The Everton team that could have been if David Moyes had reached the most important transfer targets


Football, like life in general, is full of “what if” and even though David Moyes had a keen sense of talent during his 11 years as manager of Everton, he was not always able to hit the targets he wanted.

Unlike in recent times, when ambitious owner Farhad Moshiri was able to flex his financial muscles and turn the Blues into major players in the transfer market, Moyes often worked on a tight budget during his tenure at Goodison Park.

As unpopular as it was with fans, the sale of local hero Wayne Rooney to Manchester United in 2004 helped keep the club afloat financially while reinvesting part of the funds from Joleon Lescott’s move to Manchester City in last days of summer. In 2009, there were no other significant subsequent expenses until the arrival of Nikica Jelavic in January 2012.

Thinking back to his regrets of transfer to Everton, Moyes lamented that he could not recruit Michael Essien at a time when he was still playing in France before his transfer of £ 24.4 million to Chelsea in 2005, but the Ghanaian legend was far from the only one who fled.

Here is a look at some of the other Scottish targets who have managed to shoot varying degrees at the royal blue jersey.


Although the eyebrows were raised at the time, Moyes credits his best signing in 2003 to Nigel Martyn, a veteran sniper – who had slipped into Everton’s hands seven years earlier.

One of his first acquisitions at Goodison, Richard Wright turned out to be a costly mistake, but Martyn ended up playing 100 times before being forced to hang up his gloves.

Tim Howard then served the club for a decade, making more appearances for Everton than any other foreign player, but it could have been so different if the Blues could have made a deal for a young hopeful called Petr Cech.

Leighton Baines d’Everton (right) is shot after his penalty is saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech (left) who celebrates

First on Everton’s radar while he was still a teenager during Walter Smith’s tenure, Goodison’s chiefs backed down from his asking price.

Like Essien, the Czech international won a treasure trove of medals at Stamford Bridge and was still playing Premier League football as recently as last season at Arsenal.


It has been over 28 years since the late Gary Ablett became the last player to go directly from Liverpool to Everton, but in the summer of 2004, another left-back defender almost followed in his footsteps through Stanley Park.

Djimi Traore had been with the Reds for five years, but had only made seven Premier League appearances in Gerard Houllier’s last season.

The player himself was keen to make the switch in search of regular football for the first team, saying, “A move to Everton would suit me because I love the city of Liverpool and have settled there. “

Wayne Rooney of Everton is attacked by Djimi Traore of Liverpool
Wayne Rooney of Everton is attacked by Djimi Traore of Liverpool

However, he ended up staying at Anfield and won the Champions League under Rafa Benitez.

In July 2009, Moyes and Everton were angry after being gassed by Tottenham Hotspur of Harry Redknapp for a long-standing right-back target Kyle Naughton.

The player himself had agreed to personal terms with the Blues and his club Sheffield United had even posted a statement on their website explaining why he was going to Goodison Park.

However, the Spurs have come up with an offer to take him alongside a young prospect named Kyle Walker, who was a year younger and could be loaned to Bramall Lane for the following season.

The Londoners won with their double contract, leaving Blues officials angry.

Ironically, Naughton never reached the heights expected of him and now plays in the Swansea City Championship while Walker became an English international, winning triple with Manchester City last season.

Another player for White Hart Lane was elusive for Moyes, and this time even went so far as to bring the player to Everton.

Effective both in the rear center and as a support midfielder, Eric Dier has become one of the highest rated English players in the game right now and is a loyal supporter of the club (Tottenham) and the country.

Born in Cheltenham but raised in Portugal, a teenager Dier came to Everton as a young team player in 2011, loaned by Sporting CP with his parent club, saying it was “an opportunity for the athlete to grow in a more competitive and demanding environment. “

He was not eligible to play first team football and Moyes was never able to offer him a permanent contract.

Dier returned to England in 2014 when the Spurs paid £ 4 million for his services.


There was a time in the mid-2000s when the Argentinian playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme still seemed to be arriving at Goodison Park.

He was reportedly spotted at John Lennon Airport, wandering around St John’s market or barging into Winslow for a shandy.

Such speculation turned out to be false, but so was the rumor fever, in the summer of 2007, the official Everton website announced that an agreement had been reached.

In less than an hour, the story had been pulled and an excuse for the article being an example of “test data” was given.

Another perpetually linked name was the Portuguese international Joao Moutinho Sport. This interest seems to have been more concrete, but after subsequent moves to Porto and Monaco, he finally reached the Premier League to join the Wolves under the guidance of his compatriot Nuno in 2018, an entire decade after Moyes wanted it.

Moutinho said: “It was close before but it was my mission to play in the Premier League.

“I have had one or two opportunities in the past. The first was Everton, the second Spurs. I’m in the room, but the next day, I had a match in Portugal, it did not happen, it was one minute from the event… I had actually signed but it was a minute after the deadline. “

Also in 2008, a Cardiff City teenager Aaron Ramsey was one of the hottest prospects in the game.

Moyes managed to get the young Welshman to negotiate but couldn’t convince him to trade the Bluebirds for the Blues and Ramsey would choose Arsenal instead, staying with the Gunners for the next 11 years before completing a free transfer from Bosman style at Juventus last summer. .

In 2011, Scott Parker managed to be named the FWA Footballer of the Year despite playing for a West Ham United team that was relegated to the Premier League, but Moyes had long been an admirer of his talents.

He tried to sign Parker for Everton during his stays at Charlton Athletic and Chelsea, but Graeme Souness was the only manager to convince the Londoner to head north during his career when he joined Newcastle United in 2005.

Speaking of Kopites, Moyes burned his fingers with the neighbors the same summer when he was about to break his head Mohamed Sissoko, the man from Valencia has chosen to team up with his former boss Benitez at Anfield.

Moyes recalls, “I felt it was an agreement that we were about to reach and we were disappointed not to sign it.

“We were finishing it for a lot less than Liverpool actually paid for it. “

A player who wishes not to have refused a transfer to Everton under Moyes was the Premier League icon Roy Keane.

Barry Horne of Everton with Roy Keane of Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup final

His stay at Manchester United ending in 2005, the Irish international was wanted by the Blues.

Keane believes he let his heart trump his head at the time by choosing his childhood team Celtic and in 2014 said, “Why didn’t I go to Everton? I wish I had gone to Celtic, and I couldn’t go to both.

“But Everton would have been good. I spoke to Phil Neville, who had moved there earlier in the season.

“I knew there were good people out there who could help me.

“I liked David Moyes, their manager. The president, Bill Kenwright, was very good with Michael in the negotiations. They offered me a lot more than Celtic paid me.

“But I think it would be difficult for me to play for another English team. Which is stupid, I guess, because it’s a deal.

“Everton could have given me a new lease of life. I might have been two or three years older there.

“The system they played would have suited me. I would have been a decent midfielder.

“(But) that doesn’t keep me awake at night. “


Moyes often complained that if he could have signed a prolific striker such as Romelu Lukaku, as did his successor Roberto Martinez, then he could have brought major honors to Everton who ultimately eluded him.

Alvaro Negredo ended up scoring 23 goals for Manchester City in the 2013/14 season, but Moyes tried to push him into the Premier League last January in what turned out to be his last transfer window in charge at Goodison.

The Scotsman said: “We wanted to add players if we could who could join the team and we tried to do so until the end, but for reasons beyond our control, this did not happen product. It wasn’t for want of trying, for sure.

” We tried [for Negredo], but it didn’t work. They wanted a lot more money than we had offered. “

Seamus Coleman takes on Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City
Seamus Coleman takes on Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City

Moyes also attempted to acquire a trio of frontmen with Anfield connections.

Having been awarded out of a Blue childhood movement Michael Owen Upon his return to Real Madrid’s Premier League in 2005, Moyes returned to the Newcastle United man four years later, but decided to join former Reds Manchester United enemies instead.

during Robbie Keane’s Moyes’ first goal at Tottenham was to regularly chase the top scorer in Irish history, but was never able to reach a deal.

The Dubliner finally reached Merseyside in the summer of 2008, but it was in Liverpool and after only half a season at Anfield, it was on its way back to the Spurs.

Welsh Craig Bellamy ended up having two spells with the Reds, but revealed that he was close to joining the Blues in 2005, but eventually joined his compatriot Mark Hughes at Blackburn Rovers.

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In 2012, he said, “David Moyes came down to Wales to see me. I told him about football; where he wanted the team to go and where he wanted me. He spoke very well – Everton is a good club, and you can’t deny this fact.

“He said he was a few weeks old; I need to sign a few more players, and we’ll see where we go from there. After a few weeks … I was ready to go to Everton.

“I was ready to sign, but the meeting I had at his home was completely different from that of a few weeks ago. He had a list of rules; I don’t know if anyone had been in his ear, but he looked completely different.

“Bill Kenwright was on the phone to push him … and then I felt, is he the one trying to sign me more? It seemed to be a U-turn from him. I remember going out of his house and saying to my agent: no, this is not going to happen.

“Then I went to Blackburn. However, I think if I had been to Everton that summer, I would still be there. ”


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