On transfer deadline day, Everton secured the £34 million signing of Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi, as reported by the BBC.
The 23-year Arsenal academy product is certainly a talented player. He also has plenty of potential to improve further in future. However, given that the Toffees were previously so keen to sign Wilfried Zaha, the arrival of the former Gunner at Goodison Park seems rather anti-climactic.
Marco Silva failed to land Zaha, so Everton’s late pursuit of Iwobi suggested the Arsenal man was a second choice target. In that sense, the Merseyside outfit have settled for less with the Nigerian.
Had Everton simply not signed either Zaha or Iwobi this summer, then they could have returned for the former in January. However, given they now have Iwobi, it would be hard for Silva to find room for the Ivory Coast international in his squad. Therefore, a return for the Crystal Palace man this winter now seems unlikely. In fact, an Arsenal bid for Zaha in January – who they were interested in this summer – may now be more likely given they’ve lost Iwobi.
Considering Everton’s ambition is to catch up with the likes of Arsenal, this is a disappointing hypothesis. Iwobi will not contribute what Zaha would have. It would have been a bolder step to not sign either player this summer, as in doing so brighter future possibilities may have opened up. Instead, the Toffees have demonstrated the limits of their ambition.