Belfast Telegraph

Silva happy with Everton business despite centre-back shortage

Everton have just three recognised centre-backs to start the season.

Marco Silva insists he is happy with Everton’s transfer business (Martin Rickett/PA)
Marco Silva insists he is happy with Everton’s transfer business (Martin Rickett/PA)

By David Charlesworth, PA

Everton manager Marco Silva is concerned at the paucity of centre-half options available to him but insists he is satisfied with the club’s business during the transfer window.

Winger Alex Iwobi became Everton’s seventh summer signing late on deadline day, joining right-back Djibril Sidibe, midfielders Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and striker Moise Kean at Goodison Park.

However, Kurt Zouma’s return to parent club Chelsea means Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate are the only established centre-backs ahead of Everton’s trip to Crystal Palace for their Premier League opener.

Silva said: “I’ll be honest, it’s not the best scenario for me as a coach. We have our targets, not just one or two players, there are more targets which for many reasons we didn’t achieve.

“It’s not the best scenario to start just with three defenders but it is what it is and we have to manage the situation in the best way.

“But when you plan one window, our targets are always to improve the squad, to give me better solutions. At the moment our squad is deeper than the last season.

“We are happy, we always want more but we are happy with what we did.”

The signing of Iwobi from Arsenal for a fee believed to be around £35million on a five-year contract offset the loss of Ademola Lookman as Everton were unable to persuade Crystal Palace to part with Wilfried Zaha.

The deal was submitted before the 5pm deadline on Thursday but did not get confirmed until four hours later.

Silva added: “If you try to do everything before, for me to have time to plan and to work during the pre-season, it is always the best scenario but in some markets you cannot achieve that. The market was difficult, not just for us.

“Since we lost Lookman in that position we look for one winger, we planned to sign a new winger and was in the last moment of the market.

“(Iwobi) is a quality player, this is the most important thing always for me. He can play out wide or behind the striker. He gives us different solutions and he comes to the club to improve our squad.”

Everton were heavily linked with a move for Zaha, who seems set to remain with the Eagles until January at the earliest.

Asked whether he expects Zaha to feature on Saturday afternoon, Silva replied: “It’s out of my control. It was not just our club that had interest in Zaha, not just us.

“He’s a very good player but he’s not our player, he’s Crystal Palace’s player. If he will play or not against us it is for (manager) Roy (Hodgson) to decide, it’s not for me. It will be a tough, tough, tough game for us with him or without him.”

Silva hinted there could be further departures in the next couple of weeks though midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will be staying put, the Portuguese saying: “It’s impossible for Morgan to leave our club.”

Silva was coy about naming a club captain to replace Phil Jagielka, who returned to Sheffield United over the summer, as he revealed Delph will miss the trip to Selhurst Park with a thigh injury, while Leighton Baines is a doubt.

He added: “Leighton started working with me in the middle of this week. Let’s see what will be my decision about him, but Fabian Delph will be out.”

PA

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