Preparing the squad for 2017-18

Graham Holliday 23/05/2017  57 Comments  [Jump to last]

So, the season is done and we can look forward to the summer with 7th place and European football next season secured. A shame that we couldn’t mount a challenge for 4th – 6th place but the aims for next season are clear:

  • Be competitive in four competitions (the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League)
  • Get into the Champions League for the following season
  • And if possible, win some silverware!

Not much to ask for then. But those have to be the aims for next season if the club is to keep progressing. So what work needs to be done on the squad to achieve that?

This article is written with those stated ambitions in mind – looking at the changes required to give us sufficient depth and sufficient quality to make that progress.

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So let’s start by asking what squad composition Koeman might be looking for? He is quite versatile in shape and formation, tending to play a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 but occasionally switches to 3-4-3/3-5-2. So the make-up of the squad might be along the lines of:

  • 3 goalkeepers – one first choice, one reserve, one young player
  • 2 right backs – one first choice, one reserve/young player
  • 2 left backs – as above
  • 4-5 centre backs – three or four who could realistically compete to be first choice, one or two reserve/young players
  • 4-5 central midfielders – as above
  • 4-5 attacking midfielders – including a mixture of ‘playmakers’ and pacey and direct players (what would have been wingers traditionally)
  • 3 strikers – two first choice, one reserve/young player

Clearly there is some flexibility here though, as if you have a striker that can play out wide (see Valencia/Calvert-Lewin) then you wouldn’t necessarily need the full complement of attacking midfielders. Also, a centre-back who can also play at full-back (Holgate) might mean you don’t need as many defenders. And Davies seems to be considered an option as either one of the deeper ‘central’ midfielders or as one of the attacking midfielders.

Koeman seems to like a smaller squad so you’re probably looking at closer to the lower end in terms of numbers (22, 23) as opposed to 25 – potentially meaning 4 senior centre backs as opposed to five. Likewise with attacking midfielders. Obviously those numbers are then complemented by the Under-23s.

Goalkeepers:

Robles (2018)
Stekelenberg (2019)

It’s difficult to imagine Koeman not wanting to bring in a first choice here. He may also decide to ship out one of the existing two (possibly Stekelenberg) and either bring in a young reserve keeper or promote Hewelt to the first team squad.

Full-backs:

Coleman (2022)
Kenny (2019)
Connolly (2019)
Baines (2018)
Garbutt (2020)
Robinson (2017)

If Coleman’s injury hadn’t happened, it would be fairly safe to assume that he and Baines would have continued as first choice. The flexibility of Holgate and promising young players in Kenny and Connolly might have made it unlikely a reserve would have been brought in. However, now we might well expect to see a potential competitor to Coleman brought in as he’s likely to miss around half of the season and will take a long time to get back to full match sharpness. Baines to continue as first choice left-back, possibly with a new young reserve brought in (unless the club think Garbutt or Robinson can compete) given the number of games the squad could be playing.

Centre-backs:

Williams (2019)
Jagielka (2018)
Funes Mori (2020)
Browning (2017)
Holgate (2020)
Galloway (2019)
Pennington (2018)

Jagielka and Holgate would presumably both be at the club next season but neither to be considered ‘first choice’. Williams potentially would be first in the pecking order of those remaining – so perhaps two first choice centre backs to be brought in? Although it is possible to conceive that only one is brought in and Funes Mori is retained. Some or all of Browning, Galloway and Pennington to be sold or loaned out.

Central midfielders:

Schneiderlin (2021)
McCarthy (2020)
Davies (2021)
Gueye (2020)
Barry (2018)
Besic (2021)
Walsh (??)

Schneiderlin, Davies and Gueye are potential first choice players next season. Barry will probably remain but rarely be used and Besic is something of an unknown depending on what Koeman makes of him. If the club retain McCarthy (which seems likely from recent noises coming from the manager), I think it’s unlikely any changes will be made in this position particularly given the relative strength in depth and amount of changes required elsewhere. Potentially Besic and/or Walsh to be sold or loaned out.

Attacking midfielders:

Barkley (2018)
Lennon (2018)
Bolasie (2021)
Deulofeu (2018)
Mirallas (2020)
Tarashaj (2020)
Dowell (2019)
Lookman (2021)

Along with centre-back, probably the area of the squad that will need the most work. Mirallas and Barkley (if he stays) would both compete for the first team with Lookman considered a reserve. Some or all of Lennon, Deulofeu and Tarashaj could be expected to leave, potentially also Dowell (either permanently or on loan). Again, Bolasie’s long-term injury would mean he’s unlikely to play much if at all during the first half of the season – so even if Barkley stays, it’s conceivable that two attacking midfielders would be brought in. Potentially one ‘playmaker’ and one pacy/direct player. If Barkley leaves, then even more additions would be required in this area.

Strikers:

(Valencia)
Niasse (2020)
Calvert-Lewin (2022)
Kone (2017)
Lukaku (2019)

Obviously the big question here is whether Lukaku stays. Even if he does, another potential first choice is required here to be competitive on four fronts. Expect Niasse and Kone to go. Potentially Valencia could be retained as a squad player, Calvert-Lewin to be a reserve and 1-2 first choice strikers to come in (depending on Lukaku).

Overall:

So, in an ideal world, the task for Steve Walsh and the Board is to strengthen the squad by bringing in:

  • A first choice goalkeeper
  • Competitor for first choice right-back
  • Possibly a young, reserve left back
  • One or two first choice centre-backs
  • Two first choice attacking midfielders
  • A competitor for first choice forward and a squad player (Valencia or another)

That’s a total of 6-7 first choice players (bearing in mind that ‘first choice’ doesn’t mean play every game, but will expect to start perhaps 20+ games given the volume of football the squad will be playing next season). And potentially additional squad players at left back and centre forward. Further to this, replacements would be required if any of McCarthy, Barkley or Lukaku are sold.

Potential outgoings would be:

  • Stekelenberg (possibly to be replaced by a young reserve)
  • Some of Garbutt, Kenny, Connolly, Robinson (either permanently or on loan)
  • Some of Galloway, Browning, Pennington (either permanently or on loan)
  • Potentially Funes Mori?
  • Besic and/or Walsh (either permanently or on loan)
  • Some of Lennon, Deulofeu, Tarashaj, Dowell (either permanently or on loan)
  • Kone and Niasse

One thing is certain – in order to effectively mount a challenge in all competitions next season and achieve the ultimate aims of silverware and Champions League football, we should expect a significant turnover of players this summer. Let’s hope that the club is well-prepared.

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Reader Comments (57)

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Anthony Hawkins
1 Posted 24/05/2017 at 08:21:55
I agree with most of your assumptions and areas the team needs to be improved. I've made a few tweaks to the list:


• A first choice goalkeeper – It's likely Robless will leave though as his contract is up.

• A young, reserve right-back to cover Coleman until his hopeful return.

• A left back to take over from Baines who needs to begin taking a step back.

• One or two first choice centre-backs – fully agree. Preferably two unless Holgate is ready?

• Two first choice wide midfielders – the team is full of central midfield players and few wide players.

• A central midfielder who is not afraid to own the game.

• A competitor for first choice forward – Two strikers may be required if Lukaku goes. Imagine being back to playing 4-6-0!

David Ellis
2 Posted 24/05/2017 at 10:27:46
A well-balanced article. I agree that Robles will be the one to go of the two keepers because his contract is up and he is young enough to have re-sale value (and the ambition to be number one somewhere else).

Garbutt I am sure will be sold. I think Jags may be off as well. Depending on how Kenny/Connolly develops over the summer we will need a new right back to cover for Coleman's injury. Holgate cannot fully fill this role.

Hopefully Europa League football will help attract a better class of player this summer.

John Raftery
3 Posted 24/05/2017 at 10:36:51
We definitely need to add 6 or 7 to the squad. For me, goalkeeper would be one of the priorities. A top quality keeper can be worth 10 to 15 points a season.

We also need better quality attacking players, with pace, an eye for a pass and the ability to score 12 goals a season.

I am not sure about the midfield trio of Schneiderlin, Gueye and Davies. They have individual ability but they have yet to demonstrate they can operate effectively as a unit. In that regard, I think we will see more of Barry than perhaps we expect, simply because he makes the others play better.

David Ellis
4 Posted 24/05/2017 at 10:42:35
Oh, and I wouldn't keep Valencia.
Shane Corcoran
5 Posted 24/05/2017 at 10:50:47
I reckon that, due to the apparent need for players in so many positions, Koeman might take a chance on the youngsters covering both full back positions.

Between them, Kenny, Holgate, Galloway and Funes Mori might be enough to cover Baines and Coleman.

I think Stekelenburg will stay because he's more likely to be happy to sit on the bench.

One centre-back is needed unless Koeman truly sees Holgate or Pennington as ready, which he may do. He seems to talk only of attacking players when asked about transfers and that may well be all he thinks he needs.

Jim Potter
6 Posted 24/05/2017 at 11:12:05
A well considered piece, Graham.

As much as I want exciting new players coming in, I truly hope Koeman allows our young talent to blossom and develop in the first team squad environment.

The Rom and Ross sagas need to be decided asap and then at least we know what our starting point is.

I trust that, come August, I am full of genuine excitement and hope for the coming season rather than the normal 'we should have achieved a lot more during close season' feeling I usually have.

Let's hope Ron and Mr Walsh have an inspired summer. Amen.

Gareth Clark
7 Posted 24/05/2017 at 11:14:07
Very good article!

First of all – I think we need 3 players in each position. That being, two seniors competing for the starting place & one youngster / veteran as a back up and filler when needed.

So firstly – I think Koeman will keep the majority of the squad for next season.

However, the likes of Kone (already gone), Niasse & Deulofeu (unfortunately) look to be gone.

There's an argument that Funes Mori could be on his way – but he is a good back up option & can play LCB or LB if needed.

Lennon obviously won't be leaving.

McCarthy may try force his way out - but Besic is blue through and through & wont leave unless forced out - which is doubtful as he has the aggression and attitude Koeman likes.

Stekelenburg & Robles would both be gone if I was in charge. Robles had a very decent season, but I don't see him as a #1. I think he is the most likely to make way. With 2 new keepers coming in & Stekelenburg moving to third choice or choosing to leave.

Moving onto in-comings:

It's clear that there is a lot that needs to happen – the signings Koeman makes will tend to be starters or youngsters (not squad fillers).

GK: Butland - as the #1 for Premier League games.

GK: Pickford – as the Cup & European keeper.

LB: Chilwell – offers that pace that Baines doesn't have much of anymore. Plus he will learn a lot off Baines. Also could look at Rodriguez from Wolfsburg.

LB: Sessegnon (if we can get him) – send him back on loan.

LCB: Romagnoli

RCB: Sanchez (from Ajax) – we need two CB's in - one to start & one to push Williams & finally replace him. (Plus more if any of them leave)

RB: Zabaleta – for a year could be a good option.

CDM: Dendonker

CM: Klaasens

CAM: Sigurdsson / Rooney

Winger/CF: Sandro / Onyekuru

ST: Iheanacho – has to be the first one in.

I think Koeman will dig deep to keep Lukaku – which will give us a bigger draw & also let the new striker settle in.

If / When Lukaku leaves – Dolberg has to come in. He has the height & size to be in the prem, and all the attributes one needs.

Squad for 2017-18:

GK: Butland, Pickford, Stekelenburg

LB: Baines, Chilwell, Robinson

LCB: Romagnoli, Funes Mori, Galloway

RCB: Williams, Sanchez, Holgate

RB: Zabaleta, Coleman, Kenny, Connolly, Jones, Browning

LCM: Idrissa, McCarthy, Besic

CDM: Schneiderlin, Dendonker, Baningime

RCM: Klaasens, Davies, Walsh

LAM: Sigurdsson, Mirallas, Calvert-Lewin

RAM: Barkley, Sandro, Bolasie, Lookman

ST: Lukaku, Iheanacho, Sambou

Eugene Ruane
8 Posted 24/05/2017 at 11:16:33
I would love to think there was a plan, a real plan being devised.

Something genuinely...'new' (or better still, revolutionary).

A philosophy.

Without something really new/fresh (other than a few new faces in, a few old faces out, hope for the best) I don't believe we'll see any real change.

What I've seen in recent seasons is a team I consider... um... not smart (euphemism alert) and too small physically.

There have been SO many games I've watched in recent years where my (mental) one-line summing up would be 'not smart enough, not strong enough.'

That stays the same, we'll stay the same.

Brian Furey
9 Posted 24/05/2017 at 11:20:36
When you think how many games Man Utd had this season and they players and money they have at their disposal, then next season is one hell of a task. I think we need to bring in a lot more players than before and not be so quick to get rid of some as some people are saying.

The biggest problem I see is the usual falling between two (or four) stools and so we need to prioritise which trophies we want to put most energy into. Personally I think the League Cup should be the easiest to win, with the Premier League maybe the toughest.

We need to be realistic though that we are going through a huge period of change with up to 90% of our team changing over the last few years. I don't think we're anywhere near ready for Champions League football and so I'd much rather try to win a cup than pushing hard for top 4.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 24/05/2017 at 11:45:13
I think the problem we face is we would like to be able to compete for a top 4 place, but the type of players needed to make the transition from 7th to 4th are very hard to attract. The teams already occupying those positions will have the pick, so we will be left with the players the other clubs aren't chasing.

I agree with Eugene, you would hope we have a plan for the immediate and the longer term. But lets say Koeman and Walsh have identified the players they would like, say Michael Keane for instance. What chance will we have of signing him if Man Utd also want him?

Koeman worked with Van Dyjk but Chelsea are rumoured along with City and Liverpool to be after him. So this just highlights for me the problem we have, so sometimes in our position you have to go for a lesser player than us fans would want.

I think Walsh and Koeman have a massive job this summer and I really think they will have their work cut out to make the changes we all want.

Tony Hill
11 Posted 24/05/2017 at 12:03:25
Eugene (#80), yup, but I would extend that analysis to the club. It is an entire culture that needs replacing but complacency is pervasive, and that very much includes a significant portion of the fan base.

I think many don't realise how late it's getting for Everton.

Alan J Thompson
14 Posted 24/05/2017 at 16:14:13
My biggest gripe would be the players you suggest go out on loan.

How many have already done that and is there any real value in it? How many of us could really assess Tarashaj? (Eric Dols where are you?) Or for that matter some of the U-23s without the reports on ToffeeWeb from those who have seen some games?

Alasdair Mackay
15 Posted 24/05/2017 at 16:33:33
Not sure we need to sign a RB. I've got to believe that Kenny and Connolly can compete for the chance to be Coleman's back-up over the next 6 months.

I think we need to think about Baines' long term replacement more urgently. Robinson's contract expires this summer, Garbutt is unlikely to be the answer and Galloway is more of a CB in the long term.

We definitely need 2 CBs. Even if Pennington, Galloway and Holgate all make it through over the next 2 seasons; Williams and Jagielka will be done by then and we need 5 to compete for 2/3 jobs.

Agree with the rest of the article - a GK, at least 2 AMs and 2 STRs in addition to replacing any 1st teamers that depart.

So I make it 8 1st team players to find this summer!

Jim Potter
16 Posted 24/05/2017 at 16:39:19
Eugene – I agree with your synopsis regarding the current crop lacking the mental and physical attributes of real winners – but surely Koeman and Walsh should be afforded the time over a full summer to bring in their targets. They both arrived too late last year to really assert their influence and have time to adopt a coherent joint strategy on targets.

Let's give them the chance over this coming close season to both get rid of those they deem unsuitable and bring in those they believe will take us forward. They didn't do too badly over the winter market – perhaps this coming one will see the real changes we all desire?

Fingers crossed.

James Hughes
17 Posted 24/05/2017 at 17:12:42
Graham, a nice opinion an where we are and what we need for the future. The stand out point for me was the AM list, that list of players does not get the pulse racing and make you think of goals.

With the window opening on the 1st July and our first competitive game on 27th July it does not leave much room for manoeuvre. The last five games we played well we didn't turn up did we.

I am bracing myself for 5 new signings, 3 of which will be teenagers and exciting prospects full of potential. The other two direct replacements for the two who will leave this summer.
We will still have Jags (bless him) amongst others and the project will still be ongoing.

I am normally a 'glass half full person' as well.
COYB we are back in Europe

Jay Harris
18 Posted 24/05/2017 at 17:27:28
To add to what Eugene was suggesting, We need a real change in mindset, physicality, determination, skill and goalscoring.

We need to study the successful teams and learn from that in terms of style application and ability.

It won't happen overnight but we seem to be laying the foundations at youth level we need to develop the first team into a successful unit.

Koeman seems to have identified the creativity and goalscoring weakness but we don't seem to get a grip on the lack of determination to get stuck in.

I think we need a nasty bastard midfield general and captain who won't accept second best together with some of the very good suggestions made previously.

Des Farren
19 Posted 24/05/2017 at 19:44:37
I would settle for a change in attitude.

Players like Baines, Jagielka, Williams, Mirallas and Barkley have simply sleep-walked through (another) season and cannot be relied upon to offer anything other than token resolve.

Koeman I think, will remain a conservative in every respect but I live in hope.

Clive Rogers
20 Posted 24/05/2017 at 20:55:28
Anthony (#1), David (#2),

Robles has another year on his contract.

Rick Tarleton
21 Posted 25/05/2017 at 09:58:17
Yes, nothing to disagree with. The question is: How do Everton recruit the kind of players that transform you into a top four team? And how do you recruit quality players who will happily sit on the bench at Everton who cannot keep such players happy with huge wages?

I tend to agree with Eugene that the organisation itself needs a radical overhaul. How that is to be achieved is less clear.

We need a younger squad: Barry, Baines, Jagielka and Williams have been excellent players, but they are not going to improve. One of these players, perhaps, needs to be kept to add experience, but basically they should be looking to move. It's a shame Moyes left Sunderland, he'd have offered them all contracts.

Koeman will continue to insist on a conservative approach and we will be solid, but real progress to catch the "big six", will be very difficult to achieve. Perhaps we ought to concentrate on the Europa League, though to be honest, I doubt that without Barkley and Lukaku we have the quality to compete at the level of the better teams in that competition.

Gary Edwards
22 Posted 25/05/2017 at 10:41:23
Eugene (#8) completely agree.

There are some very optimistic, fantasy football~esque shopping lists in this thread but remember – though we may believe that Moshiri is our fairy godmother, the 2 ugly sisters remain very much front & centre stage re: our transfers and as ever will remain hell bent on preventing Cinders going to the Ball that is the Champions League.

Final thought re: Eugene's post. Re: mindset of the team, one of the changes that must be made is skipper. Jagielka has served the club well but I feel is more hindrance than help . besides he was never a born leader of men. In Jagielka's defence, lots of clubs do not have a natural leader.

Rob Dolby
23 Posted 25/05/2017 at 11:39:58
The new regime already has given the club a new mindset and ambition that we haven't had for decades.

The manager has his work cut out without doubt. He is a winner and was a world class footballer, does that mean that he will be our 'special one'? I am not so sure but without doubt he has a strong enough character and is a straight talking no nonsense type.

We need Walsh and Koeman to unearth the new Kante, mahrez etc. We should also look to fill the squad with the U23s and add a few marquee signings like a Goalie, Midfielder and Striker.

Quality over quantity as far as I am concerned and if we are really serious about making the next step whatever that is then players like Barkley and Lukaku who don't see their future with us should be replaced asap – whether they are still here or not.

Dan Egerton
24 Posted 25/05/2017 at 13:01:50
Tyias Browning is more of a right-back then centre-back. He debuted at Anfield replacing Hibbert, where he had a solid game stopping Mario Balotelli.
Phil Walling
25 Posted 25/05/2017 at 13:43:31
Rob @ 23, I wonder if anyone 'in authority' has actually asked the alleged 'wantaways' why they feel the need to find a new employer? Is it the money, manager, or just lack of faith in the Club's short- to medium-term prospects?

Of course, they may not tell the truth and I guess whatever their reasons, those lined up to replace them will have similar concerns if they are of similar quality.

My guess is what we shall actually get from this summer's transfer pot will be a mixture of names we've never heard of and average quality former Koeman players – mostly Dutch.

Thus, the chances of breaking through 'the glass ceiling' will rely more on how much 'magic' our man possesses and can impart rather than the star quality he will attract.


Ciaran O'Brien
26 Posted 25/05/2017 at 13:45:10
We need to get most of our major signings in early. I don't want to see us start spending after and if Lukaku and Barkley goes.

Cuca Martina looks like he'll be our first signing on a free transfer. I don't know what he's like but Koeman rates him plus with Seamus out we need more cover at right back because Holgate is a natural centre half. Although I hope Kenny and Connolly are given some games to impress.

Priorities are goalkeeper, left back, younger dominant centre half, 2 or 3 attacking midfielders/wingers, and two strikers.

Kevin Tully
27 Posted 25/05/2017 at 14:08:13
No team has ever progressed, or had any sustained success, without a very good or great goalkeeper. We had Nigel Martyn for a couple of seasons when he was about to retire and Big Nev. Bog average since then.

Every team in the top 6 has a decent 'keeper, better than anything we've had for 30 years. It's got to be one of Pickford, Hart or Schmeichel. If we don't address this position, forget about winning anything. Leicester would not have won the League without Schmeichel, it's that simple.

As far as attracting established top 4 quality such as Mata, forget it. We have to find players who can step up to fill that gap. Over to you, Walsh & Koeman.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 25/05/2017 at 14:16:10
I know it was different times with much lower wages and transfer fees but the last great team and squad we had from 1984 to 1987 had players like Harper and Richardson added to Southhall, Stevens, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid,Steven, Gray, Sheedy, Heath, Bracewell, Van den Hauwe with two or three others.

None of these players cost a great deal of money, with Heath the most expensive at 𧽴,000; Power and a couple more added to the squad for the last championship win.

So assembling a great squad can be done... makes you think, though, was Howard Kendall a genius or a very lucky manager? I've always felt the latter.

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 25/05/2017 at 14:42:35
Dave (#28),

I have to say that I'm surprised that you believe that Howard Kendall was a very lucky manager as opposed to being an astute man who knew exactly what he wanted from his players and how he wanted them to play.

Everton weren't that attractive a proposition when Howard arrived at Goodison and the club didn't have the largest of transfer pots either. In fact, we aren't that different as a club nowadays, given our unwillingness to spend money on huge wages in comparison to the other top clubs in the division.

In fac,t the club was in such a bad position with its own supporters back then that they had to have a sustained media campaign in order to get the fans back into Goodison.

He had just as many big clubs to contend with and, even worse, a rampant team across the park who were machine like in their ability to replenish their squad year on year.

I agree that an element of luck played its part in Howard and Everton FC climbing to the higher echelons of the game but that could be said for most clubs who have a taste of success.

Unluckily for Howard and Everton FC, the momentum he and the players had built up was undermined by circumstances beyond their control. I would love just one season to be similar to those that Howard oversaw in his and the team's pomp, but sadly the game has changed dramatically... but Everton FC hasn't.

Andrew Ellams
30 Posted 25/05/2017 at 14:42:52
Pace, power, passion. Whoever is on the shopping list, the sum of all their parts need to add up to those three words. They are qualities a bit thin on the ground across most Premier League teams and will probably be high up on the summer shopping lists.
Ian Pilkington
31 Posted 25/05/2017 at 15:28:42
I agree with Kevin Tully that a top goalkeeper is an essential component of a successful team. Our trophy-winning teams had Gordon West or Neville Southall, whilst Champions League qualification in 04-05 was achieved with Nigel Martyn.

Our 74-75 team which missed winning the League by just 3 points had the distinctly average David Lawson and Dai Davies.

I would strongly consider signing Jack Butland, now fully recovered from injury, and on the verge of an England call-up. At 24, he is much more experienced than Pickford and certainly as good as Schmeichel or Hart.

James Hughes
32 Posted 25/05/2017 at 15:50:15
Man City Have just announced Jesus Navas is leaving this summer; what is the opinion of his abilities? He would be a step in the right direction, IMO.
David Barks
33 Posted 25/05/2017 at 15:54:06
Jesus Nava's is 31, scores no goals, and hardly assists on any goals. Please no.
Colin Glassar
34 Posted 25/05/2017 at 15:58:20
Rubbish, David.
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 25/05/2017 at 16:10:43
Patrick (#29), yes, Howard did very well after initially driving thousands of supporters away from Goodison Park; we were down to around 16,000 at one stage before he got it right and I'll always be grateful he gave us supporters and the club our pride back.

He was astute as you say in his signings, especially those of Peter Reid and Andy Gray, great players and two extra captains on the field. Perhaps his best signing was Colin Harvey as his coach the day after the leaflets were given out during the League Cup tie with, was it Notts County?

Colin and Howard were a great combination and had four great seasons together. The reason I think he was a very lucky manager was he never finished the great job he had started with Everton and never reproduced the same magic anywhere else, although sadly we know the reason for some of the later years, but you make a good defence for Howard.

Stephen Karnes
36 Posted 25/05/2017 at 16:15:04
I had completely forgotten about Tarashaj.
John Pierce
37 Posted 25/05/2017 at 17:33:11
Graham, well structured almost bamboozling amount of detail. Do your fingers still hurt??!

So it feels like a complete overhaul is required to some degree, but remember the tactics that our dour Dutchman employs stifle any thought of productivity.

We know that is not going to happen, it's just not a modern day phenomenon to do so, it hurts the team too change so much. Spurs and Liverpool are good recent examples.

What I will say is I'd expect 4 very good signings to make the spine better. A GK, a CB and 2 forwards. I think with Europe we are unlikely to see many departures despite the cry for it; a stronger squad, more durable is required.

I actually think we are behind schedule here, I think we've had two very average windows. Only Schneiderlin and Gana merit as good signings.

That's not acceptable, we've had no success in bringing in a forward player in either window. Leaving this window reliant on getting two very good forwards in is a big ask.

The net result is we may still need, not want to, but need to buy Valencia. The lad wasn't a complete washout and provided a template of what player to buy, we just require an upgraded version.

Tough sledding ahead me thinks.

David Pearl
38 Posted 25/05/2017 at 18:16:33
Only another 11 or so weeks left of checking if we've signed any one new before the next season starts. Joy!
Peter Lee
39 Posted 25/05/2017 at 22:25:07
We need quality.

Talk of 7, 8, 9 players would mean buying players no better than we have at inflated prices in the current market. If available we need to buy the best goalkeeper we can afford, a fast left-sided centre-back, a solid DM and a replacement for Lukaku if he goes. The right quality will cost 𧶀m.

I suspect that we won't have that much to spend even with the proceeds of a Lukaku sale. A Barkley sale will add little, there doesn't seem to be a queue.

The new players need to be big, angry, in-your-face leaders on the pitch.

Graham Holliday
40 Posted 26/05/2017 at 12:04:19
I totally agree with the comments saying that it's unrealistic/counter-productive to change too much of the side over the course of a window.

Realistically, I think we'd only want 3-4 new players to be in the starting XI for the first few games of the new season at the very most – a goalkeeper, a centre back and an attacking midfielder probably being the priorities.

But we also need to make the squad deeper due to the Europa league.

Essentially I was trying to imagine and to a small extent recreate the planning that would be going on behind the scenes to upgrade the squad. I imagine they'll be doing this in a much more detailed way, looking at player 'profiles' in more detail – what attributes potential recruits bring, what characters they are and most importantly how achievable they are in terms of acquisition.

That's the part that I think will make or break the summer plans – can we actually recruit the players we need.

I didn't want to discuss specific players we might go after when I wrote this... but I do want to say that I wonder whether the Rooney rumour might be as much to do with this as with bringing in the best available players. He would have something to contribute on the playing side (albeit not necessarily being an automatic first choice), but as much as anything else, it may be a 'statement' purchase. He is undoubtedly a huge name in the game and would give us more profile. Of course, no idea if there's any substance to the rumour but wanted to state my twopennies on it.

And John (#35) - I have generally tried to keep a list of when players are contracted to, so already had that list (I think it's up-to-date). Plus I'm sure we've all done similar exercises thinking through where we might strengthen... I just wrote it down!

Laurie Hartley
41 Posted 26/05/2017 at 12:48:22
Graham – well thought-out post which left me feeling a bit down in the dumps to be honest. Six new faces minimum and preferably eight left me thinking: How are Koeman and Walsh going to do that?

No doubt Koeman and Walsh will have set their priorities – for me, left-sided centre-half is a position that has to be fixed this summer and we need two clever midfielders.

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 26/05/2017 at 16:00:30
I wouldn't worry too much about our scouting ability. Boys Pen Billy has got an old copy of Roy of the Rovers and has identified Bishop Auckland's goalkeeper, Bert Blinkingeyes, as a potential new signing for 㿨 3s/6d. Chairman Bill has an eye for a bargain.
Lev Vellene
44 Posted 26/05/2017 at 20:24:04
Everton finished in 7th place, so qualified for the Europa League... Why do people assume we can get anyone we want to sign, even if we had bottomless coffers??? There are now 5 teams above us with Champions League action to offer!

I think we have to try to buy smart, we can't bully our way into the "Sneer Club" that easily!

Patrick Murphy
46 Posted 26/05/2017 at 20:54:38
Lev (#44),
Everton FC can't, even without FFP restrictions, buy their way into the 'sneer club' as you call it. We have fallen way behind those clubs above us and it will take a huge amount of cash and judgement for us to even get close to competing with those clubs in the market.

We are, despite qualifying for the Europa League (almost), banded together with the likes of WBA, Stoke, West Ham et al when it comes to attractiveness to potential signings and people who believe differently are fooling themselves.

Yes, we have a new ambitious owner, and hopefully a new stadium on the horizon, however, we are small beer in comparison to the big guns in the division; don't forget those teams have had at least 20 years of investment and commercial deals to steal a march on us – is it unreasonable to believe that it will take at least a quarter of that time to get the club into a better situation financially?

All of that said there is no reason with the right tactics, attitude and stubborness from the manager and the team that we couldn't do a lot better on the pitch in the coming season and beyond. Of all the teams in the top half of the table, Everton have perhaps the most room for improvement.

The manager mustn't be allowed to believe that new signings alone are the answer to Everton's shortcomings, of course there are positions that could be strengthened and if we can afford the right players and persuade them to sign for Everton then fantastic – if we can't there's little point in buying the same types of player that we already possess, unless they have much better attitudes and a greater desire to win football matches.

Manchester United and Arsenal are not that great at the minute, but their strength in depth is the real reason why they both finished ahead of Everton and have been in the hunt for honours albeit mainly in the cup competitions.

A couple of major signings in key positions that will make a difference to the way that Everton perform, a couple of the kids being ready and able to step in when required and a change in mentality of "can we?" into "yes we can!" may do wonders for the team, the supporters and the club – but it has to be about focus and attitude and not about the cheque book alone.

What I will say is that I get the feeling that Evertonian patience is wearing very thin, and the board, manager and players should take notice of that underlying feeling, it's time for them to kick all of their platitudes into touch and take some meaningful action to at least give it a proper go next season.


Lev Vellene
47 Posted 26/05/2017 at 21:27:30
Patrick (#46),

That is the thing that keeps me hoping, and then crashing... How many of of our old players/reserves do we have to get rid of, to buy new players at even better salaries?

All according to that law-thing...

Chris Leyland
48 Posted 26/05/2017 at 21:56:24
Patrick – I'd say we were actually more attractive than WBA and Stoke to players but West Ham could probably compete with us for signings.

Tony Hill
49 Posted 26/05/2017 at 22:20:00
Patrick (#46), absolutely right. Leicester's title wasn't a one-off against the so-called big sides.

It was the result of unshackled simplicity in action. 4-4-2: unthinkably primitive, we were told. Fast, confident, precise football played without any sense of inferiority bamboozled the establishment. Leicester haven't repeated it because they became self-conscious.

It can be done, it really can, with hardness of mind and by honouring our club's traditions of bold and entertaining football; also, by releasing ourselves from the deadly restraints of formulaic Premier League defensive wisdom. We have the support, some high quality players and the expressed ambition and we don't have to follow Leicester's particular style. What we lack, above all, is nerve. We do not truly think it is ever possible, and so it isn't.

One of Koeman's worst errors this season, odd in one who was such a ruthless and arrogant player, was to scoff, with his famously professional frankness, at the suggestion that Everton could make top 4 after our very good start. We proceeded then to sink like a stone, and recovered ourselves too late and too lazily.

If the manager didn't believe then, it's no surprise, perhaps, that our already "fragile" team was happy to agree. It's been the same for about 30 years.

Fix the mind first.


Laurie Hartley
50 Posted 26/05/2017 at 23:09:45
Patrick (#46) and Tony (#49) – both great posts which get to the root cause of why we promise so much at times but almost always fail to deliver – lack of winning mentality.

Anto Byrne
51 Posted 27/05/2017 at 06:02:05
Let's not forget these players consider football a job. They get their 40 grand a week to play football. Let's all be honest we envy them, set up for life as multi millionaires.

So those contracted players at Everton won't be leaving any time soon while the gravy train runs their way. They are content to run down their contracts regardless of them having any chance of actually winning anything.

A year ago we saw Osman and Pienaar leave after their respective contracts ended. Both it seems thought they would get extensions. So what I'm saying is don't expect an exodus of players other than perhaps Barkley and Lukaku and anyone whose contract won't be extended.

I agree we need additional players perhaps 6 or 7. Will the club sanction a bigger squad and can they attract the quality required to get the job done. Top 4 Cups etc.

Stan Lee
52 Posted 27/05/2017 at 22:40:03
Our home form was pretty good last season and a repeat of this would see us with a chance of top four. The main problem is our lack of goals away from home.

By buying more mobile forwards and committing to try and win games away from home from the first minute rather than defending and trying to sneak one. We might lose more but we will certainly win more often.

We need players who can play the ball on the floor and also chase lost causes. Lukaku is not this type of player!

Brian Wilkinson
53 Posted 27/05/2017 at 23:49:18
I have watched enough of the Everton U23s and England U20s, Kenny is deffo ready to step up to the mark as right back; Connolly, on the other hand, needs more time in the U23s. He's decent going forward but gets skinned a few times at left back.
Bob Parrington
54 Posted 28/05/2017 at 10:29:18
Interesting comments on here. My "Bell Weather" posts are really Eugene and John Daly and I go along with both on this thread.

Act the same as everyone else and you'll be an also ran.

C'est la vie, as they say in France!

We need to be different and be a chameleon so that we are not predictable or other managers will know how to set up against us!

Brian Harrison
55 Posted 28/05/2017 at 19:35:28
I think we should concentrate on the Europa League, just as Mourhino did in the latter part of the season. The chances of us competing for a Champions League spot through our league position is pretty small. But we could qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa. Also unlike the 4th placed team in the league you go straight into the group stages without having to pre-qualify.

Now I know many would say go for everything but I don't think we can possibly compete on all fronts and if we do will probably win nothing and fail to qualify for a Champions league spot. Also if we did win the Europa League and qualify for the Champions League we would be in a far better position to sign players. Also the building of the new ground should be well on the way which would show potential signings we are moving forward as a club.

I have to say I don't like the format of the Europa League, the Thursday, Sunday games. I also don't like the fact that the 3rd worst in the Champions League are allowed to enter the Europa League. Having said all that, for me, it's our best chance of seeing Champions League football.

Nicholas Ryan
57 Posted 29/05/2017 at 20:51:25
Brian (#55), I agree we can't attack on all fronts... but I'd do it the other way round. A friend told me, that, to win the Europa League [with qualifying] means playing 19 matches, mostly on Thursdays, some with 5,000 mile round trips!

I think we should have a proper attempt at the top 4, which means being out of the Europa League as fast as possible! I'd play the Under-18s and the tea lady in the qualifiers.

Also, I think we should adjust our transfer thinking; it should be one star first-teamer each window, with a few extras. Last time it was Schneiderlin, this time it should be Sigurdsson, and anything else is a bonus!

Dan Egerton
58 Posted 30/05/2017 at 10:27:21
Jesus Navas played 36 games this season for Man City, 6 of those in Europe. He also has thirty caps for that minnow nation called Spain.

Eugene Ruane
59 Posted 30/05/2017 at 19:51:18
A lot of recent talk (on TW) about the possibility of Usmanov joining Moshiri and the players, trophies and dreams his money could buy.

Anyway, I saw this this afternoon Link and thought 'oh yeah PLEASE let him come here!'

Not for the things (mentioned) that he could no doubt finance, but simply to know he'd occasionally be wandering the same corridors as Kenwright.

“I sense the horrible envy of a loser."

“I live in happiness, unlike you.”

“I spit on you, Alexei Navalny!”

Try slipping a toadying arm around this feller's shoulder and saying "And eh– what a manager!" and he's likely to cut it off and use it to beat the shite out of you.

Laurie Hartley
60 Posted 04/06/2017 at 08:31:56
Eugene (#59) – Thanks for the link. This man is a very impressive character.

The only thing that concerns me is that because he is a winner he might still want to wrestle control from Kroenke.

I would much rather he gave his Arsenal shares to his son-in-law, turned his attention to Everton, and jump in with his business partner Moshiri. If he does, nothing will stop us.

Brian Furey
61 Posted 06/06/2017 at 14:23:27
My biggest disappointment for Everton over the last number of years is not finishing is the top 4 and qualifying for the Champions League but not winning a cup. Too often we seem to fall between two stools and next season (or next month) we'll have another competition to consider.

I'd like to see us do well in the Europa League as I think it raises our profile and other players will want to come play for us. So what if we struggle a bit in the Premier League next season and don't finish in the top 6. If we play our strongest team in every cup game we should have a good chance of finally winning a trophy.

Re bringing in new players, I have a feeling with our U23s doing so well and Lukaku showing that it is possible to move to another club away from the big guns and get back your confidence, that it will encourage other young talented stars to move to us, even on a short term so that they gain vital Premier League experience, rather than sitting on the subs bench and wasting your life.

Gerry Quinn
62 Posted 12/06/2017 at 17:54:01
Sign him on - he scored the winner - and didn't fling his arms around like a numpty we know...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4593178/Ex-Barcelona-director-laments-poor-turn-legends.html

...and what do they really expect as their supporters are all "manufactured"!

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