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Why everyone loses out if Anthony Gordon leaves Everton for Chelsea

Why everyone loses out if Anthony Gordon leaves Everton for Chelsea

There are countless cases of the football world going mad. Whether that be through transfers, criticism, or a lack of perspective or reality. Even decisions being made by managers, referees or governing bodies. However, there are times when a story emerges where you have to take a second and third glance, scoffing at it in a cynical way, and then it dawns on you that there is substance to it. Anthony Gordon being linked with a transfer to Chelsea is one of those stories.

That should not be taken as a show of disrespect towards Gordon. Far from it. The winger has transformed himself from a player who made more substitute appearances than starts for Preston North End during the second half of 2020-21 into someone who many will feel is now Everton‘s key man. That has not necessarily come through numbers with Gordon contributing just four goals and two assists from 35 appearances in the Premier League.

It is his ability to get Everton’s supporters on their feet through his energy, work-rate and perseverance that have made him such a crucial cog in Frank Lampard‘s starting lineup, and which is why his manager will stress to the club’s board that he is integral to his plans going forward.

But money talks, and that is the problem. From the perspective of the Everton board who have a history of making mistake after mistake in the transfer market, generating up to £50m for a talent who has been nurtured through the academy system and has made just 32 Premier League starts will feel like the deal of the century.

Everton's Anthony Gordon celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on April 8, 2022© Reuters

Not only would they benefit from the sheer size of the money received for his signature, but their well-documented position with FFP would be significantly strengthened. However, it would come at a cost. Is recouping £50m worth slowing down the heartbeat of a team that needs all the life it can muster after starting the season with back-to-back defeats?

The argument will be that Dwight McNeil is a ready-made replacement. The argument will be that more money can be committed to signing another top-quality striker to compete with Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The argument will be that there is enough value-for-money in the transfer market that an alternative can be found who can better Gordon’s numbers. But that is not what Everton are all about.

For the first time in years, their fanbase are universally behind a manager and a squad because their love for their football club is being reciprocated. Lampard has played an instrumental part in expressing that message off the pitch, but Gordon has been equally instrumental on it and should simply not be sold.

As far as Gordon is concerned, questions will be asked as to whether his head has or will be turned if Chelsea remain persistent with their pursuit of his services. If that proves to be the case, perhaps Everton have little choice, but Gordon would be well advised to put financial gain at a bigger club to the bottom of his priorities. That could be misconstrued to be a harsh assessment – after all, this is the 2021 Champions League winners that we are talking about here – but Gordon would arrive at Stamford Bridge as no more than a squad member and backup to Raheem Sterling.

Everton's Anthony Gordon in action with Newcastle United's Emil Krafth on March 7, 2022© Reuters

Gordon’s career is on an upward trajectory, but there are reasons for that. He has a manager who views him as one of the first names on the teamsheet and trusts him enough to allow him to express himself, knowing that he has the character and personality to grab games by the scruff of the neck and change them for the better. Gordon has been at the Merseyside club since 2012 and is more emotionally invested than any of his teammates. Only time will tell if his passion and determination carries over to another team, but he is far too inexperienced at the highest level to risk curtailing his development.

And then there is Chelsea, a club who are already well stocked for creative and attack-minded players and have a history of bringing in Englishmen from mid-table to lower-end clubs only for those deals not to pay off. The difference to previous situations is that Thomas Tuchel has more say in which players move to West London, so if Gordon eventually joins Chelsea, it is because the German views him as an asset. However, it feels far-fetched that Gordon would be provided with regular opportunities in the first XI.

Tuchel has been vocal about wanting players in the final third who can consistently provide assists and goals. Gordon has seven contributions in 51 Premier League outings, and 12 in 73 senior appearances for Everton and Preston combined. It is easy to see why Tuchel would be attracted to Gordon’s industrious nature, but he is seemingly asking Chelsea to spend a huge chunk of money on a player who will not solve the issues that he has already raised. Even if there is scope for progression under a different manager, Tuchel and Chelsea are guilty of being left fascinated by a player on a hot streak, and a proposal only makes sense to Chelsea if they are able to part ways with any unwanted players in part-exchange.

Everton have been frequently linked with the likes of Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja, but they should be off limits. If Chelsea can reduce any financial outlay on Gordon by including any two of Ethan Ampadu, Billy Gilmour and Michy Batshuayi in any proposal, then a scenario is created where more parties stand to benefit. Otherwise, Gordon should be jumping at the chance to extend his contract at Goodison Park and use that platform to continue to showcase his talent as a leading man on a weekly basis, not as a backup waiting for a chance that might not necessarily come.

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