Everton will be looking to improve on their seventh placed finish from last season, with heavy investment this summer looking set to make them contenders to break into the top six under the stewardship of Ronald Koeman.
The Toffees begin their campaign against Stoke City but have already been in action as they seek to secure qualification for the Europa League group stages and now look ready to compete to push on for the next level of European football. The Premier League remains an important target too, and many are expecting the club to be in contention for silverware this season.
How has their summer been so far?
It has been a summer of change for Everton, with seven players arriving and ten departing with three weeks of the transfer window left to go.
The departure of Romelu Lukaku for a huge fee has funded moves for the likes of Davy Klaassen from Ajax as Ronald Koeman has looked across Europe to pick out top talents. The £5.2 million purchase of former Barcelona striker Sandro Ramirez could be one of the bargains of the summer. Henry Onyekuru has also been tipped as one to watch in the future.
There has also been a keen focus on homegrown talent, with young English talents like Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane arriving from Sunderland and Burnley respectively. Experience has also arrived in returning hero Wayne Rooney, whilst free transfer Cuco Martina also adds depth. With deadwood like Arouna Kone, Aiden McGeady and Tom Cleverley sold, it has been a productive summer for the club.
On the field, pre-season results have also been promising and qualification to the Europa League group stage could soon be secured if Hajduk Split are beaten over two legs.
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Koeman didn’t enjoy a particularly convincing first season since joining the Toffees from Southampton, but he did enough to guarantee his position in charge and secure substantial investment. He has now had the chance to begin building his own side and move on from the Roberto Martinez era.
This season will be the real test of his abilities having spent big money. Without Romelu Lukaku, there may be a change in style and Koeman can finally get the side playing his way and he will need them to be pushing on and knocking on the door of the top six at the very least if he is to keep his job.
How could the Toffees line-up this season?
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Ronald Koeman has played around with a whole host of formations this summer, from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1, to any kind of set-up you can imagine. It seems likely that given the quality in central midfield and the lack of options out wide, a 4-4-2 diamond will be his first choice set-up, though he may opt to add Phil Jagielka and play with wing-backs at other times.
Jagielka will likely miss out to new signing Michael Keane in a flat back four, with Mason Holgate seemingly leading the way to replace Seamus Coleman until he recovers from a broken leg.
In midfield, it’s likely to be the obvious candidates forming the midfield four. Up-front another addition seems likely before the window shuts at the end of this month, but Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez seem set to start as first choice with the Spaniard playing in a more advanced role.
Who are Everton’s best fantasy football options?
The stand out star has got to be Davy Klassen. Little known by most Premier League fans, the former Ajax man arrives for a fee of £23.6 million having captained his former club to the Europa League final against Manchester United last season.
With 20 goals and 10 assists from midfield last season, he would be a wise pick for anyone looking to add points from midfield. He may take some time to adapt to life in the Premier League but given his impressive pre-season form, he could be an immediate threat for Everton and a star for your fantasy league side.
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Premier League Verdict
Everton are at the beginning of a process that will surely see them break into the top six. However, it seems unlikely that it will be this season. The Toffees have not effectively replaced Romelu Lukaku with a proven striker up-front and Sandro Ramirez may take time to find his feet.
On top of that, the top six have also strengthened sufficiently that they should be safe for now. If Arsenal lose Alexis Sanchez before the transfer window closes, then it may be worth re-considering.
Everton must secure Frank Fabra signing before World Cup
The Colombian is set to star at the World Cup with his nation.
Everton are currently being linked with a move for Colombian left-back Frank Fabra. According to Argentine radio station El Crack Deportivo, the 27-year-old is being considered as the left-back option Everton need.
Everton have been lacking in the department this season. With Leighton Baines suffering injury trouble throughout the campaign, natural right-back Cuco Martina has done his best in the role. Everton thoroughly need a new left-back and Fabra is an impressive option.
The Boca Juniors defender was linked with Manchester United and Chelsea by Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio in 2016. A powerful full-back, he has all it takes to be a star in European football.
Everton are, therefore right, to be targeting the Boca star. However, the Toffees must try to wrap up any potential deal before the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Fabra is looking increasingly likely to be Colombia’s first-choice at the competition. Pablo Armero has had his day and Fabra is the popular choice to play the role of left-back or left wing-back.
Colombia, who are in Group H with Japan, Poland and Senegal, have high hopes of going far in the competition. Four years ago they suffered a narrow quarter-final exit at the hands of Brazil.
Fabra will no doubt be key to any success that Colombia have in the competition and therefore will catch the eye.
Everton will be fully aware what a top World Cup performance can do to a player’s value. If the Toffees want to bring in Fabra doing so before the Russia World Cup could end up being a worthwhile cost-cutting exercise.
Regardless, Everton fans will just be pleased to hear that the club are starting to identify potential options to strengthen one of their weakest positions on the field, even if it is not a household name.
Ronald Koeman admits he wanted Memphis Depay at Everton
But would Everton have benefited from his arrival?
Ronald Koeman is about to kickstart his managerial career with the Dutch national team. It is his first role since getting sacked by Everton and his first foray into international management. Speaking about his new role he discussed the former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay.
Speaking to the press, as reported by Football Oranje, Koeman revealed that he had tried to convince Depay to join Everton whilst he was manager at Goodison Park:
“I invited him to my home last year, when I wanted to get him to Everton. That did not work, he went to Lyon.”
Depay was with Manchester United at the time, where he had struggled to live up to his potential. Instead of joining Everton he headed to Lyon in France in a deal reported by the Telegraph to be worth £16 million.
So have Everton missed out?
Depay’s struggles to settle in English football are well known. Since his move to France things have certainly improved. Depay has scored 18 goals since his move to France. However, considering he scored 28 goals in his final season at PSV prior to his United switch it is still not a massive amount.
In the time he has been in France those 18 goals have come from 61 games. His form has been good at Lyon but certainly not to the standard many expected of him when he made the move to Manchester United.
That said, £16 million today in today’s market is not a lot of money. Looking at Everton’s team, having Depay playing from the left side would have been a massive bonus for Koeman, and now for Sam Allardyce.
Depay still has plenty to improve upon and hopefully Koeman can get the best out of him during his time as the Netherlands boss.
As for Everton, they did not get their man and paid a lot more for the man he would be battling for first-team football Yannick Bolasie – who has not yet been a hit at Goodison Park.
So, all things considered, Everton probably should wish Koeman had managed to convince Depay into a Merseyside switch last January.
Everton signing Rodrigo at £35m would undermine Cenk Tosun position
The Spaniard has been linked with a move to Everton over the weekend.
Reports today have suggested that Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion are all keeping tabs on Valencia striker Rodrigo.
Calciomercato claim Rodrigo is wanted by all three clubs who are looking to bolster their attacking options.
The report also mentions his whopping €120 million (£105.4 million) release clause. Everton, though, are expected to start their bidding at around €40 million (£35 million).
Rodrigo is a fine striker. This season the Spanish international has netted 16 goals in 35 games for Valencia and he could head to the World Cup with Spain in the summer.
But, for Everton, his signing would only further undermine the man they finally brought in to replace Romelu Lukaku in January.
It has not been plain sailing for Turkish striker Cenk Tosun since his Goodison Park arrival. Signed for a fee reported to be in the region of £27 million by the BBC, Tosun has had to wait for his chance under Sam Allardyce.
That tactic now appears to be paying off dividends with Tosun scoring four goals in his last three games for the Toffees.
Next season, after a full pre-season schedule, Tosun will rightfully expect to be the undisputed starting striker at Everton.
No doubt, the Merseyside club could look to bring in other strikers, but splashing out this amount on a player like Rodrigo would send the wrong message to Tosun.
Rodrigo, who spent time on loan at Bolton Wanderers earlier in his career, will not be willing to play second fiddle to Tosun. Everton will also not want to pay that sort of money for him if that’s the case.
Everton should instead give Tosun a try. With the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Oumar Niasse and Ademola Lookman in reserve, they would have a good striking department without any recruits.
Spending so much money on Rodrigo would just seem a lavish expense for a side that would do better bringing in someone lower key, and lower priced.
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