Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at Everton came as an immense shock to just about everyone. It was a big swoop for a club that has been going about making many other big swoops. Ancelotti coming in brought global spotlight to the Toffees for probably the first time in many years.
But it isn’t just about global attention that Everton will get Don Carlo. The former Napoli, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain manager has more in his locker than mere big name. One can only hope Everton kept all of them in mind before signing the Italian.
Everywhere Ancelotti has gone, he has won trophies. Bar Napoli- where off-field issues caused multiple problems for everyone at the club. There were criticisms about his training techniques at Bayern Munich. But Ancelotti still won trophies in Bavaria. It was the only German club he has managed till date.
For the Toffees, Moise Kean would be very happy. His substitution against Manchester United minutes after he came on, became a cause for controversy. The young Italian’s situation has seen Duncan Ferguson get a lot of criticism for his treatment.
There is even a feeling that ever since Kean came to Italy, he’s been managed poorly. For a player who was racially abused by Cagliari fans not long ago, life hasn’t really been fair to him. But Ancelotti could help his compatriot massively. He’s seen him from closer than anyone else. He knows what will bring the best out of him.
Ancelotti’s been managing world-class athletes for a while now. He’s been to clubs with strong personalities- those like Kaka, Rino Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Didier Drogba, John Terry and more. He’s managed their egos and kept them happy. Because of that, these lofty figures have played for him.
Ancelotti will get Everton players on his side. That is perhaps what the players need. It is a good squad. Even though the club couldn’t replace Idrissa Gueye properly and couldn’t sign another centre-back, it is a good side. They have not replaced Romelu Lukaku yet, as the Toffees have been lacking a striker who can score 25 goals a season. But Ancelotti’s man-management abilities can bring the best out of under-performing players. They will enjoy life.
But it is something else that will be a challenge. Ancelotti has hardly been someone who forms the foundations of teams. Be it in terms of the players at hand or the system’s foundation, he has always built on them. Be it at AC Milan, Chelsea, Real, Bayern Munich or Napoli. He came directly or some years after managers that had laid down a stylistic foundation for Don Carlo to take forward.
That’s exactly what Oliver Kay spoke of in his recent article for the Athletic. He said:
“He was building on the strongest of foundations. That does not diminish his success or his record in the slightest, but it does raise questions about his suitability for the type of challenge that awaits at Arsenal or Everton, where the foundations, in terms of the playing squad, are so flimsy and the individual and collective mentality seem so feeble. Both clubs need a revolution — and Ancelotti has never appeared the revolutionary type.”
And that is exactly why Ancelotti’s arrival at Goodison Park is strange. Everton have lost their identity over the last few years. They aren’t the same high-pressing side that they were under Ronald Koeman and Roberto Martinez. They’ve been needing a manager who can come in and do a job in the long-term.
Ancelotti has hardly been a one to do that. But there could still be a plan from Farhad Moshiri and co.
The Toffees have been spending big over the last few years. They spent €120 million in the summer and that’s been a pattern over the last few seasons too. Ancelotti is someone who can manage the big-money personalities that Everton sign in the future. There could well be a guarantee of big spending that Ancelotti could keep happy.
But it isn’t exactly what the club needs. They need an identity- something that they can identify with. Ancelotti doesn’t promise that.