COMMENT By Alex Taylor
On a day in which two of the most discussed and speculated transfers of the summer went through, just hours apart – it would have been delightfully simple to miss potentially the third, but perhaps most crucial signing of this summer’s transfer window.
The news that Manchester United had completed an £89million deal for Paul Pogba broke just just hours before John Stones confirmed his move to Manchester City neatly put an end to two of the biggest transfer sagas in either club’s history.
Yet neither deal might prove to be as significant in the short term as that of Everton-bound centre-back Ashley Williams.
Sky Sports claimed on their transfer centre blog (12:08pm) that Williams would travel to Merseyside on Tuesday afternoon to undergo a medical ahead of signing a two-year deal after Everton agreed a £12million fee with Swansea for the Wales captain.
A star at this summer’s European Championships in France, Williams has developed into one of the most solid, capable and dynamic defenders in England’s top-tier.
The 31-year-old played in all but two of Swansea’s domestic fixtures last season and has the potential to transform a Blues defence that all too often made allowances for an inconsistent Stones last season.
The new Manchester City star made three errors leading to goals in the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, the joint highest, and was a part of a leaky back-four that conceded a staggering 55 goals last term.
The Stones-William exchange could see the Goodison Park outfit make a £35.5million profit but also given them a better defender, who can provide the stability and leadership necessary to drive Ronald Koeman’s side toward a top-six finish.
The Toffees have undergone enormous transition over the last three months, out went Roberto Martinez, pushed aside was Bill Kenright and in came Ronald Koeman, Farhad Moshiri and Steve Walsh, as the club made sweeping changes off the field, to rectify problems on it.
As upper management shifts and moves, the key question Everton fans will ask is does the club have the playing personnel to succeed in the world’s most competitive league?
The signing of Williams would go a long way to answering that, and as transfer records break all around, it might just prove to be the smartest bit of business we see all summer.
In other Everton transfer news, Stones has been sensationally registered in Manchester City’s Champions League squad ahead of their play-off.