Rafael Benitez's Everton signings rated from the worst to Demarai Gray

Rafael Benitez needs a good January transfer window to buy himself time at Everton, but how well have his previous Toffees signings fared?

Managers tend not to get a lot of time to impress these days, and that is especially true when you join an already-frustrated big club having coached their biggest rivals.

That is the reality facing Rafael Benitez right now, with Everton fans already calling for the Spaniard to be sacked despite him only joining last summer.

January may be his only chance to convince the Toffees supporters he is worth persisting with, so we rate his Everton signings so far to see how likely he is to succeed in that. Let's start with the worst and work our way up. 

Vitalii Mykolenko

There is little doubt that Benitez needs Mykolenko do succeed at Everton.

The Ukrainian is a player Benitez identified early on as someone he wanted to bring to the club and the fact the deal was done and dusted so promptly in the window is testament to his eagerness to bring the left-back in.

Additionally, Benitez has effectively moved Lucas Digne out of the club to accommodate him.

He made his debut in the FA Cup win over Hull but he didn't even impress himself never mind anyone else. "I was not too pleased with my performance in the first couple of minutes," he admitted. "I was quite nervous."

We are not going to rate him, as that would be unfair after just one match. However, at a reported fee of £17million and with fans losing faith with the man who signed him, Mykolenko will need to banish those nerves quick-smart.

Rating: N/A

Andy Lonergan

There's not much you can say about Andy Lonergan other than that his only first-team soccer since 2018 is seven matches on loan at Rochdale.

He was signed to make up the numbers and that's exactly what he's doing.

Rating: 1/10

Salomon Rondon

Salomon Rondon with head in hands

If there is one thing we know about Benitez it is that there are some players that he trusts and some he does not.

The former can expect supreme loyalty, dedicated protection and plenty of games no matter how badly they perform. The latter, meanwhile, could save his dog from a burning building, still not get regular game-time and then bear the brunt of his criticism on the rare occasions they get a sniff of action.

Rondon, without question, fits into the former category.

His move to Everton was the third time that Benitez had signed him, after the duo linked up at Newcastle and Chinese side Dalian.

In fairness, the Venezuelan did well for Benitez at Newcastle and regularly showed the kind of tactical intelligence and devotion to the game-plan the Spaniard values above all else.

He is yet to get going at Everton, though, and has just one goal for the Toffees.

Whether that is down to age starting to catch up with the 32-year-old or his time at a lower level in China blunting his sharpness is unclear at this point, but he really has not impressed.

Rondon was at least signed on a free with the intention of being used as a back-up. However, right now he looks like he's well on the way to becoming an annoying flop.

Rating: 3/10

Asmir Begovic

Asmir Begovic looks on for Everton

Once upon a time, Asmir Begovic was one of the best and most dependable goalkeepers in the Premier League.

He made the most of being behind Tony Pulis' perhaps overly-protected Stoke defence and Chelsea came calling.

However, it was a bad move and he was never going to be first choice there, and a lack of regular game-time saw his game slowly lose its edge.

After two spells at Bournemouth and loan stays at Qarabag and AC Milan, he was available on a free and appears to have settled for being a number two, which is a shame given what he could have been.

Begovic was never likely to displace Jordan Pickford as Everton No. 1, and has made four appearances - three of them in the cup.

He's done well in those games, and signing such a solid back-up keeper on a free was good work by Benitez, but no one would say his arrival actually progressed Everton at all.

Rating: 5/10

Andros Townsend

Everton's Andros Townsend celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Emirates FA Cup third round match at the MKM Stadium, Hull. Picture date: Saturday January 8, 2022.

Townsend was a favourite of Benitez's when they briefly worked together at Newcastle before the Spaniard presided over the Magpies' relegation from the Premier League.

It was not a surprise, then, when Benitez snapped him up as a free agent last summer.

At 30 years old, it's easy to assume that Townsend's best years were behind him, but Benitez has revitalised him, if anything.

Townsend started his five-year stint at Crystal Palace well but his product had definitely tailed off towards the end. He has dramatically upped that at Everton though, scoring six goals in 19 games. More than decent for a free transfer.

For context, he managed just two in his final two seasons with the Eagles.

Rating: 7/10

Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray, Everton vs Liverpool

Gray has always been something of an enigma since bursting through at Birmingham a few years ago.

Everyone could see his talent but he had always struggled to find a home or regular soccer.

Leicester initially took him the Premier League in the 2015/16 season, and he definitely showed flashes of his quality for the Foxes. He never really held down a regular spot in the team, though, making a whopping 80 appearances from the bench.

He then tried his luck in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, but only lasted half a season before Rafael Benitez swooped to bring him back to England for just £1.7million.

That, unquestionably, has been one of the bargains of the season, with Gray benefiting from regular game-time and rewarding Benitez for it with six goals in 20 games.

He is rated slightly higher than Townsend here, despite them producing roughly the same, due to him providing much greater long-term potential for the club.

Rating: 8/10

Note: Nathan Patterson has not been rated as he has not featured for Everton at the time of writing.

READ MORE: January 2022 Premier League transfer window ins, outs and latest signings

Latest Soccer Videos