first place.

[FBCharts] James Tarkowski

Tarkowski ranked third across the Everton squad for overall Sofascore rating (7.2) during the 2022/23 season while also ranking third for accurate passes per game (34.6) and interceptions per game (1.3), clearly indicating that he settled in well at the club and was a positive figure as they narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship.

Not only impressive among his teammates, Tarkowski also showcased his abilities when compared to his positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues. Indeed, the defender ranked in the top 1% for blocks per 90 (2.46), the top 8% for aerials won per 90 (3.16) and rather remarkably the top 1% for touches in the opposition penalty area per 90 (2.33), indicating that he is among the finest on the continent over a wide range of metrics.

The former Burnley defender has continued this rich vein of form into the current season, topping the pile for Sofascore rating (7.33) and interceptions per game (1.7), while also ranking third for clearances per game (3.0) and fourth for accurate passes per game (35.6), emerging into a player Dyche can count on as he looks to lead them into the top half of the table.

Dyche knows all about his qualities, having managed him when they were both at Burnley and the 52-year-old has even lauded the defender as “outstanding” in the past.

Everton haven’t had much joy to cheer about with regard to success in the transfer market over the previous few years and this has arguably led to them underperforming and battling relegation on a consistent basis.

Tarkowski has proven to one of their few shining lights over the last year or so and his performances possibly allowed the Toffees to retain their Premier League status and without him performing heroics at the heart of the defence, they may have found themselves in the second tier this term.

There is still a long way to go in the current campaign, but Everton have no doubt hit the jackpot on Tarkowski, and they will hope he can give them the boost they need to push into the top half under Dyche.

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