Everton are going into this coming season with a mixed bag of expectations. After finishing 7th last season and reaching the third round of the FA Cup, there is definitely room for improvement.
However, Everton played good football at times under Ronald Koeman and they will look to build from this. Their biggest challenge will be replacing the 26 goals scored by Romelu Lukaku, who moved to Manchester United in a £75m transfer deal. The team will be motivated by the return of their golden boy Wayne Rooney after years away.
In addition to their Premier League fixtures Everton will face Hajduk Split in the Europa League play-off round. Alongside a high league standing, Everton will have their eyes set on a long UEFA Europa League run, which is certainly achievable when looking at the quality within their squad.
Everton’s season will be highly dependant on whether their new signings can replace Romelu Lukaku’s plethora of goals. His big move to Manchester United will hurt the club as the Belgian was the team’s focal point in previous seasons. Luckily for the Toffees, however, is that Lukaku is the only key player they have lost this season so far. Their other departures include Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley, who were both out on loan last season.
Ronald Koeman has also confirmed that Ross Barkely will be allowed to leave in this transfer window. Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle are reportedly interested in the Englishman.
confirmed TRANSFERS OUT (as of 4/8/17) according to transfermarkt
- Romelu Lukaku (age 24) to Manchester United – £72m permanent move
- Gerard Deulofeu (23) to Barcelona – £10.2m permanent move
- Tom Cleverley (27) to Watford – £7.91m permanent move
- Aiden McGeady (31) to Sunderland – £238k permanent move
- Conor McAleny (24) to Fleetwood Town – Free transfer
- Arouna Koné (33) to Sivasspor – Free transfer
- Tyias Browning (23) to Sunderland – Loan
- Matthew Pennington (22) to Leeds – Loan
- Brendan Galloway (21) to Sunderland – Loan
- Henry Onyekuru (20) to Anderlecht – Loan
Everton have been busy recruiting players this transfer window, and they’ve done some great business. The club has used the large sum of money received from the Lukaku transfer to reinforce in all areas. Sandro Ramirez and Wayne Rooney are the men tasked with replacing Lukaku’s 26 goals.
Sandro has arrived from Malaga where he scored 14 goals in 30 matches. Rooney is Everton’s prodigal son, returning home after a spell at Manchester United filled with records. He played in a deeper role last season, and only scored 5 goals in 25 games. Will these two be enough to replace the hole left by Lukaku? Only time will tell.
In the midfield, Ajax’s Davy Klaassen has been brought in for £22.95m. The Dutchman had a great season with Ajax last season, scoring 14 goals and bagging 9 assists in the league, while reaching the Europa League final too. Everton fans will be hoping he continues his goal scoring trends in the Premier League.
At the back, Ronald Koeman has made two major signings. The club brought Burnley centre back Michael Keane in, who had a stand-out season, to join Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka. Keane succeeded in 85% of his tackles last season and scored two goals. He is a valuable, youthful addition to the squad. Between the sticks, another player who enjoyed a stand-out season last year, Jordan Pickford has been signed from Sunderland. These young members of the squad should serve to reinvigorate the team and provide energy which was missing at times for the Toffees last season.
Rumoured to replace outgoing Ross Barkley is Swansea’s Icelandic star Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson had a successful last season at Swansea, with 9 goals and 13 assists. His expertise on set-pieces could be a real assest in helping Everton’s new signings grab goals.
confirmed transfers in (as of 4/8/17) According to transfermarkt
- Jordan Pickford (age 23) from Sunderland – £24.23m permanent move
- Michael Keane (24) from Burnely – £24.23m permanent move
- Davy Klaassen (24) from Ajax – £22.95m permanent move
- Henry Onyekuru (20) from Anderlecht – £6.8m permanent move
- Sandro Ramírez (21) from Málaga – £5.1m permanent move
- Cuco Martina (27) from Southampton – Free transfer
- Wayne Rooney (31) from Manchester United – Free transfer
Everton find themselves starting the league with a tough run from the get go. After a match-day one fixture against Stoke they have back to back fixtures against the biggest teams in the league. Manchester City on match-day 2, then Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. That’s as difficult as it gets, and Everton fans should be happy to get 5 points from these initial matches.
In February and March, the Toffees find themselves with an easier run of fixtures, where they will hope to recuperate the points lost at the beginning of the season. February 10th they play Crystal Palace, followed by Watford, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Stoke. In contrast with the first run of games, Everton fans will hope to collect 13 points from the possible 15.
Everton’s league position depends mostly on one factor. Can they replace Romelu Lukaku’s goals? The Belgian scored 25 of Everton’s league goals (40.3%). The goal tally for all of Everton’s current forwards last season was 29. Everton are going to need Klaassen and, should he arrive, Sigurdsson to support their attackers in the final third to maximise their goal count. Sandro Ramirez is a La Masia graduate and has the potential to be a star. If he has a successful season, Everton might find themselves competing with the best in the league.
The Toffees have strengthened their defence and midfield. The forward line is the only part of the team that is doubtful. Unless something big happens in the forward line, they look unlikely to rise from last season.
Prediction: 7TH place