It was 5 June. Bill Kenwright was parading Roberto Martínez as Everton's new manager and elaborating on the Spaniard's long-term vision of Champions League football at Goodison Park. "I have got to play my part in that too," he said. "The board has got to support the manager if we want Champions League." At 10pm on deadline day those words seemed destined to haunt the Everton chairman. One frenetic hour later he had delivered, and the criticism that plagued Everton's transfer conduct under David Moyes was being voiced around Old Trafford. Perhaps that is just a coincidence.
Kenwright is too much of a gentleman and a friend of Moyes to take comfort from his part in Manchester United's farcical transfer window. Even so, the blow of Moyes and his backroom team leaving Everton without a penny in compensation in July must have been softened by the extra £4m he exacted from United for Marouane Fellaini. The Belgium midfielder had been available for £23.5m until 31 July and went for £27.5m minutes before the 2 September deadline, without any loyalty payments having submitted a transfer request. A club record transfer receipt was just one of Everton's astute moves.
By 10pm on Monday Everton were in a familiar deadline day corner. Martínez had attended a work permit hearing in London for the Porto midfielder Fernando, only for it to transpire that no deal had been agreed with Porto or the player. Martínez had then taken Fellaini's transfer request in person back at Finch Farm, his ex-Wigan chairman Dave Whelan had ridiculed Everton's bid for James McCarthy on Sky, Manchester City had refused to agree terms over Gareth Barry's wages and Romelu Lukaku looked set for a return to West Bromwich Albion despite a deal being reached with Chelsea. And United had not conceded defeat on Leighton Baines after a £15m bid was rejected earlier in the day.
Everton may not have a reputation to match Daniel Levy in the transfer market but held their nerve in the face of varying problems and United pressure. Sixty minutes later, Martínez was reunited with McCarthy in a deal rising to £14m, Lukaku and Barry had joined on season-long loans, Kenwright had his asking price for Fellaini and Everton an extra £5m from Albion for Victor Anichebe. Mesut Ozil rightly took the deadline day headlines but an overall strategy was identified and delivered at Goodison.
Lukaku, who scored 17 goals on loan at the Hawthorns last season, offers the firepower and focal point that Martínez's team craves with Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Koné struggling. Fellaini's presence, goals and touch will be sorely missed by Everton but he is less effective in the holding midfield role that Martínez has deployed him in this season alongside Leon Osman. It is worth noting, as Martínez attempts to impose a possession game at Goodison, that both McCarthy and Barry completed more passes per 90 minutes last season than any Everton player (51 and 59 respectively compared to Darron Gibson's 46.4).
"It's fantastic business," said Barry, who explained the tense end to Everton's window at his unveiling on Tuesday. "I was sitting at home at about 7pm and then I got a call telling me to get in the car and come over because the deal was close. Then I got a call to say the deal wasn't done so I couldn't drive into the training ground. I didn't want to look like Peter Odemwingie last year! You learn from watching things like that so I drove around to waste time and eventually stopped for a coffee.
"Then I got the call to say it was agreed and I could come in. I was sat here finalising things when, all of a sudden, James McCarthy walks through the door. We were both watching the television and it was great news when they said Lukaku had been done as well, though obviously he was not here as he's away with Belgium. You want to be joining a team that's improving rather than going in the opposite direction and Everton have definitely strengthened. Obviously there are some fantastic teams out there who have spent a lot of money but there is no reason, when you look at this squad, why Everton cannot compete for fourth."
Everton intend to offer Baines a new contract now the window has closed and, despite making a profit this summer, £2m of the Fellaini fee is owed to his former club Standard Liège while the loan deals for Lukaku and Barry will cost close to £10m. Kenwright, meanwhile, finds himself in the rare position of receiving credit where credit is due.