Productive day capped by Baines retention

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Regularly lambasted for their lack of spending power, though with a degree of justification since football is richer than ever, it is tremendously ironic that the best business of deadline day did not cost Everton a penny. Amid two leaving and three arriving, the retention of Leighton Baines won the day.

There are few words capable of explaining his importance to Everton. The best description can be found by viewing a re-run of the Cardiff draw. Head and shoulders above his teammates, Baines was the best attacking threat despite his position in the back four.

Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesEverton rejected six bids over the summer for Leighton Baines, arguably the Premier League's most creative player last season.

The sight of Baines, the most creative player in the league last season, continuing in a blue shirt warrants a hat-tip in the direction of the club hierarchy. Refusing to budge in spite of relentless interest from Manchester United, the club rejected six bids over the summer; the last of which arrived yesterday totalling £15 million.

Elsewhere, Everton addressed key areas and recouped impressive fees on outgoings. This was a marked contrast to a number of deadline days gone before. The rarest of occurrences took place this summer; the squad increased in size and quality.

The last deal to go through was also the biggest as the inevitable departure of Marouane Fellaini came to fruition. Considering the history of deadline day debacles, the £27.5 million recouped is smart, well-negotiated business.

Instrumental in the past few seasons, Fellaini blossomed from a frantic midfield presence into a player able to grace the highest level. His strongest trait is regaining possession, yet there is also the aerial ability, untouchable chest control and goal-scoring ability.

Ultimately, with the player keen to move and Everton able to procure their desired valuation, the move suited all parties. Fellaini served the team well in these past five years, and few could forget the pirouette past Craig Bellamy. Unplayable at times in his natural central midfield position, United have inherited an excellent, versatile midfielder.

Moving forward, the task of filling the Fellaini-shaped void falls to Gareth Barry, signed on a season-long loan from Manchester City, and James McCarthy, who arrives from Wigan. Two astute additions, these deals strengthen a central midfield in dire need of bolstering.

Seemingly condemned following the 'Ozil incident' in the 2010 World Cup, Barry is a natural holding player, who offers experience and leadership, whilst comparing favourably to his midfield counterparts. Accompanied by a £13 million price tag, McCarthy is a player Roberto Martinez knows well and, composed in possession, the highly rated 22-year old boasts undoubted potential.

Michael Regan/Getty ImagesEverton was smart in parting with Marouane Fellaini, considering what they recouped for him.

Linked to the arrival of central midfield reinforcements is the fate of Leon Osman. These last-minute deals offer a chance for Osman -- wandering aimlessly around the midfield area giving the impression of a man lost on his travels -- to take a much-needed break from the first team.

The smartest business materialised in the striking department, toothless in the opening three matches. Arriving on a season-long loan, although unable to make his debut straight-away due to Everton facing his parent club, Romelu Lukaku offers a consistent goal threat.

Given the off-colour performances of Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Kone, the acquisition of a player who returned 17 goals and four assists in 35 matches (20 starts) last season is a shrewd one. The arrival of Lukaku, who is unlikely to feature at Chelsea after dropping down the order, paved the way for the exit of Victor Anichebe.

Best utilised as an impact player, evidenced by Anichebe holding the club record for most substitute appearances, the Nigerian forward has joined West Brom for a fee rising to £6 million. Often pilloried for his attitude and questionable work rate, Anichebe's noticeable improvements of last season hinted at a player finally maturing.

Even so, irrespective of the progress, Anichebe lacked the finishing credentials required for a team with designs on European football, and this is a tremendous deal for the club. There is a temptation to send West Brom an apology in advance such is the disparity between the fee and the player.

All the same, while this is easily the most productive deadline day in recent memory, this finishes on a cautionary note. There was considerable profit made this summer. Merge this with the influx of television money, and supporters will expect further investment in January or clear signs of the funds being used constructively.


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