Everton have been partial to the transfer misstep in recent years, with Farhad Moshiri having overseen the expenditure of over half a billion pounds with very little to show for it.
However, one of his smarter deals was seemingly to bring in Kevin Thelwell, who this summer has invested the £60m fee from the Richarlison sale wisely.
Who has been the better signing?
Before that deal had even taken place, however, the Toffees had reportedly wrapped up a move for Burnley defender James Tarkowski whose contract had expired as the season concluded.
Last season Frank Lampard’s side lacked leaders, and with their top defender Yerry Mina constantly out injured, they needed cover at centre back too.
In one fell swoop, the 44-year-old ticked both of these boxes by adding – in the words of Frank Lampard – a “strong leader” to his fold.
A Premier League-proven defender, the 29-year-old has instantly improved his new team alongside fellow newcomer Conor Coady. These two have headlined a defence that has currently conceded the second-fewest number of goals in the league.
This marks a sensational turnaround from a side that conceded 66 times last season.
It is no surprise that the former Burnley man’s valuation has risen, with CIES Football Observatory estimating him to be worth around £13m, proving that Everton’s decision to sign him really was shrewd.
For the Toffees to acquire a player of this ilk and value for free marks a sensational piece of business, the likes of which have not been seen in recent years at Goodison Park.
His defensive credentials are further supported by the fact that he ranks in the top 1% for blocks, clearances and aerials won per 90 for defenders across Europe’s top five leagues.
The solid stopper is the quintessential all-English defender, willing to put his body on the line for his club.
But that’s not to say he’s not without his class, as against West Ham United on Sunday he managed an 86% pass completion rate alongside spraying three accurate long balls across the park.
Under Lampard’s system, he has been allowed to flex his creative muscles, with an assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in pre-season potentially a sign of things to come.
It remains unbelievable that the Toffees pulled off this transfer for so cheap, and if he continues his form his value is sure to only increase.