Everton had a mostly-stellar transfer window, luring Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi, Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin to Merseyside. But one area of the squad Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands failed to improve is the defence, with our efforts to retain Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma falling short.
The Blues chiefs added a competent understudy for Seamus Coleman in hiring AS Monaco right-back Djibril Sidibe on loan, but another centre-back was seen by many as a key piece of business that had to be done this summer, with the boss otherwise taking up the season with three senior centre-halves on hand.
Yerry Mina is yet to prove he can be relied on week-in, week-out after an injury ravished debut season at Goodison Park, while Mason Holgate is yet to play a regular role in the first-team.
Talks were held with Manchester United during the final week of the market with an eye to sign Chris Smalling and then Marcos Rojo on loan, but Everton walked away from the table when the Red Devils would only listen to offers that would see either move to Merseyside permanently.
Now Silva is left with Michael Keane, Holgate and Mina to pick from when the Premier League commences on Saturday away to Crystal Palace, and Blues fans on Reddit have been speculating where the club’s transfer shortfall leaves Holgate.
The 22-year-old featured in the starting line-up for four of our first five top-flight fixtures last term, having come off the bench in the season opener at Wolverhampton Wanderers just before half-time following Phil Jagielka’s red card.
Silva then kept the 6 ft 1 Doncaster-born defender on the bench for matchdays six through to eight, but opted against keeping his name in the 18-man squad from there on after, before sanctioning a temporary move for Holgate to join West Bromwich Albion until the summer.
He only missed two Championship ties and one EFL Cup clash with the Baggies following his move to the Hawthorns, but it was only in his Carabao Cup appearance against Rotherham United that he featured at centre-half.
Darren Moore and then his interim successor James Shan both preferred to deploy the £6.3million-rated talent at right-back – and twice at right-midfield – but he will be expected to be a central-defender on Merseyside, if he is to play any part in our quest for a top-six finish.
Here’s what these fans feel the future holds for Holgate at Goodison Park, after one supporter suggested he could be a regular starter before Christmas…