After many days full of rumors and speculation, it finally became official on Sunday: Newcastle United handed Everton the full bag and signed Anthony Gordon from the Toffees to bolster their offense and make a strong second-half run toward Champions League qualification.
The Magpies acquired Gordon on a permanent basis until the end of the 2026 season, signing the 21-year-old winger for a reported fee of €45M plus bonuses (reported to be around €5M+).
The 21-year-old comes from Everton’s academy, which he joined a decade ago after Liverpool rejected him. Gordon graduated to the senior team full-time ranks through the 2019-20 season and got his first start in the Merseyside Derby played then. He had had an earlier debut, all the way back in the 2017-18 Europa League campaign even before turning 17 (!) years old.
Ultimately and after all of the whispers out there, Gordon didn’t end up leaving the blue side of Merseyside last summer. That was the fate of Brazil international and fellow Toffee forward Richarlison, who was forced out of town because of economical issues at Everton.
Entering this season as the face of the club, and now one of the most prominent players in Tyneside after a mammoth fee was ponied up by Newcastle to acquire his services, it makes sense to ask our friends and their (at least partially) former supporters from Royal Blue Mersey a few questions about what the Newcastle faithful can expect from the young, freshest Magpie.
Here is our Q&A with Calvin, head of RBM.
Anthony Gordon has generated a lot of talk during the past 12 months. He was already making headlines because of his performances last season, then through the summer, and lastly last week holding out and forcing a transfer out by handing Everton a transfer request.
What would you say is something NUFC fans must know about Gordon?
Any transaction for Gordon was always going to be based mostly on one word—potential. The youngster has bags of it, to go along with plenty of pace. That in itself makes him an intriguing signing for any football club. With or without the ball at his feet, he is one of the fastest players in the league, and as long as he can be coached into harnessing that speed, he can go on to do great things.
Let’s move on to Gordon the player. What can Newcastle fans and coaches expect? How can he help the team? Is he just a pure, classic winger? Can he also sneak into striker positions and roles? Maybe drop to more of a midfield position? Tell us more!
Everton’s situation over the last couple of seasons with squad depth, player injuries, and general desperation from floundering about in the relegation zone has meant he’s gotten used everywhere on the pitch. The right-footed youngster has played both wings and even done some time—without much success, I must add—playing the ‘False 9’ role for Frank Lampard.
Where things went wrong for him is something that happens to many youngsters in different sports, when a player who is not expected to play a lot of minutes is forced into an every-week starting role. Gordon is a ‘chalk on his boots’ classic winger, and that is where he’s mostly been used, but we’re all curious to see if Eddie Howe wants to try something different with him.
As long as the Blues had Richarlison available and Dominic Calvert-Lewin fit, the pressure was off on Gordon especially when Demarai Gray is starting too. However, once DCL and Andros Townsend went out injured last season and the Brazilian was pushed into the striker’s role, suddenly Gordon was being asked to start every game, and more and more you could see him fading out of games.
The Blues putting ten men behind the ball and using counterattacks as their only outlet played into his strengths where he is able to chase the long ball played behind the backline, but as soon as possession was gained, he faltered.
His decision-making is what you would expect of any player his age, and though his shooting xG is quite decent, of his seven league goals at least 3-4 went in off deflections and one was a point-blank tap-in, so don’t buy into the narrative that he has a great shot.
If Howe sticks with his 4-3-3, I can see Gordon having success in the wide left position, with his playing time carefully controlled. If the Magpies are playing a game where they expect to see 60% or more of the ball, Gordon is not necessarily the best option to put on the pitch. However, in an open game, he could be deadly running onto Bruno playing a long ball behind a tiring defense late on.
Keeping it simple, if Gordon has generated any buzz about something that must have been his price. It’s £40M upfront without bonuses not even factored into that sum. Sheesh... That sounds like a lot for a young 21-year-old winger who hasn’t put together a large track record of excellence... Is he worth that price?
Right now, not at all. In a season or two... possibly not even then, either. A few years down the road, he could probably grow into a player you expect to pay £40M for, but it’s going to take Howe to work some more of the magic that has transformed this Newcastle side.
The comparisons with other young Everton forwards like Wayne Rooney, Francis Jeffers, and Ross Barkley will continue to persist, but every one of those “comparables” had already shown something before turning 21, in equally miserable Everton teams. Gordon has not really proven anything, so that price tag is certainly surprising.
There’s a saying that a footballer doesn’t determine his own price, and often after a player is signed it’s the fans that keep using the transfer fee as a barometer for a player’s success. To some extent, the heights he will hit at Newcastle might come down to how long the supporters are willing to forget what your side paid for him. If they start getting on his case because he doesn’t score again this season, then this could end quite badly for a youngster who has shown that he’s a confident player who needs a sustained run in the team to do well.
To be fair, Chelsea were willing to pay £60M for him last summer but if I’m correct Everton’s brass rejected the offer and Gordon accept to stay in Merseyside.
What happened for his price to drop that much? Is it about this season, in which he seems to have underperformed compared to the last one? Was his dip in form down to Lampard, the team as a whole, or off-field issues?
Every one of those things is correct. What we heard was that Chelsea were willing to pay about what Newcastle ended up paying for him, but the big thing was that the Blues had already sold Richarlison, and with DCL’s recent injury record, moving Gordon as well would pretty much doom the club before the season even started, hence the reluctance to do business then.
This season, without Richy and with DCL injured again, Gordon and Gray were pushed into starting every game, and almost immediately you could see the change in Gordon’s performances.
He left the club as joint top scorer, which sounds incredible until you read that the total is three league goals because the Blues are just miserable in front of goal. Any objective Evertonian will tell you they would rather have the £40m than Gordon right about now because that money should allow us to buy at least a couple of difference-makers. Whether we can trust our club to make the right decisions is a whole other story.
Is there anything else we need to know about Gordon? If not, here’s hoping that you can find peace in Sean Dyche’s appointment and save the season avoiding relegation. Still plenty of time for that comeback and to pull off the feat!
Brought along slowly, Gordon might yet turn into a shrewd buy that pays off some years down the line. Newcastle could be playing up to 50 games next season, so there will be plenty of minutes to go around for him to show some development.
Saved this one for last, because it might yet be a non-issue, but Gordon’s biggest drawback is his attitude. He will run his little heart out all game long if needed but has shown a disturbing propensity to throw himself around, with or without the ball. He already seems to have a bit of a reputation for going down quickly, which would happen nevertheless with his skinny frame, but refs are not buying it easily and he’s going to have to work hard to get rid of that asterisk on his name.
When defending, it manifests itself in the form of petulant, sulky challenges. His ill-timed and unnecessary foul late on against Southampton on the edge of the box allowed James Ward-Prowse to score the winner. The very audible groan when he when through the Saints player pretty much told the whole story.
His choosing to down tools and miss training to force through a move to the Magpies after submitting a transfer request was certainly the straw that broke the camel’s back for Evertonians. Granted some of those same fans acted like utterly boorish hooligans confronting the players after that Saints loss, but choosing to leave his boyhood club in that manner is just not done.
For his sake, I hope Gordon matures and his representation tells him the error of his ways, because character traits like that do not just go away, and that kind of reputation tends to find a way to sink your career.
He could just ask Ross Barkley.