Where are they now? Carlo Ancelotti’s 7 signings as Everton manager

Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at Everton brought significant anticipation and excitement back in December 2019. Bringing in an elite European coach with a significant trophy-winning pedigree was a major statement of intent… that ultimately wasn’t realised.

Fast forward five years and Ancelotti’s relatively short-lived stint with Everton feels like some kind of fever dream. Don Carlo is back at Real Madrid, competing for the Champions League, while the Toffees are in the financial quagmire, hit with points deductions amid their battle against the drop. Did it actually really happen?

Yes, it did. But what kind of legacy did the Italian tactician leave at Goodison Park? Ancelotti brought in a number of big-name, fairly expensive signings. We’ve revisited those players to see what they’re up to today.

Ben Godfrey

Initially brought from Norwich City in as defensive cover, Godfrey quickly established himself as a mainstay in Everton’s backline.

He initially made a good impression and was praised by pundits for his versatility, pace, and reading of the game – at one time he was rated as one of the best young defenders in the country, rewarded for his fine form with a couple of England caps back in 2021.

But the York-born centre-back has failed to kick on and played less of a regular starting role as time has gone on. He’s now into his fourth season at Goodison and has fallen down the pecking order under Sean Dyche, although he may find himself back in the team after their shocking 6-0 defeat to Chelsea in his absence.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player Everton have signed for £20m or more?


Ancelotti has a tendency to go with what he knows and has often signed players he’s worked with before, which was the case with Allan at Napoli.

Alongside Jorginho and Marek Hamsik, the industrious Brazilian was a key part of Maurizio Sarri’s unforgettable Napoli side that came so close to toppling Juventus back in 2017-18. He continued to impress under Ancelotti and ended up following the Italian to Merseyside.

Allan made a solid start to life at Everton, catching the eye with his tenacity. However, as time went on he struggled with injuries and inconsistent form and after a couple of seasons he made a low-key departure to Emirati outfit Al Wahda. He remains there today.

Abdoulaye Doucoure

Signed from Watford following their relegation in 2020, Abdoulaye Doucoure had long proven himself a usefully energetic box-to-box Premier League midfielder.

And despite Everton’s struggles in recent seasons, Doucoure’s reputation has remained intact. The experienced Mali international continues to fight gallantly against a dreaded second relegation and has been among the club’s standout players under Sean Dyche. In fact, with their forwards famously goal-shy of late, he’s their top scorer in the Premier League with six goals in 2023-24 so far.

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Niels Nkounkou

“Niels is a young, talented player with good technical and physical skills,” said former sporting director Marcel Brands when the signing of the highly-rated left-back from Marseille was announced.

Unfortunately, Everton fans never really got to see any evidence of that. The France Under-21 international made just seven appearances for the club, two in the Premier League, and his constant absences because something of a running joke on social media. The man who wasn’t there.

Nkounkou was loaned out to Standard Liege, Cardiff City and Saint-Etienne and has since moved on a permanent deal to Eintracht Frankfurt. He scored on his debut and has featured considerably more regularly for the Bundesliga club this season.

James Rodriguez

The kind of marquee addition that supporters would’ve dreamt of when Ancelotti was appointed, the Colombian playmaker arrived on a free transfer after departing Real Madrid. The pull of Don Carlo was surely vital in getting a player of his calibre.

Ancelotti had signed Rodriguez at Real Madrid, brought him to Bayern Munich on loan and then picked him for a third time.

“I’ll say it with all sincerity that if Carlo weren’t here, I wouldn’t have come. I’ll say it with all my heart, he was one of the reasons for which I came,” Rodriguez told ESPN.

Some wonderful early moments suggested that this was a glamour signing that might actually come good. But ultimately the cynics were proved right when the former Madrid star’s form notably dipped alongside the temperature in the dead of winter.

Things never really recovered from there, and a falling out with Ancelotti’s successor Rafael Benitez saw him depart after just a year in Merseyside, going on to join Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan. He later spent a short stint with Olympiakos and is now turning out for Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

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Robin Olsen

Sweden’s long-serving No.1 joined on loan from Roma during the 2020-21 season and made seven Premier League appearances for the Toffees, occasionally given the nod over Jordan Pickford.

He’s since had loans with Sheffield and Aston Villa, who he then signed for permanently as Emiliano Martinez’s back-up.

Josh King

One of those great football pointless answers. A Premier League stint we all forgot ever happened.

The winger joined Everton on a winter deadline day deal in February 2021. He made 11 Premier League appearances over the course of his six-month contract and promptly left on a free, joining newly-promoted Watford.

Nowadays he’s turning out in the Turkish Super League for Fenerbahce. Sounds about right.