Andre Gomes, Barcelona and why Everton should be confident of a permanent move
Background photo: Biloblue, CC BY-SA 4.0
When Everton head into the January transfer window, they'll be keen to get business done. A new striker is reportedly top of their wish list. Before securing that goalscorer, though, they have a more pressing matter. That is acquiring Andre Gomes on a permanent transfer.
Gomes arrived on loan from Barcelona in the summer transfer window. At the time some questioned why Everton were making the move as the Portuguese midfielder had not enjoyed a happy time at the Nou Camp.
After signing from Valencia in a big money move, the Catalans had placed big expectations on his shoulders. Some of the Cules were hopeful that he could help fill the Xavi void. It did not work out that way.
Gomes struggled with the pressure. His performances suffered and he never looked comfortable in the famous Barcelona shirt. The player himself has described the situation in Catalonia as a personal hell. Most at the club wrote him off as a lost cause and were happy to see him loaned out. They were even happier to learn Everton were paying for the privilege.
There were even those on Merseyside who questioned the deal. They had seen Gomes at Barcelona and struggled to see how he’d improve their team. Three months on from the day he signed, there are no such doubts. Instead, every Evertonian believes the club should pay whatever it costs to make his transfer a permanent one.
That is a result of his ever-improving performances. After shaking off an injury and finding his fitness, Gomes has been nothing short of exceptional. Calm on the ball with an eye for a pass and the ability to drag his team forward he has established himself as the heartbeat of Marco Silva’s team.
That was all seen in the recent Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool. In an impressive Everton performance, Gomes was the shining light. He controlled the midfield, dictated the tempo and was a worthy winner of his Man of the Match award. Even Liverpool fans were left impressed by his performance.
Gomes is the best midfielder Everton have had on their books since Mikel Arteta. He is also the perfect fit for the style Silva has this team playing. Indeed they could not play as they do without him in the middle. Players such as Idrissa Gana Gueye and Richarlison are thriving as a result of his impressive displays in the middle of the park.
The question now is whether Everton can convince Barcelona to sell. They have made it clear that is what they want, while remaining hopeful that both parties can come to an agreement that suits all involved.
Most of their pulling power will be in selling Everton to Gomes and in that regard they have much to offer. Unlike last year this is a club that is going places. They have ambition, money to spend and a plan to get there. Director of Football Marcel Brands has set them on a path that is currently reaping rewards. This club has ambitions and that is attractive to players.
So is playing for a manager who wants his side to play attractive football. Silva is that kind of manager. He has this Everton team playing modern, forward-thinking, attacking football. Gomes has thrived in that system already.
Crucially too, it’s got them competing at the right end of the table. Everton are already in the top six. While that may change in the coming months, its shown this system and style is one that can be successful. Players want to play in teams that compete. Everton are promising to do just that. Not on the pitch but financially too. They’re showing the kind of ambition that players like to see.
Gomes himself is happy and that is crucial. He is physically and mentally fit. He has shaken off the malaise that blighted him at Barcelona and is now playing some of his best football. He has settled well in Liverpool and looks genuinely pleased to be at the club.
More than that, he knows everyone at the club wants him. He has already spoken about the warmth and support he has felt from everyone at Everton. Those are things that are no on offer in the ‘hell’ that was Barcelona.
Of course, the Catalans could put a spanner in the works by refusing to sell. That, however, is unlikely to happen. They are as keen on a sale as Everton are. They seemingly have no place for Gomes in their team. Given the state of their finances, they also need the money and Gomes would command a significant fee.
All those factors make this a deal that Everton could get done. They want it, the player is open to it and his parent club are likely to be interested also. Brands will know all that and is likely to try and use his powers of persuasion to make it happen.
That process will have to be started as soon as possible. Gomes is a talented player who is back to his best. He could be the heartbeat of this Everton team for years to come. Securing him ahead of other potential suitors would be the best move they’ve made in years.