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Will Lukaku sign a new contract?

Does anyone else think that Lukaku will be off at the end of the season?

What was the point of his agent coming out and saying a new contract is 99 percent agreed a few months back if he was never going to sign it?

Initially I thought a new contract would have meant a hefty wage increase for the player in exchange for club security in future transfer negotiations and a massive buy-out clause being inserted. I for one think, if he were to stay and one or two more key signings made, that we could seriously challenge for honours next season.

If Lukaku should go, particularly to another Premier League club, we would be taking a massive backward step.
Pete Ward     Posted 27/01/2017 at 19:07:57

Are you going to the big fight?

There are memorable occasions at Goodison Park which do not necessarily relate directly to football itself.

One that I call to mind is is of people saying, ‘Are you going to the big fight today?’ This was the question whenever Bolton Wanderers were playing us at Goodison Park or Burnden Park and Dave Hickson and Malcolm Barrass were on opposing sides.

They always ended up fighting or scuffling. This was part of the expected entertainment as Everton’s footballing abilities left a lot to be desired in those days. Oddly enough, I cannot recall either player being sent off. I do remember Dave Hickson being sent off another time for arguing with the referee.

I was the first person to get Dave’s autograph well before his first team baptism and I was proud of this fact. Sadly my book which contained many Everton and other player’s signatures has gone the way of the world.
David Peate     Posted 25/01/2017 at 16:07:20

Our new second favourite team

With the signing of Lescott, Moyes now has 4 old boys with Rodwell, Pienaar, and Anichebe already there.

People seem greatly amused by this on message boards and Twitter. But as Evertonians, does this make us not want to get behind Sunderland, especially as 3 of the 4 left the club on good terms?

So what does everyone think? I certainly take much more interest in Sunderland now, and I always want the northern clubs to stay up ahead of the London clubs.
Steve Ferns     Posted 24/01/2017 at 14:20:44

Europa League, again.

We have a chance to qualify for the Europa League. Some Evertonians don't like the idea. I see their point but, in my view, it is short-sighted. Will a Europa League campaign cost us Champions League football? Who knows; what I do think, though, is that Europa League football might just give some of our younger supporters memories that do not come round too often.

From a practical point of view, I think we would be ready. We will have Besic back, Bolasie will return. Our loanees will come back. We will have young players coming through. We will make new signings.

We can have a League Cup team and a Europa League team. We will have a strong enough squad. To me, we have no place disparaging European football – we should embrace it and set the standard.
Andy Crooks     Posted 23/01/2017 at 21:08:38

New contracts

Any news on the Lukaku and Barkley contract extensions?

I recall in December Romelu’s agent announcing his new contract to be 99.9% but have heard nothing since.

More troubling is the lack of action on Barkley. The club announced in December that a new contract would be forthcoming after the New Year. In June 2018, he is a free agent... I would be gutted if the club had to sell this summer.


Habib Erkan Jr     Posted 22/01/2017 at 13:13:10

Flexibility

I just wanted to post a few words about our shape and system in recent weeks. Given so much has been said about the performances of some individuals, I think it’s worth mentioning how the players are asked to play as this has probably been just as significant a factor in recent performances and potentially in how we will get on in the coming weeks and months.

The most significant factor to me seems to be flexibility. Whereas his predecessor had us playing in one shape and one style come what may, Koeman has been at the other end of the spectrum – adapting his system almost week in week out to meet the needs of the game.

I think there’s something to be said for not always playing to the opposition but instead imposing your own way of playing onto an opponent (and at times I’ve been critical of how easily we’ve resorted to hoofed balls up to Lukaku this season, instead preferring where we’re the more capable side to outplay and outmanoeuvre sides), but there’s definitely a need for players to be able to adapt to a game as it plays out and this is where I think the Koeman philosophy is superior to that of Martinez.

In particular, when we play the system that we did against Manchester City, the players seem to be facilitated by the shape to be able to adapt depending on whether they’re on the front or back foot. I’ve seen it referred to as a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 but these are quite simplistic terms for what is essentially an ever changing shape. There were times in the first half against City when we were penned in and Coleman and Baines were acting as more or less out and out defenders, giving us a 5 at the back.

In front of the 5 were Barry and Davies, aided by Barkley and Mirallas dropping in as required making the shape almost a 5-4-1. However, it quickly changed as we become more expansive, particularly on the counter attack, with the wing backs pushing on as midfielders and Mirallas essentially operating as a second striker, verging towards a 3-5-2 or even 3-4-3 at times when Barkley pushed on. It also looked as though later in the game that Schneiderlin was operating at the base of a diamond, with Davies and McCarthy either side and Barkley at the tip, giving the shape a look of 3-6-1 (the six being the four mentioned plus the wing backs).

Now these are all just numbers but what it points to is an adaptability that just didn’t look like we had under the previous incumbent. The 5-4-1 shape comes through as you’re looking to defend deep and narrow and withstand pressure, the 3-6-1 floods the midfield as you’re looking to close the game out and not offer the opposition chances.

The question mark that seems to hang over this side is how it copes against sides that will sit in and defend, looking to expose us on the counter attack. But the flexibility shown against City was certainly a positive and in my view stands us in good stead as the side will need to play in different ways against different types of opposition over the course of a season.
Graham Holliday     Posted 20/01/2017 at 16:34:17

Decades: the '70s

Now this all started as a drunken night in the pub as a lot of the best arguments often do.

My brother and I were talking about the best Everton players we have ever seen. Both of us started watching in the 70s so we ended up discussing it by decade and trying to determine the best 5.

It occurred to me that looking back is always popular in these parts so I thought sharing our combined deliberations might at least stimulate some debate and would provide some mild relief from the transfer window.

We had no scientific criteria for what is the 'best'. Just the players who we remember with affection and provided the memories that being a football supporter is all about. And they played at least one game in the decade concerned.

So in order to test the waters, I will start with the first decade, the 70s. A decade where I watched most of my football on the Gwladys Street, mostly dressed with at least three scarves. One around the neck, one around the wrist and one tucked in my waist band.

5. Andy King

A bundle of energy as a player. A midfield player with a lovely touch and an eye for a goal. Written into Everton folklore for one of the great Derby moments. Sadly missed.

4. Brian Labone

A one club Evertonian, a leader of men, a proper centre half and one of a few to raise the Championship and the FA Cup in a blue shirt.

3. Bob Latchford

Bob Latchford walks on water is what my pin badge said. The best header of a ball I've ever seen, a serial goalscorer. He was a British record signing and he paid it in full. His 30 goal season was a welcome oasis in a really barren patch for the club. One of the great Goodison hat tricks as we beat Coventry 6-0 and went top of the league.

2. Mick Lyons

Maybe not a footballing decision and I'm sure the most controversial given the number of 69-70 League winners who could be included. But Mick embodied being an Everton player. A Scouser through and through, played with his heart on his sleeve who gave the impression if he bled it would be blue. Also scored a goal I still remember to this day ( it was the day my Grandad died), a diving header through flying boots.

1. Alan Ball

Not a difficult choice even though most of his football for us was in the 60s. I had his picture on my wall, I got my white boots and like most of us was in a state of shock for days when he was sold to Arsenal. Not just the best player of the 70s but the best I've ever seen.


Graham Mockford     Posted 19/01/2017 at 19:50:47

Winds of change at Goodison

Anyone who doubted the impact of the arrival of our new majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, only has to look at the current transfer window to realise that the wind of change is blowing through every aspect of Goodison Park.

Koeman's press conference today, in which he has said our current club captain, Phil Jagielka, along with Gerard Deulofeu, can effectively leave the club, is further confirmation that the manager is looking to clear out the remaining 'old guard', as he intends to bring in players or replacements that he considers will bring about further improvement to the current squad.

By June this year, I expect as many as six or seven will have gone, with an influx of U-23 homegrown lads and incoming transfers totally transforming the playing squad.

After nearly 30 years of under-investment and subsequent under-achievement, I welcome change, but can't help feel a little sorry for the likes of Jagielka who has given incredible service for nearly 10 years, but has now reached the end of the road, as he has simply lost the pace and timing required for a top class central defender in the Premier League. Deulofeu, on the other hand, was not given the same playing opportunities as Mirallas and Lennon, and for some reason, Koeman made his mind up very early about his playing chances at Everton; I for one wish him well. As a player, he always made himself available for every kid who wanted a photo, and was the last of the players to leave the car park at Goodison after a match.

I guess we have all moaned for so long about the lack of drive and ambition at Everton, that when it does happen, it takes a bit of getting used to...

The next 12 months will see further seismic change both on and off the pitch at Everton. Hold on to your hats!


Steve Hogan     Posted 19/01/2017 at 18:23:32

Giants battle over Deulofeu

The future of Gerard Deulofeu seems to be a lot more complex than is being reported in the British media. It seems that this stylish and creative player, mysteriously surplus to requirements at Goodison, is in the midst of a tug of war between giants Milan and Barcelona with Celta Vigo and Middlesbrough trying to snatch him from both.

According to reports in the Italian and Spanish media, Adriano Galliani, Milan’s Chief Executive, is eager to sign Deulofeu but right now Milan can only negotiate loans. Everton suggested a loan with a transfer deal at the end of it but Barcelona objected, claiming the sale to Everton included a first refusal on a buy back if he was sold within three years. Meanwhile, Celta Vigo stepped, in offering a reported 12 million Euros for Deulofeu after a successful loan until the end of the season. Middlesbrough is also said to be interested and offering cash now, and so favoured by Everton but not by the player.

Milan is preferred by Deulofeu because he has a better chance of a starting position – startlingly, on the left rather than the right wing. It is surprising that a player favoured by AC Milan can barely get a look in at Goodison but football is a funny game, as they say.

Barcelona does not want to relinquish their hold on Deulofeu – even though he would be unlikely to start there – because he is native Catalan and Barcelona, the perceived guardian of Catalan football culture, wants to have talented Catalan players available to them.

As Adriano Galliano told an Italian newspaper: “It is a rather complicated situation. Everton is well aware that at this time we can only do pure loans So tomorrow we'll talk and we'll see if we can find a solution, otherwise we will remain as we are. I do not like to make forecasts or predictions, I can’t tell the future.”

Most Evertonians would probably want to hang on to Deulofeu, particularly now that Bolasie is out with a long-term injury.


Peter Fearon     Posted 17/01/2017 at 16:12:37

Everton Superheroes

Following the news regarding our new possible sponsors, the first thing I did was to look for the logo and imagine what it would look like on the famous Royal Blue jersey.

Well, 5 mins of photoshop later and the look is like something out of a Marvel comic! I'm torn as to whether I like it or not, maybe it'll grow on me, but either way it's got to be better than the deal that brought us Chang...

PS How about a cape on the back of the women's shirts?!
Andy Bulmer     Posted 17/01/2017 at 12:43:32

The rest of the season...

After last Saturday, I thought our season was dead. With hindsight, I believe it is very much alive.

Koeman now has space. We will not be relegated; he will not be sacked; he has time to work. It looks likely that we will have three new signings and, for me, that will do.

This is what I hope will happen:Two or three young players will gradually be given a chance with the possibility of one or two being ready for a regular start next season.

Our Director of Football will find another one to bring in under the radar in the transfer window. We will also sign a well scouted established player, perhaps like Schneiderlin, who will be an improvement on what we have.

The remaining games will be used to set in place a style that will be effective for the players we have. Most importantly, work will begin now to make a major signing. A player that other clubs want. A player who will show that this is a club with ambition.

Koeman must start next season with his own team and his own style. Then, he can be judged. The season is not dead – there are exciting and vital days ahead.
Andy Crooks     Posted 11/01/2017 at 21:50:34

What would represent a successful transfer window?

It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that we require several quality additions during the January window. The FA Cup defeat to Leicester reinforced what we all know and that's that our midfield is lacking in almost every aspect. Limited creativity, limited strength and tenacity, and shot shy beyond belief.

When was the last goal scored from outside the box by one of our midfielders?Koeman has fired a broadside in the board's direction and it will be interesting to see whether that shot has hit home. This morning I see we're being linked with Gylfi Sigurdsson again.

So what exactly, would represent a successful window this January?For me personally if we were to sign Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin it would make a huge difference where we most need it.

If we're going to dream I'd add Manolas and a striker to play "with" Lukaku and not as backup, in addition to the two aforementioned midfielders. At a guesstimated cost of around £100m I think that would represent excellent business and actually transform the team.

Bear in mind this is all pie in the sky so I know it's not likely to happen and I know I "must be dreaming if we spend anything like that".... it's all about dreaming though isn't it?
Brian Williams     Posted 09/01/2017 at 10:33:18

Schneiderlin or Schneiderout- the acid test for Moshiri

Trying to digest the disaster of yesterday, the BBC’s Phil McNulty made some very wry observations on Everton’s transfer policies.

He pointed out that Leicester had anticipated that their team would need strengthening whilst the core of their team was at the African Championships. They duly went out and identified where the team would need new resources and went out and spent £15m on Wilfred Ndidi , and he was able to play against Everton. By contrast, Everton’s transfer policy, if I can call it that, seems to only be about saving money. Every identified player seems to take an age to arrive- or usually and conveniently, not arrive.

Over the last twenty years, Everton sit right at the top of the league for making a profit across the various transfer windows. Of course, this coincides with the reign of the chief penny pincher himself, step forward Bill Boys’ Pen Kenwright.

Everton always seem a convenient stalking horse club who are interested in key players but never actually buy them , Sissoko being a recent example. I actually took issue with a leading national journalist when I asked him why he kept reporting Everton’s interest in Sissoko when us fans knew that the player wouldn’t come to Everton. The journalist, and I’ll save his embarrassment by not naming him , insisted that Everton had all along been keen to sign the player. This merely proves that I know Kenwright better than he does!

So along comes money bags Moshiri. Koeman has seemingly identified Morgan Schneiderlin as our key transfer target. So will the club sign him or will this be yet another show of gesturing from Everton , designed to supposedly appease the fans?

Personally, I think Moshiri is only around to extend Kenwright’s stay in power. And I consequently don’t expect Everton’s penny pinching transfer policy will change but , at a time when the Echo only yesterday said they could see as many as 7 players arriving this window, the Schneiderlin affair will surely be the acid test of the new regime.


Jonathan Tasker     Posted 08/01/2017 at 17:55:24

Koeman: Out of the January window

It's the January window and Koeman should exit through it.

Too early to judge? I don't think so. You don't expect instant success from a manager, far from it. You do expect identifiable change for the better. Some sign of progress. There has not only been no progress we have actually fallen back.

The season is over in the first week of January. Out of both knockout competitions at the first hurdle. Locked out of the top league positions. Minimal creativity in midfield, minimal penetration in attack, lack of durability in defence. Koeman has given no sign that he is capable of making significant changes in style or structure. There have been none.

His players look like they have been drained of confidence. Most of all, there has been a lack of innovation and leadership from the manager. He seems to be looking in from the outside. When he talks about the team, he talks like a pundit. He doesn't speak like he had any responsibility for what happens on the field. We can unload him now or in two seasons when he will have also achieved precisely nothing.

I say he should go now. That would give us plenty of time to find a new – and hopefully top-drawer – manager to take over at the end of the season. Ferguson or Unsworth to take a caretaker role in the meantime.

If Martinez was still manager and the wheels had fallen off the season like this, there would be a mob of people with torches and blue pitchforks outside Goodison calling for his head. The same should apply to Koeman. Ga nu!


Peter Fearon     Posted 07/01/2017 at 17:14:11

Reality check

Ok, I'm angry and hacked off at yet another dismal exit from a cup competition.

Koeman hasn't won me over yet, but look at the players at his disposal. As fans we were all to often treated to a Martinez classic quote – one that sticks in my mind is that Tom Cleverley is one of the most technically gifted footballers ever produced by this country.

Laughable (no disrespect to Tom), but can you imagine the Catalan going to each player and filling their heads with total bullshit as to how fantastic they were, that they were world beaters, etc.?

Thankfully Bobby has now gone and has been replaced by a realist. Yes, he can come across as dour and uncaring, but his hands have been pretty much tied up to now.

To the whingers out there – and I make no apology for describing them as such – try assembling a Porsche from rusty old Lada parts. It can't be done.

For me, there are a lot of players on Everton's books that for various reasons shouldn't be, but they are. I can only hope that, with Moshiri on board and him backing Koeman, that things will change for the better.

Also, there are a lot of fans that have made out the current state of the club to be worse than it actually is.

Keep expectations to realistic levels, and drop the sense of entitlement. We are going in the right direction.
Jim Bailey     Posted 07/01/2017 at 17:16:55

Axel Witsel heads to China

So, there you have it. Long time Everton target, Belgium and Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel has signed for Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian and will earn a reported £18M a year.

Juventus reportedly tried to persuade the player on a move to Turin but the lure of Chinese football was too great.

During the summer, when a move to Everton was mooted on these pages in one variation or another, every other week, many of the readers questioned the character of the player. Turns out with Axel Witsel, like so many others - money talks.

As football fans, we often criticise players for their lack of sentiment. We project our own passion for “Club” onto a professional player. Are we the mugs? What is this all about?

I’m looking for a compelling argument either for or against. If Chinese clubs are paying all this money to players, why stay in Europe?

Conor Skelly     Posted 03/01/2017 at 22:01:12

Dollie the possible missing link?

The South African CAF Champions League winner is on the radar of a couple of European clubs. This player could be the missing link in Ronald Koeman's team.

Pienaar was really on the left, Keagan Dollie is in the same mould, only 10 times better. Also a product of Ajax Cape Town(same team Pienaar came from.)I have a sneaky suspicion we can easily steal him at a bargain. Sundowns just declined a $1.2m offer for the player.

23 years old, played at the Olympics for South Africa, champions league winner, one of the players of the tournament, played at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Ricardo Humphries     Posted 03/01/2017 at 16:21:02

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