The £160m truth about Everton laid bare at Wolves and why Rafa Benitez must be supported
The Toffees boss is feeling the ramifications of the mistakes of his predecessors and the Goodison hierarchy.
Another sobering night. Another defeat that Everton couldn't have any grievances about.
It was in the second half when the Toffees crumbled against the Hornets.
At Molineux, this time it was an insipid opening 45 minutes that led to Rafa Benitez's side succumbing to a third successive Premier League defeat.
The same glaring problems occurred. The Toffees again were lacklustre at defending set-pieces, frail in the middle of the park and individual mistakes were committed.
Some fans have pointed the finger at Benitez following the full-time whistle. He is the one who works with the players all week in training and picks the team, after all.
However, there's a decent portion of supporters who are aware the problem runs much deeper than the Everton manager.
It stems from years of profligacy from predecessors and those in the Goodison Park hierarchy, with Benitez bearing the brunt.
In the visitors' starting line-up, there were no less than seven players who cost the club in excess of £20 million. None were recruited by Benitez. What’s more, an unused substitute was £27 million Cenk Tosun.
The only two players from the outset Benitez did bring in - Demari Gray and Andros Townsend - were captured for a combined £1.7 million. A meagre amount these days.
Granted, the Blues were four indispensable troops short in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Yerry Mine and Lucas Digne.
But given the cash that's been spent during owner Farhad Moshiri's tenure, Everton's options should be greater. Strength in depth is scant.
Perhaps Benitez could have got his tactics and team selection better. Certainly, Fabian Delph provided significantly more steel and nous than Jean-Philippe Gbamin in the engine room when coming on at the interval.
Meanwhile, Anthony Gordon created plenty more than Alex Iwobi in his 12-minute cameo despite the latter bagging the 65th-minute consolation goal.
Still, Benitez has inherited a squad awash of players whose ability looks short of what he requires - and scarce of the underbelly he demands. Many of those have been brought in at an inflated price, too.
Character is what the Goodison chief pinpointed his side lacked as they were overrun and outplayed by Wolves in the first half.
Benitez felt the improvements made following the break were more down to a changing of that.
With that said, you get the impression Gbamin might not be getting another chance anytime soon.
Some £25 million was paid for the Ivory Coast international from Mainz in the summer of 2019. He made only his fifth Everton appearance at Molineux. That works out at just the £5 million per outing.
He's one of the many recruits who you can label as a waste of dosh.
Struggles laid bare
When the Blues have all of their players fit, they can be a potent side. After the rampant start to the season, there were some hopes a European challenge could be forged.
Yet the caveat was always if, and when, injuries would bite. Granted, it's a freak scenario having a quartet of big hitters in the treatment room simultaneously.
Even still, with the cash that's been splashed over the years, Everton should be profusely better equipped to cope.
Instead, there were two substitute goalkeepers in Asmir Begovic and Andy Lonergan on the bench. It's not the first time that's happened this season, either.
There was also 18-year-old Reece Welch, who's yet to make a senior appearance, there to make up the numbers.
Financial fair play restrictions hamstrung Benitez during the summer. Being unable to offload James Rodriguez - who'd earned a reported £200,000 during a sole season on Merseyside - didn't help.
But with the January transfer window opening exactly two months from the Wolves loss, Benitez needs to be supported.
He's shown in the formative stage of the season what the Toffees can look like when at their zenith; a robust, direct side with a mantra that ensures crosses are aplenty and runners flood into the box. Just the style of football Evertonians relish.
Most can agree stability is needed at Goodison after a turbulent few years. There's been too much chopping and changing in the hot seat.
If that's going to be the case then Benitez needs to be permitted the allowance of bringing in more of his own players who can fit his philosophy.