The result against Chelsea and other results against the top six teams have shown us to be too slow, not technical enough. We can't break down technically good teams (apart from odd results); players lack ambition and the courage to attack and boss the better teams.
Is this season starting to show the widening of the gulf in class between the top six and the rest? Increases in revenue for the top four, plus the Champions League means the current best players will only play for clubs playing in the Champions League. (Yes, Leicester City are the exception but this will only happen now and again as the gulf between the top 6 is getting wider in terms of prize money and the spin-offs.)
Everton easily deal with teams below them with comfort, but I can't see Everton in the next 3 years or so competing with the top six. Even if a new stadium is built tomorrow, it's still going to take 2 or 3 years before it can be filled, before Everton have the pulling power to buy 3 or 4 world class players in the £50 to 60 million range... not at the moment, unless teams are regularly in the Champions League (not the qualifiers but the league stage) they are not interested.
Everton's current crop of players in the over-25 age bracket are never going to get us continually competing for Champions League places. We have an excellent youth academy – surely this is the only way for us now to bridge the gap?
We need to put big money into scouting, use that money to set up a top scout in each of the better-playing countries who scouts that country every day of the week. Buy the occasional player to keep us in the top ten for the next couple of years until the stadium is built, then hopefully the team has developed enough to attract the best players.
With a new stadium, full of Evertonians who will raise the roof and make it the worst place for visiting teams to come, top class players and youth players will all want to be a part of that.
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