‘Can affect’ - Sean Dyche has already explained Everton’s stance on signing free agents
While the Toffees were hoping to add to their squad before the closure of the window, it didn't prove the case. Players were identified and deals were attempted to be brokered - yet Everton fell short. Dyche suggested that those that could have perhaps taken place did not make sense from a business model amid the club's precarious financial situation.
Perhaps a dormant finale may have been more palatable to supporters had the Blues not allowed three attacking players to depart. Alex Iwobi was undoubtedly the most prominent as he joined Fulham for around £22 million. With less than a year remaining on his contract and having yet to sign a new deal tabled to him months ago, a sale was understandable. Yet the versatile Nigeria international, a regular starter in the past two seasons, was not replaced. Neither was Neal Maupay, loaned to Brentford, nor Tom Cannon who left for Leicester for £7.5 million.
While Everton have Jack Harrison, signed on loan from Leeds United, still to be added to their options once he's recovered from a hip injury, as well as recruiting Beto, Arnaut Danjuma, Ashley Young and Youssef Chermiti, there are still some concerns as to whether there is enough depth in Dyche's squad.
There is still an avenue Everton can go down should they wish to augment their options. While recruiting fresh faces from other clubs is no longer permitted until January, the free-agent market is a possibility. Several players remain without a club, including former Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
The Spaniard isn't someone who would be on Dyche's radar given Jordan Pickford's place is insurmountable. But other positions in the forward areas, midfield or defence may be something that suits.
Dyche was in a similar position just days after he was appointed manager. On January transfer deadline day, some 24 hours after he officially was named Frank Lampard's successor, Everton were also unable to add to their roster.
Dyche was pressed on whether he would utilise the free agent market - and his response was telling. He said: “There's a list of players we'll be looking through and seeing if they fit what we're trying to do, do they fit what we need to achieve going forward and can they also do it pretty quickly. You can sign players for the future but that's different.
"We need players that can affect things now so the first port of call is in-house What have we got in-house and can we make sure they're ready for the task in front of us? Yet again, we're being totally disrespectful to football and the system that it is.
"Sometimes, some of them players are there for a reason because something has gone on at another club. You do also get the odd bit of gold like I said. We're looking at the market and the players out there but yet again, they've got to impact what we do. You've got to bring in players that affect what you do - otherwise, there is no point."
In truth, it’s difficult to see Dyche’s stance changing some seven months later. The Everton supremo has always maintained it will be futile to sign players unless they can make an impact. After the 2-2 draw to Sheffield United, he stated how the Toffees can use the international break to get the likes of Harrison and Dwight McNeil fitter. Unless a real gem is out there, then Dyche is unlikely to act.