With the 2016-17 Premier League campaign drawing to a close, the transfer window is almost upon us. Like the rest of the teams in the English top flight, Everton will be busy in the summer, both signing players and offloading those who are not needed.
Having finished outside the top six of the Premier League this season, we will be aiming to break into the Champions League in 2017-18. Evertonians will be hoping that the club are planning some major signings, which means that some of the current squad players will have to leave. Below is a look at four players in the current Everton squad who, to varying degrees, might not have a future at Goodison Park and would benefit from leaving Goodison Park this summer.
Stekelenburg joined Everton from Fulham in the summer of 2016 on a three-year contract, but despite his presumed affinity with compatriot Ronald Koeman, it would not be a complete surprise if he moved on in the summer transfer window. The 34-year-old goalkeeper lost his place in the starting lineup in the latter half of the 2016-17 season, only reclaiming it towards the end thanks to Joel Robles's indifferent form but with the management team believed to be in the market for a new, long-term "No.1", it is hard to see him playing regularly next season if a new first-choice 'keeper is signed.
Would the former AS Roma man be willing to play second fiddle during the 2017-18 campaign? With one-time Blues target Jack Butland 7/1 to leave Stoke City for Manchester City, Stekelenburg could be a good signing for the Potters on a one-year deal.
Barkley has the potential to be one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League, but the season just past revealed that he might not enjoy the best of relationships with Koeman; the Dutchman recently gave him an ultimatum about a new contract and was not averse to criticising his form during interviews. With season now coming to an end, punters will be using the transfer market to appease their betting instincts.
Given the size of the sports betting industry – it is worth over £600bn a year – one can expect a lot of football followers to wager bets on players switching clubs in the summer. Many football betting websites have made Tottenham Hotspur as the favourites to sign Barkley, although Arsenal and Manchester City are also said to be in the running. Backing Barkley to leave Goodison Park appears to be one an attractive bet.
Kone has been at Everton since 2013, but things have not worked out for the former Ivory Coast international. The 33-year-old striker struggled to make an impact at Goodison Park thanks to injury and the form of Romelu Lukaku and he is virtually guaranteed not to be in an Everton shirt next season because his contract expires in June.
The former Wigan Athletic striker has not made a single start in the Premier League this season, while during the 2015-16 campaign he scored five goals in 25 league matches. Kone’s current contract with the Merseyside outfit runs out in the summer, and it would come as a massive surprise if he is offered a new deal. The striker is not good enough for the Premier League, but he could do a job in the Championship. Aston Villa, who are 8/1 to win the Championship title next season, would boost their chances if they have Kone in the squad as an impact substitute.
Valencia is currently on loan from Premier League rivals West Ham United. The 27-year-old forward has not made a big impact at Goodison Park, and it is unlikely that the Toffees will sign him on a permanent contract. Not only has the Ecuador international struggled to establish himself in the Everton starting lineup, but he has also failed to play well consistently when he has come as a substitute. Three goals in 625 minutes of Premier League football is far from encouraging; with West Ham reportedly demanding £12 million to part company with the former Pachuca man, it is hard to see Koeman forking up that much money for him.
Valencia has shown that he can make an impact in the Premier League. Perhaps a move to Newcastle United, whose odds of finishing in the top 10 next season are 7/2, or Brighton and Hove Albion, who are already favourites to get relegated back to the Championship at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, would help revive his career.
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