What (who) do we need?

Sam Hoare 29/05/2017  50 Comments  [Jump to last]

The season's over now and I thought i might kick things off with the first in, no doubt, a long line of convoluted articles outlining some possible transfer moves this summer. A very Football Manager type piece that many on here despise but I'm fairly confident many, like myself, quite enjoy. Naturally it will be filled with wild speculation and based on almost nothing except the invented tat found online and in the least acceptable of newspapers.

I should also state that I'm going to be aiming high. Probably unrealistically high but then why not target the players who will actually elevate our team to the next level? They say no, we move on.

So first of all comes the actual football bit where we have a look at the team and what is needed. I think most of us will agree that at the very least we require a first choice goalkeeper, a commanding centre back and a playmaker. I'm going to go on the assumption that Barkley and Lukaku will stay, partly because I'd like them both to do so and partly because at the time of writing they are both still here (though in all honesty I fully expect that to change). I also believe that we will need some cover at left back (Baines is on a slow decline) and someone to offer more movement and cutting edge up front as well as an alternative to Lukaku.

Goalkeeper. The usual suspects such as Pickford, Forster, Hart and maybe even David Marshall will be suggested. On the continent the likes of Perrin, Timo Horn, Ruffier and maybe even Onana might be worth a look but for me I've wanted the same player for about three years now – Jack Butland.

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A big lad with a strong all-round game who should establish himself as England's No.1 over the next few years. Stoke won't give him up easy but £30m may tempt them and we are surely a step up with most of the teams above us having settled keepers.

Centre Back. Lots of teams are looking for commanding defenders this summer. Keane, Van Dijk, Maguire and Gibson might all be moving. I think Chris Smalling could be a good move if he wants out at United .

In Europe the likes of Romagnoli, De Vrij, Tah and Lemos have been mentioned but the one that excites me is probably the least likely – Koulibaly. The man is a tremendous athlete and would singlehandedly tighten us up at the back. Napoli don't want to lose him and it would take at least £40m but what a statement it would be.

Left/Right Back. Some cover on the defensive flanks might be needed though I have very high hopes for Jonjoe Kenny to deputise ably for Coleman and perhaps Galloway might show that he is capable of moving forward. Players like Chilwell or Sessegnon are worth a look and if he had not been resurgent at Spurs i would have loved to take Trippier off them.

Instead i fancy one of the best full backs in France this season, Ricardo Pereira. The 23 year old is owned by Porto but has been outstanding for an over performing Nice team. He can play left or right back and is rapid and great on the ball. Would possibly set us back around £10m.

Playmaker. Many are keen on Sigurdsson and while I think he would definitely add something I'm not convinced he's mobile enough. I still think Barkley can do more with a team posessing attacking movement and his passing and creating stats rank favourably with the Iceland man. Lanzini, Klassen and even Hazard (the younger) have been linked. As well as the prodigal son.

There's also Deulofeu returning potentially and the emergence of Dowell (having a very good U20 world cup). But I like another player from France, Ryad Boudebouz. Similar to Mahrez (but cheaper) the Algerian has 11 goals and 9 assists this season playing for a mediocre Montpellier team. He's at a good age and could just be our Payet if things work out. Probably cost around £15m.

Striker/winger. Sandro may yet fill this spot but that's all gone a bit quiet. We definitely need someone to add a few more goals and a lot more movement up top. I think a Mane type would be perfect. The likes of Andre Gray and Callum Wilson have been mentioned. I think Iheanacho might be an interesting move. Brandt from Germany might be useful, Dolberg and Ziyech from Ajax also could be profitable moves.

A player I've liked for a while, even though he flopped somewhat at Chelsea, is Mo Salah. He's been very good at Roma these last two seasons, scoring around a goal ever two games. He's very quick and has very intelligent movement. Would he want to swap Champions League with Roma for Europa with us? Probably not but perhaps Koeman/Moshiri might sell him the chance to be a star in an upwardly mobile PL team. And a chest of cash no doubt....

So my ideal team to start next season is something like:

Butland
Kenny Williams Koulibaly Perreira
Davies Schneiderlin
Salah Barkley Boudebouz
Lukaku

For me that's a team with a chance of sneaking into the top 4 if it gels. Solid and strong at the back, energy in the middle and creativity blended with power and pace in the final third.

My (optimistic potentially) valuations have us spending around £125m but perhaps we would recoup a small chunk of that with the sale of various deadwood such as Cleverley, Niasse and McGeady. Newcastle will apparently get £100m to spend so why shouldn't we?!

I hope that we go big and that we see some players coming in to set the tone for what we hope will be a new era where Everton will be challenging on all fronts and will be a destination that players crave in the same bracket as Spurs, Arsenal and Utd rather than West Ham, Stoke and Southampton.

At any rate, now is a good time for dreaming before a combination of Sky Sports, NewsNow and eventually the OS crush my optimism with the arrival of Jack Rodwell on a year long loan....

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Reader Comments (50)

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Laurie Hartley
1 Posted 31/05/2017 at 06:56:11
I'll have a crack, Sam:

Kasper Schmeichel
Nathan Ake
Juan Mata

Kunal Desai
3 Posted 31/05/2017 at 07:13:19
I think the spine of the team needs replacing with four exceptional players. We will also need another two or three players to replace squad players like Kone, Cleverley and Deulofeu.

My worry, and like previous seasons, is Everton always fall short if having a squad capable of competing on all fronts. Secondly, we may not even get the players the club wants. I still think top four will be a huge task for the club get into.

Paul Kelly
4 Posted 31/05/2017 at 07:34:33
I take it you went with Ronny boy's formation, Sam?

Personally I'd like to see only one defensive mid and with the same team I'd push Davies into where Barkley is and push Barkley up behind Lukaku.

Wouldn't happen in a month if Sunday's, but one can dream.

Gareth Clark
5 Posted 31/05/2017 at 07:56:01
Butland
Romagnoli
Keane
Chilwell
Dendonker
Klaassen
Sigurdsson
Sandro
Iheanacho

With a starting team of:

Butland
Holgate Keane Romagnoli Baines
Gana Schneiderlin Klaassen
Barkley Sigurdsson
Lukaku

Stek, Williams, Chilwell, Dendonker, Davies, Sandro, Iheanacho

With Mirallas, Bolasie, Besic, Barry, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin, etc offering squad depth & different characteristics for certain games.

Robles (in part exchange for Butland), McCarthy, Deulofeu, Niasse, etc could be outgoing.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 31/05/2017 at 09:09:53
I haven't got much of a clue about most of the foreign players who don't already play in England. The only player I want to start is already here, Jonjoe Kenny. As for the rest I will just wait and see.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised with some good signings but, with The Odd Couple still having a say in transfer dealings, will most probably end up being very disappointed.

Clive Rogers
7 Posted 31/05/2017 at 09:50:21
The problem is, it's not a question of who we want, but who we can get to come. So many players are looking for Champions League football.

Just a few weeks ago we were reading that the club were confident that Keane would be signing. Now it looks like Man Utd are favourites. The Pickford deal seems to have gone cold with Sunderland wanting £30m, while Sigurdsson is holding out for £120k per week.

We may have to go for rising stars and have to google who they play for.

Darren Hind
8 Posted 31/05/2017 at 10:08:15
I'm with Dave A., Only I wouldn't stop with Jonjoe Kenny.

Koeman had to backtrack big time after injuries and absentees forced him to play youngsters he had very publically declared "not ready".

The clamour to see Kenny get the right back slot reminds me of when Moyes (Koeman Mk 1) refused to accept that he was wrong and the fans were right about Seamus Coleman. Koeman's decision to use a hugely promising centre back as cover for Seamus instead of a natural right back had Davey Moyes stamped all over it.

We cant compete with the big boys in the market their appeal is so much greater, so we have to try another way.

Koeman thinks like Moyes, he acts like Moyes, I suspect that its only the fact that C&A have gone belly up that he isn't already wearing the cardies like Moyes.

The big change I would like to see is Unsworth for Koeman. A bold experiment traded for the mind-numbingly boring "project". Ambition for consolidation. Adventure for respectable mediocrity.

Forget the transfer dreams, We will be 6-7th in line for every decent player on the market. Those who finished comfortably ahead of us will be stronger still next season and we will be stuck in 7th-placed limbo.

Look at the cut of the rest of the premiership right now? what's the worst that can happen? One thing we know is the football couldn't possibly be as life sucking as the shite we witnessed last season.

What do we need? A gullible billionaire to take plain speaking Ronnie and his zombie football away from our club.

Stan Schofield
9 Posted 31/05/2017 at 10:37:46
What or who we need depends on what we want to achieve.

If we're content with attaining and being one of the top-6, then maybe just a few signings plus better tactics from the manager, especially with regard to changing the mentality away from home. If we can do that, then we'll be pretty much like Liverpool, being up there but not really winning anything significant anymore. You're nowt for coming second, as they say.

However, if we really want to be top dogs like we were in the 60s and 80s, then we'll need Usmanov or someone equivalent with really massive financial backup.

Peter Warren
10 Posted 31/05/2017 at 10:41:37
Must admit I think Darren has a point. I'm giving Koeman more time but so far he is just like Moyes with a different accent and his teams play like Moyes's too.
Adam Scott
11 Posted 31/05/2017 at 10:46:06
Stan is right, really.

For me, we don't have the finances to make a leap from 7th to top 4 in one swoop. To do that would need Man City money, and on top of that, an acceptance that we would have to break FFP regulations.

Our growth projections have to be based on slow, but continuous progress. Koeman achieved that last season with us in with a shot of the Europa League group stage.

We are not going to attract or I believe afford, the top echelon players. We have to box clever a bit. I want us to emulate Spurs. A open youth policy and buying the best young players from abroad and home (Alli, Eriksen, Lloris, Walker, Rose, Kane, Alderwierled, Verthongen, Dembele) That is how a team like us makes progress. It won't be easy as other teams will also covet the model. It won't be built in a day though and we have to accept that.

I am surprised we didn't make a bigger play for Solanke either. His chances at Everton would surely be far greater than at Liverpool?

Adam Scott
12 Posted 31/05/2017 at 10:50:45
I don't think Darren has a point at all.

Koeman has turned around the home form. Away form is poor, granted, but his ruthlessness with the deadwood who made up most of our squad should be applauded.

There is no way Moyes would have played Davies for the number of games he did either. Holgate isn't a natural right back, but a lot of people are making very snap judgments on Jonjooe Kenny on the basis of his form in the U-23s. They see more of these players than we do. Davies, Lookman and the trust in Holgate as a young player doesn't add up to a manager scared to use youth.

Kieran Fitzgerald
13 Posted 31/05/2017 at 11:04:08
There is not a hope of us throwing £200m to 300m around the place to buy players. We are not going to go out and buy five or six quality players that will improve the squad. That's a price tag of £120m at least. £120m in one transfer window, Everton, really? With a new stadium to pay for as well.

Whether Koeman and or the fans like it or not, some of the Under-23 squad is going to have to be promoted to the senior squad.

Who would have predicted that Davies was ready. He played in a couple of dead rubber games in May 2016 and then just exploded onto the scene last season. Kenny and Dowell could well do the same. They may not but if they aren't given the chance in the same way as Davies then we'll never know.

Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 31/05/2017 at 11:04:52
It could be worse, folks, we could be Arsenal!

They don't spend enough money on the right players, they have a clueless manager, a board in disarray and a bunch of mercenary players who only perform when they want to – well that's all according to a section of their supporters and some parts of the media.

Lifting the FA cup for the third time in four years, and watching their team play in an iconic new stadium, has for some, just papered over the cracks, as Arsenal ended the season outside of the top four for the first time in over 20 years, showing the true demise of a once great club.

Everton, on the other hand, haven't sniffed a trophy for over two decades are still performing in a beloved but run-down stadium, have finished in the top four just once in a quarter-of-a-century and have a lamentable record at the homes of the elite clubs in the division.

Evertonians have backed their club in the past and they continue to back it in the here and now, as exemplified by the club now having waiting lists for season tickets and it has already sold-out the hospitality lounges and executive boxes for the coming season.

The difference in demands of the two clubs supporters is and has been an enormous one for some considerable time but, with a new stadium on the horizon and new financial backing in the form of Mr Moshiri, at least we are starting to take baby-steps in the right direction.

What Everton FC now need is a passionate, fully-focussed team on the park who aim to take three points from every fixture, the make-up of the team isn't as important as the desire they show at all times to make the club a real force where it really matters.

I used to be concerned that Everton had a particular tradition to uphold when it came to playing the game in the right manner, and to a certain extent I still do, but as each year passes I realise that the sands of time are not on my or the club's side.

If Arsenal fans are afraid of their club falling behind, what does that tell us about the current cliimate and the situation that our club finds itself in?

Given the good news stories off the pitch, new stadium, good commercial deals, record season ticket sales etc, this is not a time for the club to call for patience or for the great and the good who are in charge to exude smug satisfaction; it is a time for ensuring that the Everton squad is truly bolstered for the challenges ahead.

It's going to be a big summer for Everton and Evertonians, and we all hope that it leads to a big season for the club; however, the size of the task remains huge and far from easy! Just ask some of those Arsenal fans.


Don Alexander
15 Posted 31/05/2017 at 11:16:36
Trust dear old Darren, again!

Might it not be the case that since Koeman spoke as he did of the youngsters the likes of Davies, Holgate, Kenny et al have been incentivised in their efforts to improve to the point where he just has to pick them?

I suspect it's the good cop/bad cop routine at USMFF as regards Unsy and Koeman respectively, which to most people amounts to good management by getting the staff to maximise their potential.

With the old pro's on mega-contracts that approach ain't feasible though and nor is any other if the mind-set isn't receptive to personal improvement on the training ground. They're loaded and basically don't give a damn beyond the platitudes trotted out after the latest shite result.

Of course Darren, and I'll say it for you to spare you responding, you'd no doubt contend such a thing to have been a complete fluke.

Thomas Surgenor
16 Posted 31/05/2017 at 12:04:33
Don,

I have to say I'm in agreement with Darren on this one. Koeman's hand was forced. If it wasn't for injuries, we probably wouldn't have seen Davies this season.

He dropped Holgate as soon as he possibly could to accommodate his out-of-form senior pros. There was a good period of time that we hadn't lost when Holgate started. Didn't McCarthy play right back earlier in the season?

I also felt, when we had given up on 6th, we should've at least got Dowell or Walsh some experience rather than persisting with Valencia when we all pretty much know he wouldn't be part of the squad next season.

Stan Schofield
17 Posted 31/05/2017 at 12:07:23
Thinking about when we had the large financial support of John Moores at the start of the 60s, we could buy the best, like Alex Young and Alan Ball. But we still had a strong youth set-up, culminating in half-a-dozen who'd come through that system, in the greatest Everton side ever, at the end of the 60s.

I would like to think that, with Moshiri's finances, we could operate similarly, and we seem to be doing that to some degree with the youngsters like Davies who are coming through. Recruiting players like Schneiderlin, whilst bringing Under-23s into the 1st team, looks a good formula. Plus, like in the 60s, keeping our best players, no longer losing players like Rooney.

Even if someone like Usmanov came in and we had massive finances, it would still be good to maintain this strategy of bringing youngsters through the ranks. This would help maintain the identity of our great club, and although money is always so important, make us less reliant on the 'mercenary' mentality that dominates clubs like Chelsea and Man City who can't match our heritage.

So, for me, there is solid incremental progress so far under Moshiri and Koeman, reflected in excellent home form and the emerging talent from our youth system. Several new signings should generate further progress next season, but we can't really expect to be top dogs again, like in the 1960s, unless we have the bigger financial backing that someone like Usmanov could bring, thereby mirroring the clout we had with John Moores.

Phil Walling
18 Posted 31/05/2017 at 12:09:27
It depends what for!

If you are looking for another 'seventhish' season – and you'd be foolish to look for more – then a decent goalie, right-back, central defender, winger and replacements for them who walk out on us will just about do it.

If, as some dreamers would have it, you think we can ever put in a challenge for' Europe proper' then it's a whole bloody team and yet another manager that's wanted, make no mistake!

Phil Walling
19 Posted 31/05/2017 at 12:21:48
Sorry, Stan, John Moores and the football world he lived in is long dead!

Money, not kids is all that wins leagues, cups and medals. Home produced kids are every Premier League manager's last resort -to be used when the £multi-million purchases have flopped or are under the knife.

In this mad, mad orgy of wealth, even the likes of Davies will find it hard to maintain a place next season – you'll see! And as for the likes of Holgate, Kenny and Galloway – forget them; they've had their taste of life at the top. Brentford beckons!

John Daley
20 Posted 31/05/2017 at 13:10:01
"...as for the likes of Holgate, Kenny and Galloway – forget them, they've had their taste of life at the top. Brentford beckons!"

They've "had their taste"? So, they're not going to experience even a morsel more? It's been and gone? The fine dining is finished and all that's left for the three of them is drooling over a fucking dog bowl?

There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe Holgate won't feature at least as much next term as he has the season just gone, especially if Europa League qualification is achieved. With the lack of options in both full-back positions, Galloway and Kenny have surely got a fighting chance of getting a sniff if they can impress sufficiently over pre-season.

Way too premature and short-sighted to be writing any of them off so readily.

It's one thing being a self-professed 'realist', but seemingly finding mirth in the prospect of young Everton players failing to make it, moves you far beyond minge bag and moors you firmly in the realm of schadenfreudian shit spewer.

Peter Gorman
21 Posted 31/05/2017 at 13:17:09
Phil, you are becoming a parody of yourself.
Ciaran O'Brien
22 Posted 31/05/2017 at 13:50:05
Well, I think Liam Walsh and Kieran Dowell should be promoted to the first team because we need to keep that local lad Family feeling in the squad plus they were stars for the U23s and for England U20s and so on.

In regards to transfers, we have to get most of the business done early before and if both Lukaku and Barkley are sold. Robles, Funes Mori, Jags, Garbutt, Besic, McCarthy (unfortunately), Kone, Deulofeu (also unfortunately) should all go over the next two windows whilst Baines, Williams and Barry should be gradually phased out.

We should go for either Butland, Hart, Leno or Perin for our new Number 1.

Maguire, Llorente, Lemos, Romagnoli, Gibson at centre half, we may need two.

Walsh can replace Besic or McCarthy while Barkley can be retrained as a deep playmaker or a left sided attacking midfielder, that is if we keep him.

We can then get a proper Number 10 like Sigurdsson, Klaassen or some unknown Spanish or South American. Dowell can be the back up.

Lookman needs to play more and his pace can cause problems so he should be one of the options on the wing alongside Mirallas and another pacy winger. The new winger hopefully can score goals too.
I don't know who we can get for the wing maybe Munian at Bilbao or Gray at Leicester.

Up front we need two new strikers alongside (Lukaku?) and Calvert-Lewin. We need one speedster who is mobile and one creative forward.

I would look at Vietto who was on loan at Sevilla from Atletico and I would also look at Ihaenacho who is gonna be a star. For a creative forward we could go for Domenico Berardi at Sassuolo who looks the part or Lucas Perez, who should have come to us instead of Arsenal, and maybe beat the Shite to that Brazilian, Luan.

David Reid
23 Posted 31/05/2017 at 14:10:09
"Thank God I signed for Tottenham,” he told Fifa.com. “There were talks that started way before and everything happened in the last few hours.

“I went on holiday, and everyone knew I wanted to leave Newcastle to go to a bigger club, play in the Champions League and compete for titles.”

So, "... bigger club ... Champions League ... compete for titles" be careful what you wish for – he hasn't played since 22 October 2016. He cost £30 million, played 1 season – now surplus to requirements.

Introducing: Moussa Sissoko

Stan Schofield
24 Posted 31/05/2017 at 15:06:41
Phil @19: I agree there's an orgy of wealth, but at the same time I think that some of the owners, including Moshiri, are trying to get the most from as little spend as possible, rather than splashing loads of dosh, Man City style. I believe that's why Koeman was recruited, because of his track record of getting decent results without major signings. Same with Klopp across the park.

The difference now is we don't NEED to sell our best players, surely an attraction to Koeman after his Southampton experience.

I think the recent recruitment of that analyst guy from Forest Green Rovers fits with a business strategy of trying to maximise results (or 'productivity' to use the currently fashionable management term) whilst minimising expenditure. Just an impression, and would also fit with maintaining a robust youth system and trying to bring them through to the first team.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
25 Posted 31/05/2017 at 17:25:46
"He hasn't played since 22 October 2016. . played 1 season – now surplus to requirements."

Are you quite sure about that, David? Or are you talking about his double, "Sissoka" as you typed it, from a parallel universe?

John Pierce
26 Posted 31/05/2017 at 17:46:00
Quite bizarrely, I think if Everton, as in the Board, don't actually get their transfer shit sorted out, then, Unsworth will be in the frame as Koeman walks from his office, to the plane, to the beach, to the bar for a Corona!

Darren might get his wish, in a weird kind of way!

Koeman was clear about his reasons for dumping Southampton by text and running into the buxom arms of the People's Club for a cool £6m.

He can breathe a sign of relief and deck his Crimbo tree any colour he wants, warming signs were there folks he blamed the whole episode on his missus...chortle

Or will ultimately Ron not step up and leave like he did at Southampton if Everton don't meet his ambitions?

Do we think after his mid-season tantrum and his hardman chat re Barkley, he would leave if Everton have a piss-poor window...?

Phil Walling
27 Posted 31/05/2017 at 17:47:10
Peter @21;

Self-parody or not, do you seriously believe we can stay 7th by the regular inclusion of the guys I named in the post? The 'young ones' star was fading fast before we reached season's end. Just look at the away record!

Apart from Davies as a useful replacement, none of 'Unsy's Wonderkind' have a price to make a regular slot in the first team. Sorry!

Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 31/05/2017 at 18:23:06
Sam, great research and effort... congrats on having the time and dedication available to watch all those games.

However, what we need most to crack the top four is a true creative #10, and Barkley isn't and never will be that. I'm a little surprised that you're among those who believe that surrounding him with better players will somehow give him the vision and nous required, but it'll never happen. Haven't seen your choice Boudebouz, but I'm convinced that Sigurdsson would fill the bill. Many of the best #10's I've seen weren't very pacey.

I also share Adam's (#12) caution on Kenny. Obviously brilliant going forward, but we have no idea if he can defend at Premier League level, as Holgate can. Let's find out before we hand him the starting job.

And we strongly disagree about centre-back. The "statement" of spending that much on Koulibaly – or the blunder of bringing in the hilariously error-prone Smalling – would be that we're fools to ignore what we've got. First crack at any centre-back change should go to Holgate. I think that young man will be a very special defender.

Paul Burns
29 Posted 31/05/2017 at 19:32:13
Until the whole philosophy of the club changes to where winning is all that matters instead of indulging over-rated, self-appointed superstars or mediocre journeymen who think they're doing the club a favour by playing for us, then pondering the signing or not of players is meaningless.
Sam Hoare
30 Posted 31/05/2017 at 19:40:31
Thanks Mike @28. I seem to recall you like stats so have a look at this article:

https://www.grandoldteam.com/2017/05/28/fixing-evertons-creativity-analysis-potential-summer-transfers/

A lot of Barkley's passing stats are better than Siggurdssons and he actually creates more chances per game. As does Boudebouz. I like the Icelander but I'm one who believes Barkley has suffered due to lack of movement in front of him and would benefit from another genuine playmaker. Perhaps the two of them in the same team? Either way Barkley's ours till he's sold hence him making my XI.

Holgate may become a great centre-back but he's fairly untried there at senior level and I think it would be dangerous to rely on him as a first pick next season. Koulibaly would be immense. Smalling is underrated in my book, quick and strong in the air. I think he'd benefit from a run as first choice along someone like Williams. Wouldn't be in my top 3 or 4 centre-back picks though.

Andy Crooks
31 Posted 31/05/2017 at 21:23:28
Sam, I know some hate this kind of stuff but I thoroughly enjoy it. Well done on the research you put in.

You remind me of a colleague, many years ago, who spotted a player in the Venezuelan second tier whom he thought could make it in the Premier League. That is a compliment, by the way. Fine article.

Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 31/05/2017 at 23:25:14
Sam (#30), not sure where the stats in that article came from, but I think that how a "chance" is defined is affecting those numbers.

The official Premier League player stats website has a category called "Big Chances Created"... Ross is credited with 9 for the season (https://www.premierleague.com/players/4115/Ross-Barkley/stats?se=54) while Sigurdsson has 16.

But there's something no statistical database tracks, and that's the "oh-shit" factor. Sigurdsson on the ball is safe... his teammates can get forward knowing he won't make a mistake and lose the ball. Barkley's tendency to make wrong choices and turn the ball over in bad locations often leads to the "oh-shit" moment in his teammates where they have to turn and sprint back to cover the counter. The most underrated characteristic of all for a #10 is that his mates can count on him to do the right thing with the ball and not hang them out to dry. Sigurdsson has it. Ross does not.

I do agree with you that they might work very well together behind the striker(s). I hope we get to find out.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 31/05/2017 at 23:29:35
ps: ... and yes, Smalling has all the talent in the world and is a fine positional defender. But he makes so many shocking, unaccountable mistakes in front of goal that I would never, ever want him. The bizarre header against Boro in March was the latest in a long line.
Sam Hoare
34 Posted 01/06/2017 at 06:54:33
Thanks Andy.

Mike, you may be right but I think Smalling has only had one season at Man Utd where he's been first choice centre-back. 15-16. He was their player of the year. This year he's been in and out of the team.

Some players require more continuity to reach their best and I think if he came to us and played every week in a well organised team there'd be less mistakes.

Stephen Brown
35 Posted 01/06/2017 at 07:28:22
Patrick (#14) makes a very good point! Arsenal have won the FA Cup 3 times in 4 years and their fans are disgusted! We would give anything for that sort of silverware!

I have always mocked Chelsea and Man City as plastic clubs and argued our record for winning trophies as superior to theirs but when the odious John Terry retired I noticed a stat saying he'd won 12 major trophies! We've only won 15 in total! Man Utd supposedly had a terrible season yet won two trophies!

We are fast approaching a point of no return in terms of ever competing again with our former contemporaries! Bold, decisive and ambitious leadership is necessary!

Signing Rooney and (I hate to say it) Joe Hart would help attract some of the other players mentioned on this thread and also instil a winning mentality!

We need to be winning cups soon! Here's hoping Moshiri et al has a plan!!!

Sam Hoare
36 Posted 01/06/2017 at 10:01:21
Atletico Madrid have had their transfer appeal rejected. No transfers for them this Summer which may well see movement on the Sandro transfer if you believe gossip that he was being lined up by them.

It also means that they will be extremely unlikely to sell Griezeman if they can possibly help it. Which could mean more likelihood of Utd going for Lukaku instead. All ifs and buts but sure there will be some permutations one way or another.

David Pearl
37 Posted 02/06/2017 at 04:48:15
Great effort, Sam. I actually agree with most or all of your suggestions. As long as Butland is fit he'd be the one for me. Though I think Robles can still improve and is underrated. Koeman will likely play either 4-3-3 or 3-4-3/3-4-2-1.

Ross Barkley's form dipped after the injury to Seamus and the formation changed. I can only see us getting Sigurdsson if Ross goes as the pair of them plus Lukaku is way too static for me.

Arsenal. I find this situation with all their ex players so willing to put the boot into Wenger disturbing. Boo hoo they didn't make the Champions League. Name one club, any one club with a better record of making the Champions League than Arsenal. There isn't one. They spent less than other Champions League teams during erection of the Emirates.

Now, they will have a bit more to spend but the man that Wenger is he will try to stay away from such vulgar signings as Pogba. I like him. I like the way his teams play. I'd even back him in a fight with a Mourinho. 3 FA Cups in 4 years. The trouble is consistency and a couple of captain types needed. It's tough to pick next seasons top 4. 2 of the "rich 6" will again miss out. (though 1 snuck in).

Will Everton keep 7th after our expected £100m record breaking summer spend? Or will that not be good enough as we all look up and expect/demand higher.

Bob Parrington
38 Posted 02/06/2017 at 10:30:50
Hey Sam, Can't think why you would include Williams in the back 4. He was a good "fill-in" for this season but IMO we need speed at the back along with strength. He has the latter but we also need to take "distribution" in to account. So, I would rule him out for other than a squad position.

I like the idea of Keane but don't like the retrograde step to Smalling. The has to be a better up-and-coming player! Problem is, I don't see enough of the European teams to make considered suggestions!

Sam Hoare
39 Posted 02/06/2017 at 10:38:41
Bob, I'm not the biggest fan of Williams although no doubt he did play his part in making us a more solid team this season. His stats for tackles, clearances etc are pretty decent too. Mainly I kept him in as it felt a bit maverick to change the entire back 5!

I wouldn't be upset at all to see us bed in 2 new first choice centre-backs but I suspect Koeman is a fan and that Williams may well be starting first Premier League game of the season. He is an experienced Premier League defender and, alongside a bigger quicker player, I think he could still be part of a hard-to-breach unit.

Ian McDowell
40 Posted 02/06/2017 at 11:02:43
Priorities for me should be:

1. Goalkeeper
2. Attacking midfielder (who scores goals)
3. Centre-back
4. Forward

Steavey Buckley
41 Posted 02/06/2017 at 11:22:04
After the Everton debacle against Arsenal on the heels of many other poor away performances, Everton need a whole new team.
David Chait
42 Posted 02/06/2017 at 13:52:57
Not the first though ,Sam... but I love these articles as an amateur wannabe FM so the more the merrier.

One thing I like is your call on some names we not linked with. Too many are taking the names that the agents (via the press) are having us believe we are after and building teams around them.

I think Smalling is a good call. Or is he a poor man's Holgate. As we stand now, the centre-back is the most important position to fill after the creative number 10. I used to be all about this position but for me we will have a massive hole next year.

I want to see us invest behind the first team and not the squad exactly. Players that push our go to players and elevate the first team to another level. Take Morgan as an example.

ACM
CB
GK

Then we will have to replace Lukaku and Barkley. But that is a different story altogether.

Sam Hoare
43 Posted 06/06/2017 at 12:33:03
Looks like one of my picks (Salah) could be off to the RedShite. Was always going to be a longshot for us but I think he could do very well on his return to the Premier League. Rapid, scores and creates goals. Bit like Mane.

Hopefully we can find a similar type player as we really need more movement and pace up front. Still 3 weeks till the window opens and, even then, we may have to wait until the lions have had their share...

Michael Kenrick
44 Posted 06/06/2017 at 15:20:00
Sam... three weeks? Or three days???
John Daley
45 Posted 06/06/2017 at 15:43:32
Three days that feel like three weeks?

Some sites say the window opens July 1st, but Sky has it down as June 9th.

Paul Smith
46 Posted 06/06/2017 at 15:49:36
First things first: it looks like both Lukaku and Barkley are on their way.

If Lukaku goes to Chelsea I would be asking for £50m plus Batsuyahi and Ake as well. Then if we get 30m for Barkley and replace him with Sigurdsson.

Then the need for a new goalkeeper would take me to Fraser Forster who is a man mountain for about £20 - 25m. I would still be hopeful of getting Keane in at centre back. So that would leave us about level on the spending front but a big increase on wages. The last buy would be Keita Balde the striker from Lazio or Inaki Williams from Bilbao.

This would leave us with a starting team for next season in a 4-3-1-2 formation as follows:

Forster
Kenny, Keane, Ake, Baines
Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies
Sigurdsson
Batsuyahi, Keita Balde

This for me would be an exciting team which would be far younger than what we have presently. I would also not be averse to buying a new left back plus you have Bolasie to come back in when fit. Let's just hope we start moving people in and out quickly now.

Chris Williams
47 Posted 06/06/2017 at 15:54:09
Does it normally open on a Friday? Sounds more like a deadline.
Harj Badwal
49 Posted 08/06/2017 at 12:57:42
Need pace and power in team. goalkeeper, playmaker, 2 strikers, possible winger 3-5-2. Bring back Deulofeu.

Forster
Keane
Holgate
Baines
Schneiderlin
Gueye
Sigurdsson
Davies
Deulofeu
Dzeko
Batsuyahi

That side will give any team a game and push top 4.

Paul Ellam
50 Posted 15/06/2017 at 15:16:21
My team to start the new season (if players are bought/sold)

Pickford
Holgate Williams Keane Baines
Gueye Schneiderlin
Sigurdsson Rooney Klaassen
Giroud

Subs:

Robles, Kenny, Jagielka, Davies, Mirallas, Calvert-Lewin

James Lee
51 Posted 15/06/2017 at 15:34:11
Pickford
Kenny Jagielka Keane Baines
Gueye Schneiderlin
Sigurdsson Klaassen Sandro
Batshuayi

Subs: Robles, Williams, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Davis, Mirallas.

Sam Hoare
52 Posted 15/06/2017 at 15:44:08
See you've gone for technique and intelligence over pace there Paul. Personally I think having a counter-attacking threat is crucial these days and you need at least one if not a couple of pace merchants in your forward line.

Interesting that two of the players I mentioned in this piece Perreira and Salah are being strongly linked to our rivals Spurs and the RS. Would be a bit jealous if they got them though it looks like we are starting the window strongly...

At this point i'd maybe opt for:

Pickford
Kenny Williams Keane Perreira
Klaassen Schneiderlin Davies
Sandro Batshuayi Lookman

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