Is this Everton's best XI following transfer deadline day?
Everton had a frustrating transfer window, struggling to land top targets, but they made some interesting moves. They failed to land Moussa Sissoko and Yacine Brahimi on deadline day, but that could be a blessing in disguise as neither have the work rate that Ronald Koeman demands, while they are hugely inconsistent.
They managed to keep Romulu Lukaku, which is good news, despite his recent run of bad form. It was disappointing to lose John Stones, but Ashley Williams is a good addition. Although Koeman won’t be happy with the club’s transfer window, their squad should secure a top ten finish.
Koeman was expected to sign another goalkeeper with both Joe Hart and Asmir Begovic being linked. However, the early performances of Maarten Stekelenburg have persuaded the manager to give his compatriot an opportunity to establish himself as number one. It is a deserved opportunity and one that could allow him to relaunch his international career as well. Joel Robles remains at the club and will offer steady competition for the Dutchman.
The Toffees should become more organised under Koeman and there is competition to start in defence. Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are likely to be the first choice centre back pairing this season. They are both experienced, but there is an issue with their mobility. Both are the wrong side of 30, which is why Koeman wanted to bring Lamine Kone into the squad. Ramiro Funes Mori is another option, but he makes too many errors defensively to be a regular under Koeman.
Mason Holgate has emerged this season and looks to be a future England international. His mobility and defensive instincts could allow him to break into the side at centre back as the season progresses. At the moment he is starting at right back and performing well, but Seamus Coleman is likely to take his spot when he returns from injury. The Irishman is excellent in attack and is one of the most consistent full backs in the league.
At left back, Leighton Baines is the obvious starter for Everton. Although he is regressing and can’t contribute to attacks as he once could, he remains a good Premier League full back. His set piece delivery is superb and it is crucial that he remains fit this season.
It was a deal met with an underwhelming response, but the signing of Idrissa Gueye was an excellent move from the club. He has immediately settled at the club and is an important member of the side. The midfielder has a relentless work rate and is very good at winning the ball back. He has already made an impact and is going to be crucial for the side this season.
James McCarthy and Gareth Barry are both solid Premier League players, providing good competition for the other midfield position. It is believed that Koeman favours Barry and the Englishman has started the season in good form. However, it remains an area that Everton will need to strengthen in January if they want to push for the top eight.
The signing of Yannick Bolasie has provided pace to Everton’s wide options and he is likely to become the first choice on the left wing. His price tag makes it difficult for Koeman to leave him out of the starting eleven. This is an opportunity for Bolasie to step up his game and he will need to if he wants to be a success at Goodison Park.
Although Kevin Mirallas has started the season in good form, it is expected that Gerard Deulofeu will thrive under Ronald Koeman. He is dangerous when running at defenders and can provide good service for Romulu Lukaku. Under Roberto Martinez he wasn’t given a fair chance and will be keen to establish himself in the right wing position.
Ross Barkley may have been dropped from the England squad, but he is a key player for Everton and will be eager to influence matches on a consistent basis this season. In the free role behind the striker, he has the freedom to find pockets of space and dictate the play. His relationship with Lukaku is superb and has been the source of many goals for Everton over the last couple of seasons. They both have a point to prove this season and Everton are set to benefit from that.
Deadline day saw Enner Valencia join the club on a season long loan to add competition for the striker role. However, he is unlikely to play ahead of Romulu Lukaku. The Belgian has the attributes to become a world class striker. This season is huge for him and he must be targeting 20 goals minimum. He sees his career at a higher level than Everton, but he needs to have an elite season for the Toffees to earn an upwards move.
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