After a record breaking campaign last season, Everton’s summer was centred around 2 things: keeping hold of Romelu Lukaku and strengthening squad depth for a first European Campaign since 2009/2010. Everton have made strong signings and kept hold of key players, but have they done enough to go the distance in Europe whilst maintaining a charge on the top 4?
Gareth Barry – B
After a solid loan spell at Goodison it was clear that Everton would miss the presence and experience of Gareth Barry in central midfield. For £2m and a 3 year deal this guarantees Everton midfield stability over the next few years. Although Barry is ageing he is well suited to Everton’s system and the minimal fee paid to Manchester City should prove more than value for money.
Christian Atsu – C
A relative unknown having joined on loan from Chelsea but never having played in the Premier League before his loan switch to Merseyside. Atsu is a pacey winger who likes to get past his opponent and deliver crosses which will suit Everton’s wing play. He has 26 international caps for Ghana and has won player of the season on his last 2 loan clubs at Rio Ave and Vitesse Arnhem respectively. This is a different kettle of fish, however, and remains to be seen whether Atsu can step up to the mark.
Romelu Lukaku – A
Everton’s £28m record transfer is what the club have been crying out for. After a successful loan spell last season scoring 15 league goals he more than proved himself as one of the League’s top strikers and was in high demand across Europe. Everton have pulled off the deal and have gained potentially one of the world’s best strikers. At the age of only 21 Lukaku has scored 65 league goals and under the management of Roberto Martinez there is every chance of Lukaku reaching his full potential and going from strength to strength.
Muhammed Besic – C
With a Europa League campaign looming, Besic strengthens Everton in central midfield and provides another option at centre back. Besic was a key player for Bosnia at the World Cup and at only the age of just 21 is a bright prospect for the toffees. He has had a poor spell at Hamburg before making his name at Ferencvaros in Hungary. Besic adds bite and technical ability to the Everton squad and if he can carry on his development at the same rate should prove a good acquisition on Merseyside.
Samuel Eto’o – B
Joining on a free after leaving Chelsea as the Londoner’s top goalscorer, this is a fantastic signing for the Toffees. Eto’o adds some much needed cover for Lukaku and, though 33 years of age, is still a predator. He brings experience to the squad having won 3 Champions Leagues at Barcelona and Inter Milan. This will help the development of Everton’s vast array of youngsters and brings hunger to a squad looking to end a 20 year trophy drought. I expect Eto’o to play second string to Lukaku, but should still chip in with a decent amount of goals.
Overall – C
Though the signings made are all good. Everton have not strengthened as much as they needed to. They still lack a top winger and a central defender. 2 loan deals made permanent and only 3 new faces is not enough with the Europa League campaign that The Toffees need to juggle with the demands of the Premier League. Although, Everton have managed to keep hold of all of their key players who brought the club their highest ever Premier League points tally, and with the return of long term injuries such as Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson, Everon have the potential to surprise us all once again.