FM16: How will Ronald Koeman fare as Everton's new manager
After a magnificent season at Southampton, Ronald Koeman has made the controversial move to Everton following the sacking of Roberto Martinez towards the end of the last campaign.
We’ve turned to Football Manager 2016 to see how the Dutchman would’ve done instead of the Spaniard in charge of the Toffees.
An underwhelming summer transfer window, Koeman and Everton only made one signing, Theo Bongonda on loan from Celta Vigo. The young, Belgian winger is regarded as one for the future and just another in a long list of Belgian talents coming through the ranks.
Youth prospect Tyias Browning was sold to Championship Derby, and both Ryan Ledson and Matthew Pennington enjoyed two loan moves.
The January transfer window was a little most exciting for the Evertonian fans with three permanent signings. Bryan Oviedo left to join Crystal Palace so Fabian Johnson came in from Borussia Monchengladbach as a replacement for £6million. Same can be said for Joel Robles who left for Villareal, so Karl Darlow came in from Newcastle to fill the void for just £875,000.
Finally, Koeman clearly has an eye on the future with the signing of Rodrigo Caio from Sau Paulo for £3.7million. The promising, young centre-back would be well-known to anyone who has got deep into any Football Manager save. Everton leaked goals in the first half of the season, so Caio came in and changed the fortunes for the new manager.
Overall, the Everton board spent the fifth most amount on signings in the league.
Martinez constantly changed his formation throughout the season for the Toffees, but Koeman implemented the 4-4-1-1 formation from day one.
Loan signing Bongonda came in and displaced Gerard Deulofeu on the left hand side. January signing Rodrigo Caio didn’t make it into the side after the back end of the season. A similar back four to that off the last few seasons, and surprisingly, Darron Gibson made it into the midfield.
Ross Barkley in-behind Romelu Lukaku is a duo that would strike fear into a number of defences throughout the season.
Without surprise, the star of the season for Koeman’s Everton side was Romelu Lukaku. 20 goals in all competitions despite picking up a month long injury.
The Belgian scored a third of Everton’s league goals as he was offered very little attacking support, both with goals and assists. Less goals than under Martinez, but Lukaku was still the fifth highest goal scorer in the league.
Defensively, John Stones was the key man. A 7.19 average ratings is arguably higher than what he would’ve got if Martinez’s season was rated. Alongside Jagielka, the two marshalled the back four, but conceded 49 goals in the process.
Gerard Deulofeu couldn’t break into Koeman’s plans and it proved to be a poor season for the Spaniard. 23 games in total, majority of the bench, but the nippy winger only managed to pick up 1 assist alongside 0 goals over the course of the season.
It was a season to forget for a number of Everton’s wingers, and Aaron Lennon joins that list. Left Tottenham in real life to see more game time on Merseyside, but somehow managed to feature less under the new manager. Everton legend Tony Hibbert didn’t feature at all in all competitions and found himself with the under 21’s, playing with Arouna Kone who scored just one senior goal all season but, threaded in by Leon Osman, the Ivorian was the second top goal scorer in the under 21 league, only two goals behind Chelsea’s Loic Remy.
Well it’s not a season that will live long in the memories of many Evertonians. Koeman’s side finished ninth in the Premier League, better than Martinez’s finish but it would have been a bit bitter sweet for the Dutchman. He left Southampton, who under David Moyes, went onto finish sixth and secure a Europa League place for next season.
To compound their misery, they lost both Merseyside derbies to Liverpool, who went onto secure Champions League football and dominated sport in the area.
In terms of the cup competitions, Everton reached the fourth round of the Capital One Cup and the fifth round of the FA Cup, losing in both situations against Manchester City, the eventual winners of both tournaments.
Although Koeman had a better season than Martinez, it didn’t prove to be a move massively worth doing for either party.
No European football yet again for the Toffees and no challenging in any tournaments domestically shows just another below average season at Goodison Park.
At one point in the season, Koeman’s just was ‘under review’, so not a great first season for the Dutchman.
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