Everton’s New Signings: Ashley Young and Potential Arrival of Jonny Evans
Ashley Young’s One Year Contract with Everton
On Thursday, Everton announced the signing of Ashley Young on a one year contract. The former Watford, Aston Villa and Manchester United utility player turned 38 last week but is keen to carry on playing.
It’s understandable that Young feels he has something left to offer, having played a valuable role for Aston Villa for the past two seasons. Truthfully, he was overused at Villa, in large part because of Steven Gerrard’s ineptitude, but also because he deserved to play based on his performances. Unai Emery decided he didn’t want to offer Young a new deal at the end of the season, so the former England international became a free agent.
🗣️ "The manager was a key factor. It's a massive club."
Ashley Young speaks for the first time as an Everton player 🔷
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 13, 2023
Everton’s Link with Jonny Evans
On Friday, Everton has been linked to Jonny Evans. In a now deleted video posted on their social media, one of their coaches appeared to reveal that the Northern Irish defender was expected to be next through the door.
Evans will turn 36 in January and is out of contract following the expiry of his deal at Leicester City. Evans, a former Manchester United team-mate of Young’s, has vast experience in the Premier League but managed only 31 appearances in the league over the last two seasons due to continued injury issues.
Inconsistency due to Injuries
Having started the first seven games of the season, he got injured in early October and didn’t return to the team until March. He managed one minute off the bench against Chelsea before promptly missing the next nine games. Even when he could play at the end of the season, he looked extremely limited and appeared to be managing himself through games as he sought to keep Leicester in the division.
Last season wasn’t a one-off either. Evans missed the end of the 20/21 season through injury and was still absent for the beginning of the 21/22 campaign. He would then go on to miss another chunk of time that season as he racked up only 19 league appearances.
Sean Dyche’s Strategy: Need for Experience or Leadership?
The signings of Young and Evans are slightly odd for Everton, because they both operate in positions where Everton are relatively well stocked already. Perhaps Sean Dyche feels he needs to add experience to the squad, but does he really? Jordan Pickford, James Tarkowski, Michael Keane, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye and club captain Seamus Coleman are all 29 or older. They all have over 350 senior clubs matches under the belts, they all have international experience. What more experience do they need?
The Role of Young and Evans in the Everton Squad
Perhaps he views Young and Evans are leaders who can help the group, but does that mean they will be picked to player regularly? Both are still capable performers at the Premier League level but it’s undeniable that Everton have better options in their respective positions.
Are Everton broke? Or does Dyche just want to turn them into some sort of retirement community?