By Matt Farr
Everton’s Steve Walsh has lifted the lid on the secrets behind his recent transfer window success.
Speaking on the club’s official website, the 51-year-old admitted that the ideal players are often those that have a strong character, which is equally as important as their talent – they need to be able to work just as hard for the team off the ball as they do when in possession.
The Toffees’ new director of football has established himself in England as one of the top talent spotters in the Premier League, having procured a number of star talents throughout his recruitment career.
Walsh, who was joint assistant manager at Premier League champions Leicester last season, was responsible for discovering bargain duo Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante for the Foxes, as well as Jamie Vardy, who had an integral part to play in their title triumph.
Everton pounced to snap up Walsh’s outstanding recruitment knowhow back in July, in the hope that he could bring the same talent to the Merseyside club in future.
Walsh has now revealed some of his secrets on the club’s website.
“You obviously do your homework,” Walsh said. “You ring people who have worked with them before, and I speak to players who have played with them before, especially if they’re experienced players and I trust their judgement. Basically, I try to find out as much about them as I can.
“The balance of the team is probably the key. You need your young players, who bring that enthusiasm and newness to it. Then you’ve got your experienced players, who have been there before and achieved.
“You also need players with different mentalities. Everyone has got to be behind the project and know what the way forward is, but they all bring their special things to it.”
Walsh plucked Kante, for example, out of relative obscurity in the summer of 2015, with the then 24-year-old becoming one of the hardest workers and most consistent performers in the Leicester side.
His influence in the midfield was critical to their title victory, something that has been proven again this term with league leaders Chelsea.
Leicester signed Kante for £8million in the summer of 2015 and sold him for £30m to Chelsea last summer.
Mahrez, meanwhile, was just 22-years-old when he joined Leicester from French second division side Le Havre, for a fee believed to have been around £425,000.
The Algeria international contributed 18 goals and 10 assists from 39 appearances last term, and is now valued by the club as high as £30million.
Since arriving at Goodison Park in the summer, Walsh has formed a close-knit relationship with manager Ronald Koeman, with the Dutch boss looking to him to bring forth more of the Premier League’s stars of the future.
In other Everton news, Chris Sutton believes Everton will do very well to keep hold of this player.