The arrival of Farhad Moshiri as Everton’s majority shareholder and Dutch legend Ronald Koeman as the club’s new boss was supposed to herald a new era for the club from Merseyside.
There was excitement amongst the Toffees fans as the likes of Juan Mata and Alex Witsel were linked with moves to Goodison Park.
Those two links came to nothing, although Witsel’s future at Zenit St Petersburg is still up in the air.
Last month I wrote an article calling for patience from the Everton fans, but at the moment unsurprisingly patience is running short with the club’s management.
Worried about inactivity
Dutch boss Koeman has brought in experienced goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye. However, those two signings have hardly improved the squad, since the Toffees lost Tim Howard and a host of midfielders in the summer.
Everton’s midfield options have been ever more decreased by the news that Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic has been ruled out of action for six months.
Koeman has reassured fans that the club are working behind the scenes to strengthen the Toffees squad this summer.
However, because of the numerous links with to high-profile players in the media Everton fans are worried that their squad will not see any major improvement for the new campaign.
Areas that need to be strengthened
Everton’s transfer activity may well depend on the futures of centre-back John Stones and striker Romelu Lukaku. If the pair stays the Toffees are still worryingly short in certain positions like in goal, central defence and up front.
The goalkeeper position is particularly concerning. For years USA international Tim Howard was a reliable number one, but the last few years he has been in decline and moved home earlier this summer.
Spaniard Joel Robles still has a lot to do to convince that he is good enough to be a Premier League number one, while Stekelenburg was hopefully only brought in as back-up for a new number one.
Everton were woeful last season in defence. The Toffees have three senior centre-backs in Ramiro Funes Mori, John Stones and Phil Jagielka, with youngsters Matthew Pennington and Mason Holgate offering cover.
Unfortunately for the Toffees Jagielka has been injury prone over the past few years, but when he is fit is the leader of that back four. Stones was a liability at times last season, so if he stays then he will have to focus and ignore speculation over his future to fulfil his potential.
A failed £10million move for Swansea’s Ashley Williams illustrates the Toffees need for a new centre-back. Koeman may well return with a higher bid for the Wales captain in the near future.
Up front Lukaku is the Toffees only decent option. If he leaves then Koeman has a real problem replacing him. The other senior strikers in the squad Arouna Kone and the disastrous Oumar Niasse are just not good enough.
Niasse only joined Everton for a fee of around £13.5million in January, but he has struggled to make an impact and was not even given a shirt number for the new season. Most Evertonians would not have minded if Kone was not given a number either.
Mercurial Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu had been playing as a central striker in pre-season and doing a decent job. However, the Toffees obviously need better forward options to be successful in the new campaign.
There have been major doubts about Lukaku’s future at Everton, as reports have linked him with former club Chelsea. Contrary to those rumours there has now been noises coming out of the Toffees that the striker could be offered a new deal on Merseyside.
Everton have to improve next season
Everton have underperformed in the last two seasons under the affable but bumbling Roberto Martinez in the Premier League recording consecutive 11th place finishes.
It would be a major surprise if the Toffees do not rank higher than that next season and they are odds of 7/2 to finish in the top-six.
One thing that will change is that the Toffees will be far more organised in defence. They were woeful under Martinez and already in pre-season there have been signs that the Merseysiders will be more solid in defence.
For me, there is no doubt that Everton will progress under Ronald Koeman. However, how well they do next season will depend on who the Merseysiders can sign, if indeed anybody, between now and the end of the transfer window.
Are Everton going to sign anybody else this summer?
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