What if we do not sign anyone?

Steve Ferns 14/07/2018 145comments  |  Jump to last

Chelsea have just appointed a manager called Maurizio Sarri. Some of you know him, a lot of you know of him, and some don't know him at all.

He's a very unique individual with a professional background in banking, and a football career in the amateur levels. Once his playing career was over, he became a part-time coach, before getting offered a professional contract and jacking in his higher-paid job to give his football dream a shot. He's pushing 60, but he's only been in the big time a few years.

His reputation is as one of the world's best coaches. He has not won a trophy, but set a record points total this season for a team who did not win Italy's Serie A. No team scored more over the last 3 seasons in Serie A than his Napoli team. He's a very exciting prospect and I'm sure Chelsea will be a lot of fun this season.


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Why open with Sarri? Because he gives great quotes. He famously called the transfer market the “refuge of the weak coach” and said: “I am a coach. Give me a group of players and I will coach them.” When Sarri took over Napoli, they had the worst defence in the top half of Serie A; he was asked who he would sign. He said "No one. I will correct the issues on the training pitch." Here's how he did it.

Everton really wanted Kalidou Koulibaly; we offered a load of money for him, and I wouldn't be surprised if he reunited with Sarri and they offer a fortune for the guy. Before Sarri took over, he was considered error-prone. He was terrible on the ball, and he was one of the first expected to leave, as he would not be able to cope with Sarri's style. Yet Sarri turned him into such a player that we were offering record amounts for him.

Then there is Dries Mertens. Before Sarri, he played on the wing and scored 22 goals in 3 years. So was hardly prolific. The last two years under Sarri, he scored 46 goals in Serie A alone. This was against the backdrop of the irreplaceable Gonzalo Higuain leaving for Juventus and leaving behind a Lukaku-esque void. "Where will the goals come from?" Sarri was asked. No thought: "Mertens" was the answer.

What's Sarri got to do with all of this? Well, I think we've got our own super coach. And if so, then do we really need to spend a load of money? Let's look at what we have:

Goalkeepers: Pickford, Stekelenburg, and Hewelt.Pickford is now clearly international quality. Stekelenburg played in a World Cup Final and is still only 35, not old for a keeper. The highly-rated Pole, Mateusz Hewelt is nearing 22. We can do with these 3 for another year or two, surely?

Right-backs: Coleman, Kenny, Martina, Connolly,
Everyone would be happy with right-backs and, if anything, we have too many. Martina is the name we'd mostly agree on showing the door. Ireland's captain is in his prime, and Kenny is now 21.

Left-backs: Baines, Robinson, Connolly
Yes, we need a left-back. But perhaps I have been too hasty in saying Baines lacks the speed or stamina to play for Silva. He looks fresh and fast right now. If he can steer clear of injuries, we are good. Robinson would be a great deputy, and the versatile Connolly played left-back for England in the U20 World Cup campaign.

Centre-backs: Jagielka, Williams, Keane, Holgate, Pennington, Feeney
Even if we get rid of everyone's villain, Ashley Williams, we've too many on numbers. I think most would show Pennington the door too. So perhaps we need someone else with experience. What if Marco Silva told us he was happy with Williams? That he thinks he can get old Ashley back up to his best? Who wants to waste money on centre-backs anyway? Feeney could be set to save us a fortune in a few years, and I bet Marco is very keen to get Holgate into the side regularly.

Defensive midfielders: Schniderlin, Gueye, Davies, Besic, McCarthy, Connolly, Baningime
After my initial shock over Silva saying he would play a 4-3-3, like he did at Sporting, he seems to be more likely to go with type now and play a 4-2-3-1. Therefore, there are two defensive midfield slots. Now, let's not worry Silva's defensive midfielders are not really defensive midfielders — they are box-to-box midfielders whose starting position is deep or defensive midfielders who attack, so forget your pre-conceptions.

Schneiderlin looks set to stay. We can't shift him for the money he cost or the money he is on. We won't take a loss and pay for him to play elsewhere. So we use him. I can't see Gueye playing with him though, as they are simply too defensive together; not until Silva gets his claws into him and reinvents his game as a hard-charging box-to-box player.

Silva will love McCarthy; notice – all our managers do. They just can't keep him fit.

Davies is going to be the most improved under Silva, I predict that right now. They will love each other, and Davies will emerge a much more attacking player with a better all-round game, yet will track back and put in tackles. He can be a true box-to-box player.

Besic, I'm unsure. Maybe Silva sells Gueye as he's nearing 30 and his stock is high. Besic can back up Schneiderlin and Davies, with Connolly and Baningime on the bench.

Attacking midfielders: Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Dowell, Vlasic
You don't spend £45M or more on a player and then let him leave for half that a year later. He's only worth half that. No-one will give more than that. His wages are astronomical. He's going nowhere anytime soon. So Silva will utilise him, and I still feel that his energy is something Silva will like.

I don't know about Klaassen. Silva plays at a high tempo, Klaassen is a high tempo one-touch player. Maybe Silva can fit him in as a sub for Schneiderlin. But then there's Dowell. I'd get rid of Klaassen and have Vlasic or Dowell on the bench.

Left Forwards: Lookman, Bolasie, Mirallas, Sandro, Dowell
Lookman is the one I think Silva will use the most. Brands will have told him all about Lookman, and no doubt Silva will have been impressed with the youngster. They will both know that they have to use him or lose him. Sure, Everton hold all the cards here, but start him on the bench and it might be hard to get him fighting for his place. Give him the spot to start with and see who can take it off him. Then at least if he drops to the bench, you can say you're giving him a shot and he needs to grab it, he can't just take it for granted.

I'd sell both of Bolasie and Mirallas. Sandro can't be shifted on that kind of wage, and I think he's better on the left, cutting in on his right and shooting. I doubt we'll be able to sell both of Bolaise and Mirallas and one or both will still be here, so we're overstocked. Also, Calvert-Lewin can do a job here too.

Right-Forwards: Walcott, Vlasic, Sandro, Bolasie, Lookman
Again overstocked here. This is Walcott's position though, and the others play here because they can't get a game elsewhere on the pitch (Sandro is best as a left-forward or centre-forward; Vlasic as an attacking central midfielder; Lookman as a left-forward). I'd sell Bolasie as said above. I wouldn't buy a right-forward as we're overstocked – even if he does go.

Centre-Forwards: Tosun, Naisse, Calvert-Lewin.
The numbers are right here. I think Tosun is a 20 goal a season man. He just needs to play. He's like Jelavic in terms of finding the net with these one-touch shots, only he's much better and much faster. Niasse is a great impact sub, and Calvert-Lewin brings height, pace, and power. Each has something different in his locker. My prediction for the season is that Calvert-Lewin catches fire and bangs in a load of goals and makes the position his own.

I think if you take the time to really go through the squad, you will see that we are very overstocked. We have to get rid of a load of players to buy any. We could buy a left-back, we could buy a centre-back, but we don't really need anything else. I'd love a long passing midfielder in the mould of a young Xavi Alonso or Mikel Arteta. But why do we have to sign him right now? If the right player is not available, then why not wait until he is?

Also, consider the future:

Henry Onyekuru – left forward desperate to play for us, looking to prove himself in Turkey

Fraser Hornby – big strong number 9 in the old mould but decent on the ball too

Anthony Gordon – number 10 supreme, only 17 but this kid is going to be a star

Morgan Feeney – now 19 and ready for games in the first team

Lewis Gibson – left back / centre-back who played in the u17 World Cup winning side

Anthony Evans – 19 years old, highly rated number 10 / right winger

There's others too: Josh Bowler, Bassala Sambou, Manasse Mampala, Nathan Broadhead. Let Unsworth and Brands sit down and work out who really has what it takes. Then you need a clear path for them to get into the first team. That means they can't have 4/5 players in the way.

Take Anthony Gordon: realistically, we can't expect much of him before he's 19. So let's plan that, when he's 19, he's the one who replaces Sigurdsson in the squad. No, not that he goes straight up into the attacking central midfield role. But instead Schneiderlin is moved on and the rest are bumped up a place.

If, in two years time, Vlasic and Dowell haven't made the grade, then you remove them as well, buy someone and Gordon is the backup. There always has to be a pathway with young players, but luckily Brands appears to know this well. Therefore, we won't sign players not good enough for the first team (like Sandro) who then block the path of youngsters from getting close to the side themselves.

In conclusion, I'd love a few players, a left-back, a centre-back, a deep-lying playmaker, and a world-class superstar (any position will do!). But they need to be considerably better than what we have. We need to claw our way up the table step by step by buying and developing. But ultimately through coaching.

So, what if we don't sign anyone? Well, I still think we're able to be better than we were, and so what if West Ham keep us in 8th? The goal is to claw our way closer to the top 6, and to do that, we need to play the long game, and that's not spending £250M every couple of seasons.

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Reader Comments (145)

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Steve Ferns
1 Posted 15/07/2018 at 02:29:14
The last paragraph was meant to say the top 6! Whoops! And I meant replace Sigurdsson as attacking midfielder not Schneiderlin!
Ash Moore
2 Posted 15/07/2018 at 04:16:37
I love the optimism, Steve, but without additions, this squad will struggle. Silva has convinced you of his merits; I fancy a lot of matchgoing blues don't share that view.

Silva will need points to win the fans over. Without reinforcements I can see this getting ugly, quickly.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 15/07/2018 at 06:18:24
Steve, I love your wild-eyed optimism. Tosun a 20-goal man? Gordon "supreme"? Feeney ready for the first team? Calvert-Lewin brings "power"? And most of all, Silva a "super" coach who will improve... uh... everybody??

Sorry, I'm skeptical of this scenario. Certainly better coaching, better performance from certain key players and better luck with injuries will bring better results. But without better talent, the ceiling is low. This is a team with two top internationals (Pickford and Sigurdsson) and two good ones (Coleman and Gueye), but no real spark to ignite it.

And I simply don't believe that spark is currently in the squad. If last season proved anything, it's that this club needs new blood – and on the pitch, not just on the touchline and in the executive offices. If Brands doesn't bring in someone who can electrify us, I will be keenly disappointed. And I think the team will be disappointing, even if the results improve.

Rick Tarleton
4 Posted 15/07/2018 at 06:38:06
Usually I'm a pessimist about Everton, 60-plus years have had their impact, but I enjoyed this article; it may not work out exactly as we hope, but it gave me a little hope.
Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 15/07/2018 at 06:58:58
Steve, it must be difficult fitting something in about everyone but I assume that those who've been out on loan and not mentioned, such as Brendan Galloway, Joe Williams & Tyias Browning, you consider amongst those that will be moved on this year or as special cases who perhaps should be given more time, may be with Unsworth.

Whatever, there must at some time come a Harry Catterick moment when players are bought because they are, quite simply, an improvement on those we have and not just potential. It has also been said that such and such a player fits the Manager's system but he must also have several systems, the infamous Plan B.

Do we have the flexibility in the current group – just in case they don't all take to better coaching?

Amit Vithlani
6 Posted 15/07/2018 at 07:16:26
I support your sentiments Steve - up to a point.

A report by CEIS Football Observatory compiled data on teams across Europe and found a correlation between squad stability and league performance.

Furthermore, it would be nonsensical of us to bring in a boatload of players with such a massively bloated squad full of so many unwanted players. Buying one or two high-quality players is certainly better than half-a-dozen no-marks.

However, we must not, in my opinion, start the season with Baines and Robinson as our only left-back options. That would be an error on a par with last season's failure to buy a centre-forward. I could live without transfers, except at left-back.

Baines has lost a lot of pace and Robinson is untested. Did he feature in the friendly game yesterday? Not sure he did. More importantly, he might be a USA international, but he is still very inexperienced and should be blooded at EFC to help his development.

The right side of many teams in the Premier League is very strong – including our own. I think it is no surprise we started to achieve good league finishes in the past when we had a strong left side.

The other point I would make to you is the importance of partnerships across the pitch. Down the years, our successes have come when we had strong partnerships. Ratcliffe & Mountfield, Stevens & Steven, Van den Hauwe & Sheedy, Sharp & Gray or Heath won us a few trophies. Rideout & Stuart, Watson & Unsworth, Horne, Ebbrell & Parkinson memorably gelled for half a season to win us the cup. Jagielka & Lescott or Distin, Bainaar, Arteta & Cahill was the foundation of regular top 6 finishes.

I see a good partnership in Walcott & Coleman... but little elsewhere. As for the left side, a Lookman & Baines or Robinson combo does not look promising. I think Lookman can be our star player, but he needs a very good player behind him to give him the freedom to play his game.

We shoehorned Sigurdsson out left due to his prodigious work rate to cover for Martina or Baines. It yielded a few clean sheets but was a waste of a very good central attacking midfielder.

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 15/07/2018 at 07:27:29
One thing beyond doubt is that we are currently overstocked. And there does not seem to be a huge amount of interest in our deadwood.

I'd like to agree that Silva will improve our team and players but the question is: how much? I'm excited to see what they might be capable of. But chances are that a decent chunk of these players don't improve sufficiently or don't reach their full potential. So the question is whether Silva makes that judgement now or gives them more time?

I think that Moshiri wants to deliver at least one or two ‘exciting' transfers every year. That's partly why we overpaid for Sigurdsson, I suspect, Mosh had been convinced he would be our ‘superstar'.

If we don't buy anyone, I will be relatively content. It makes a sort of sense to see what this lot can do. But I think we'll see at least 2-3 first team players come in over next few weeks. A left-back, a centre-back and possibly another midfielder.

Personally I'd quite like Tierney, Mina and Loftus-Cheek. We still look a bit short of pace and power in the current squad to my eyes.

Henrik Lyngsie
8 Posted 15/07/2018 at 07:40:49
Steve, I agree with your main point that we have plenty of skills and talent in the squad. It is the manager's job to create a strong team by using the players at his disposal and add some reinforcement in few areas.

A lot of good people here on TW argue that we need to ship the deadwood and they compile lists with a number of starters from last season. First of all, it is unrealistic to just get rid of all these players mentioned. Second you would need to replace them with better players which is not easy.

I am sure that Silva will have success with some of the deadwood. You are not necessary a poor player because you don't function in a malfunctioning team. I am sure that some of Mirallas, Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Keane, Klaassen, and Sandro will come good if Silva manages to create a team spirit and a clear playing style. If the team is working, it is much easier to succeed as an individual.

For my liking, we just need a ball-playing central defender, a dominant central midfielder with offensive qualities. And then I am not 100% convinced that our central strikers are good enough. But again the way we have played last season it is not an easy task to be a striker.

So what we need is just a Stones, a Barkley (the one from Martinez first season with 3 years experience added and maybe a bit more football intelligence) and a Lukaku. Just kidding but ironically the three positions I think need most attention.

Bill Griffiths
9 Posted 15/07/2018 at 07:55:52
Love this scenario, hope it comes to pass.

I agree this is the way to go.

Colin Glassar
11 Posted 15/07/2018 at 08:23:54
Fantasy football, Steve... although I love your positivity. I fully agree that good coaching can see the likes of Keane, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Davies start to reach their full potential. Plus playing people in their correct positions will see the likes of Siggurdsson and Walcott flourish.

You can have the best coach in the world but you can't flog a dead horse like Williams. You can't give Bolasie a new brain so that it works in conjunction with his feet. And sadly you can't implant a heart into the likes of Mirallas and Klaassen – cowards are cowards.

We need a massive culling to, like you say, allow fresh blood to prosper. We have too many shirkers in our squad who are only staying for the money or who just aren't good enough. Tough times ahead for Silva and Co.

Ian Burns
12 Posted 15/07/2018 at 08:52:25
Colin (#11), "You can't give Bolasie a new brain so that it works in conjunction with his feet." — Love it!!

Steve, this is a terrific article, extremely insightful and informative. If I would disagree with anything, it is the statement that we may not need anybody at all this transfer window.

For sure we need a centre-back; left-back and a genuine Number 10. Plus the fact a new exciting addition with whom the supporters can identify (even if it is only one), brings a freshness the squad always needs at this time of year.

Terrific piece — well done.

Jim Bennings
13 Posted 15/07/2018 at 08:52:48
I'm sorry but our squad is poor. Too many players past their best. (How much more can you drag from Baines and Jagielka?)

Too many young players with not really one totally standout lad (Rooney at 16) etc or even the excitement and expectancy of Barkley's first season.

I'm sorry if that offends people who constantly rave about our young talent but I just don't see anything special at all: honest lads like Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Kenny etc but just honest lads — nothing special.

Outside a handful of players like Sigurdsson, Walcott and Coleman, I think we carry unrealistic hope harbouring mediocrity like Schneiderlin, Williams, Gueye, Keane, Bolasie, and Niasse.

The jury will remain out on Tosun — decent enough from what I've seen... but a good enough striker to really make us a potential top 5 or 6 challenger? Hand on heart, really?

We need signings — let's not try to gloss things over, the squad of players are quite weak mentally and limited ability-wise and blaming managers all the time won't cut it forever.

What if it doesn't work for Silva as well? Are players and fans going to blame him?

Steavey Buckley
14 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:16:41
Everton have a huge amount of players in the Under-23s and in the first-team squad. Some who are in their mid-20s are not even in the first-team squad. Yet, Everton fans still want more players without some others moving out first.
Darren Hind
15 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:19:05
Totally agree with Mike – except the bit about Sigurdsson being a top international.

This is pie-in-the-sky nonsense, Steve. You seem to be desperately trying to cover all bases in this rather bizarre series of posts to demonstrate how much you know about Silva... Yet you were even taken by surprise by something as fundamental as the formation he will use.

After telling us the type of player he would bring in, are you now telling us he doesn't need to bring anybody?

You claim he is a "world class" coach, so why are you now predicting he will probably finish roughly in the same position as Allardyce and Koeman?

Are you really suggesting the guy will successfully introduce counter-attacking football with one of the most disjointed and possibly the slowest squad we`ve seen in years? Trust me, Hhe won't.

Anthony Murphy
16 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:21:56
I think two or three quality additions is all we need (and all we will get) this window. A left-back, a centre-half and another.

I think Bolasie will go and hate to say it but Lookman may be telling his agent he wants to join RB Leipzig on a permanent basis – let's hope not – so a left-sided forward may come in.

However, I'm concerned that, if Tosun gets injured, we are very light up top. Niasse is massively inconsistent and Calvert-Lewin is still learning where the net is.

Ian Bennett
17 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:38:27
The squad is bloated and still lacks pace/goal threat which will be a constant thorn in our poor away form.

It is clear that our best defenders in Baines and Jagielka are only going to get weaker in the current season – they simply cannot last forever. It needs a left-back, centre-back, box to box midfielder who can score, a left-sided player again with goal threat, and a top-class centre-forward.

Without those we are simply just making up the numbers in the Premier League below 7th. At the moment we haven't landed one target, and the window shuts on the 9th August with the last preseason game on the 4th August. Silva needs to add players he wants.

We need to shift a lot of players out, as without European they're just not going to play and some I am sure will just be a pain in the arses around the squad. Mirallas, Williams, Sandro, Klaassen, Besic, Bolasie, Niasse, Schneirderlin, Martina, Browning – time to say goodbye.

Rob Dolby
18 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:42:16
Great article, Steve, very positive.

The things it highlights to me are the vast amount of players that we have available and how unbalanced we are.

1 left-footed senior player in the whole squad.

Lack of a centre-back in his prime.

Lack of goal scoring midfielders.

Over reliance on Tosun.

As everyone knows, we need to ship a load out and address the unbalance.

My expectation is that Silva can bring an entertaining brand of football without getting tonked too much and be competitive in the derbies. This squad is mid-table at best.

James Newcombe
19 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:50:20
The disdain people have for Sigurdsson always leaves me bemused. He didn't set his fee. And we did noticeably miss him when he was injured.

Class player — and hopefully Silva gets the best out of him!

Dermot Byrne
20 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:54:10
I find it hard to judge many of our existing players after the recent standard of management.
Andy Meighan
21 Posted 15/07/2018 at 09:54:22
Biggest load of nonsense I've read for a long time.

Trying to make a case for Besic.... 4 years here and he's done absolutely nothing — add to that his woeful injury record. And the comments about Calvert-Lewin just leave me baffled.

As Jim Bennings said, the likes of him Davies and Kenny are nothing special — just honest lads.

I've been saying for a long long time, the best coach in the world would struggle with this slow, aging, ponderous squad... and this fella won't be any different We need signings and now!

Kunal Desai
22 Posted 15/07/2018 at 10:03:49
We have to hope that we get a bit of luck in the cup competitions and can win a trophy as this is likely to be the only route to success, 7th in the Premier League at best for Everton.

Absolutely no chance of dislodging any of those big six sides. Arsenal and Chelsea will go through a transition period but ones which will still see them finish ahead of us with the quality on the field they posses.

Andrew Ellams
23 Posted 15/07/2018 at 10:16:27
If we don't strengthen, we are in huge danger of going backwards; if that happens, we face losing the likes of Pickford, Davies and Lookman.

West Ham look to be doing great business this year; if we're not careful, they could leapfrog over us.

Ernie Baywood
24 Posted 15/07/2018 at 10:29:27
There's certainly the numbers but there are a lot of duds in there and some who should be starting to phase out.

When you put the team together like that, centre-back and left-back look particularly weak. Baines might look alright now but we've seen him slowing down. I don't think he's overlapped in the last two years. Great servant and wonderful player at his best but should really have an established lefty taking his place – criminal lack of planning by successive managers.

Everywhere else except the keeper and right-back ranges from decent Premier League standard to below average. I'd love to see someone exciting brought in but it will take some serious shifting of deadwood first.

Derek Thomas
25 Posted 15/07/2018 at 10:53:10
If Allardyce got them to 8th, then why not expect Silva to improve them? How much is the question.

If those media tossers who post, print and show the league table each week suddenly start only printing a 5, then you might say, all things considered, he's done a job.

Don Alexander
26 Posted 15/07/2018 at 10:58:40
If Silva can do as Mr Ferns hopes, I expect his Mum to come out at Goodison and say "He's not a coach, he's a very naughty Messiah!"

Bill Griffiths
27 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:16:50
Darren, I don't see this as Steve saying Silva doesn't need to bring anyone in but maybe it's not the end of the world if he doesn't.

Sigurdsson is definitely a top international footballer.

Lawrence Green
28 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:19:28
I think we will sign a couple of players, however, Everton did a West Ham in the last couple of years and it hasn't improved things for us has it? Without increasing income outside of the TV money, or sellng prize assets, it is going to be difficult for clubs like Everton to break into the top six.

That's not a happy position to be in but that's where we are as a club. Silva's job is to somehow get the players – old and new – to bond as a group whilst simultaneously trying to produce good football and positive results. If he fails as badly as recent managers have at Goodison, we will end up in the deep smelly stuff.

I hope that Silva has got a magic formula that produces more than we can reasonably expect. Everton, similarly to England, are not blessed with too much talent or pace but we have to somehow navigate 38 games and unfortunately this upcoming season will see plenty of ups and downs on the pitch, hopefully more ups than downs.

Top ten and a decent standard of football is what I expect, anything else will be a bonus, anything less and I'd be worried for the future of the club.

Tony Twist
29 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:30:10
Good effort Steve, I enjoyed reading this. We have a good squad of players and could get much better, on paper. Unfortunately a lot of the players seemed to have a flaw in their character.

Up front, I think we are strong, these guys will get goals. Lookman, Walcott and either Tosun, Calvert-Lewin or Niasse will do the business but the conduit from the rest of the team to them is very poor. If Silva can get a tune out of them, then I think we will surprise a fair few.

I still think we need a playmaking midfielder with the attitude of Pickford who won't accept anything but success, and a left-footed centre-back and a Baines replacement; Tierney looks ideal. Without these additions, the team's heart is non-existent and we will struggle badly if results don't go our way.

Good luck to Silva, we will need it.

Paul Tran
30 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:53:26
Interesting piece, Steve.

The baseline to all of this is the definition of success. Moyes, Kenwright, Koeman (and Walling!) taught us that 6th - 8th is what we 'should' expect.

The last two seasons have seen negative football and a dysfunctional, disjointed team. And yet we finished 7th & 8th. That says to me that the league is very poor and that there is something decent within this group of players.

So I can see Steve's argument that we can expect better from a coach who actually coaches the players, has a plan and can explain what he wants. I've been saying this for a while now. Southgate's handling of the England squad is an example of a coach getting the best out of what he has. I expect most of last season's 'failures' to look better under Silva.

This all rests on how good a coach Silva is and how good Brands is at trimming and supplementing a bloated squad.

Without having Steve's strong view on Silva, I'm optimistic. And this time every year, I always look at us reaching top six, for starters.

Jim Harrison
31 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:55:11
If you were Moshiri, and you had spent the money over the past two years that he has, wouldn't you believe you had the right to expect a manager to make it work?

Randy Learner and Ellis Short are good examples of owners who realised too late that chucking money at mid-level signings doesn't make a great amount of difference.

Burnley and Leicester have had success with a combination of good scouting and playing to the squad's strength. Can't tell me any of our fans would have been happy with signing Chris Woods, but at Burnley he does exactly what they need of him.

Some people say it's a poor squad. It isn't; there are some very good players in there, just as a whole they underperformed last season. Or could that be that they were not utilised and motivated as well as they could have been? If Silva is as good as Steve says, and he can get these players working to their potential, then there is a solid case for 6th pushing for 5th. Top 4? Only if 3 of last seasons top 6 have a collapse. Unlikely. The squads are far far above ours in terms of quality.

I would think there need to be two additions, a centre-back and left-back. When Baines is out, we are much diminished, and I think this maybe a season too far for Jags.

That aside, there are players in there who can do better:

Schneiderlin had a crap season, but he has been a solid performer for his teams most years prior to last.

Sigurdsson is class. Even his “off” seasons at Spurs actually produce some decent stats. He was massive for Swansea in his last season and, once employed in his more natural position for us, he started to deliver.

Walcott, quality.

Cenk? From what I have seen, a good finisher, works hard. When he got chances, he scored. Could easily be 16 goals in him given the service. Rom had the same issue with us regards service. He looked at his best when the team played to his strengths.

Of the teams around us, so far only West Ham have made significant changes. Maybe this will pay off? Maybe they will do a Koeman

I am not confident as such about the season, but certainly not doom and gloom. Realistically 6th is best I think we can do but, if it can be done with some entertainment and quality play, that's a huge step up from last season. No Europa League distraction so a good cup run would be a welcome boost.

Laurie Hartley
32 Posted 15/07/2018 at 11:55:36
Steve – when I look at your breakdown of the squad, the group that sticks out like a sore thumb to this Evertonian is the centre-backs.

I do believe there are several players with good footballing brains in the squad. I would put Sigurdsson, Walcott, Tosun, Coleman and Baines in that category.

If Silva is as good a coach as you hope he is, he may well be able to get them playing decent football; but without a formidable centre-back pairing we will struggle again.

We need at least one big, mobile centre-half – I think we actually need two.

We had a terrible set-back last season. We basically blew the transfer kitty we had needed for decades.

My hope is that Silva and Brands are smart enough to see where this squad is really lacking, have identified the players that will address that need, and that Moshiri backs them with the necessary cash.

For me, the consequences of not signing anyone this window are unthinkable (so I am not going to think about that anymore).

John G Davies
33 Posted 15/07/2018 at 12:06:47
Finishing 7th and watching good football will do me this season.

As Paul T says above, we were awful this season gone, and the one before, and we still finished 7th and 8th.

Play a good style and the fans will back the manager.

Peter Gorman
34 Posted 15/07/2018 at 12:08:07
With all due respect to the doubters, I can see why Tosun could be a 20-goal-a-season striker quite easily – the lad can finish.

He scored 5 goals in 12 starts for us (which would put him closer to 15 a season) but that was in a team that probably created about 5 chances in 10 games.

If he got anything like decent service at the behest of an attack-minded manager then I'd expect the goals to start flowing. Albeit on scanter evidence, his shooting accuracy last season was better than both Salah and Kane.

Steve, your article is optimistic to say the least but you've already sold me on the coaching credentials of Silva – it is just I don't trust the raw clay he is moulding. If he brings on the talented young players and returning loanees at the expense of new signings, I wouldn't be displeased but there are too many deadbeat seniors in the team to inspire me with confidence. There are quite a few I'd gladly never see play for the club again.

Chris James
35 Posted 15/07/2018 at 12:13:41
West Ham seem to be ahead of the game in terms of doing their business early: new keeper, 3 defenders, 2 midfielders and a winger (at least 4 of which you'd expect to be starters):

Lukasz Fabianski
Issa Diop
Fabian Balbuena
Ryan Fredericks
Jack Wilshere
Felipe Anderson
Andriy Yarmolenko

Not saying these were players we were up for and it could go all 'Koeman' for them as well, but deals are being done.

Jim Harrison
36 Posted 15/07/2018 at 12:14:50
Peter (#34),

Totally agree. He managed to get his goals during a period of play totally devoid of attacking ambition, isolated feeding off scraps.

Kane at the World Cup struggled during latter stages as he didn't receive service.

Hopefully with the right formation employed to get him the opportunities he can show what he can do. His goals last season included some good finishes.

Brian Williams
37 Posted 15/07/2018 at 12:55:03
Well if Silva is as honest as Steve Ferns thinks he's super, then there's nowt to worry about.

According to Phil Kirkbride and the Red Echo, the players Silva wants have been identified and agreed on by Brands and the board and Silva is quoted as being confident that those players will be brought in.

Maybe Silva doesn't think he's quite as super himself as Steve does. :-)

Michael Lynch
38 Posted 15/07/2018 at 13:05:57
Yes, if we don't make any signings, we can probably finish 7th or 8th under a decent coach. But we've done that pretty much every year now since Moyes turned us around, with varying qualities of squads.

But if you compare this squad to our last decent one, this one is dire. Remember when we had Lukaku, Stones, an on-form Barkley playing alongside Baines and Jags in their prime? Mirallas was pretty good then too. I'd say the only position not looking weaker than in Martinez's first season is the goalkeeper.

We need a massive overhaul over the next couple of seasons if we're to perform well enough to keep Silva in a job.

Jim Harrison
39 Posted 15/07/2018 at 13:39:33
Micheal (#38),

The massive overhaul isn't coming. The sort of money needed to be spent to propel us to being genuine title contenders in a short space of time would never be sanctioned. It would be unsustainable for Everton in our current position.

Is there a single first team player at city valued at less than £30 million? They spent £100 million odd last season improving one of the best squads in the world. We spent a fair bit of money by our standards, still offset by a big incoming fee. We dropped one place. Spend a bit of money on strengthening the team this year and chances are we could get 6th again without overspending

Andy Crooks
40 Posted 15/07/2018 at 13:57:56
Another top article, Steve, I don't agree with all of it but your evangelical fervour for Silva is bold and contagious.

I can imagine one of your clients, as he walks to the gallows, remarking, "I don't know about law... by fuck he knows his footy"!!

Michael Lynch
41 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:08:30
Jim @39

It's not just about money though is it? Barkley cost us nothing, Stones a few million, Lukaku was on loan at first and then only £28m. Baines cost a few million, Jags the same. I just don't think that either the young lads coming through or the signings we've made recently are in the same class as those we've had in the past.

Frank McGregor
42 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:17:01
As it stands, I believe we will be mid-table or bottom 6 with or without signings.

It's going to take a couple of years to turn things around at the club.

Derek Knox
43 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:21:06
Steve, you make a lot of good points in your article, although some are over optimistic. Nothing wrong with optimism at all, but as Blues we know historically, all too well, that optimism doesn't guarantee success alone.

Having read through all the comments too, I most definitely agree that a left-sided centre-back and left-back are imperative, even at the risk of being the only additions.

Obviously I would like more than that, but there is the problem, as has been mentioned, many times, including yourself in that matter, about the excess of numbers, to balance things up.

I believe if we can be a very difficult team to beat, home and away, that would be a good start for the first season.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:30:47
Colin (#11), just as an aside, why the cheap shot at Klaassen? His problem is a lack of physical talent, not a lack of heart. Nothing I've seen in his limited time on the pitch or in his attitude off it would justify calling him a coward.

On the contrary, he seems a hardworking fella who hasn't said a word of complaint about his difficult situation. And at Ajax he was universally respected for his leadership. So whazzup with that?

Steuart Hayes
45 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:39:18
I agree with almost all that Steve has said; I believe the squad – played with an attacking mindset, coached well and with some freedom – I think we can score goals.

I, like others, would like a centre-back and left-back but if Silva has confidence in Robinson at left-back and can improve Keane or Holgate, then would be ok with it.

The most important thing is to get rid of the dead wood: £130M wage bill is far too much; if we get the squad down to 25 players and give our youngsters a chance, I think we will do better than most think.

Catching the top 4 even 6 is really hard and I think the best chance is in our youth this season; get costs under control then add two each year with real quality, not squad players.

Do this for a few years, and we should have a squad that can compete at least; and with a new ground, we would be able to attract better players. Brands work would then be coming off – this is all if Brands and Silva work out which I think they will. Here's hoping.

Jim Harrison
46 Posted 15/07/2018 at 14:56:25
Micheal (#41),

Yes, in that regard I agree

But, in general, our youngsters are decent. They had the PL2 title not so long ago and are strongly represented at international level.

William Cartwright
47 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:10:41
Perhaps a season in restructuring and rebuilding mode is what lies ahead, without some new flashy, shiny additions. Then what? Well we certainly won't get relegated that's for sure. I am a positive thinking sort of chap. It made me a happier person but on balance has not been responsible for improving my lot overall. The cautious and sensible approach over the long run usually benefits you.

I'll stick my neck out even further than usual on the M&M ticket. The reason? Well the Koeman and Walsh fiasco was not as much of a failure as we would have believe. I think it was a wonderful salutory experience that cost a huge amount of money. Credit to Moshiri, he seems to have weathered the storm and has restructured the management generally in a way which we all approve of. I don't know if he reads ToffeeWeb but I would like to thank him for that.

If, and it is a big if, the bloated squad is trimmed, and we do get the bare essentials in new players (no additions is too pessimistic even for me!) I would much rather watch and see Robinson, Kenny, Dowell, Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Lookman emerge at the end of a gruelling season as better players of some standing.

The squad is not as full of deadwood as some people seem to think. Keane is an England international, FFS. As an example, if M&M can't get him to perform, then we really are in the shit.

Its a discussion forum and that is great. So my wish for next season is to really see the youngsters knocking on the door and breaking through. That is what will make me really happy as an Evertonian. Sod this money, money, and yet more money approach. Let's be patient and give M&M and the team our full support to work with and around what we have and watch it grow. Take some real pride in that.

I would be very pleased to see some key new faces as a bonus option, but I am more interested in seeing a model professional like Sigurdsson played in his correct position instead of operating from the wing to accommodate an ageing Wayne. When you look at our uncommitted, bloated squad I think we do them a great disservice. Pickford, Coleman / Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Baines / Robinson, Davies, Gueye, Schneiderlin?, Baningime, McCarthy?, Dowell, Sigurdsson, Lookman, Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Walcott, Sandro, Klaassen, are all good, good players and I believe if man-managed professionally they will prove themselves to be so. Even the last chance saloon operator, Mirallas, may be inspired to provide us with a swan song or two.

The Koeman / Unsy / Allardyce sandwich would have killed of any aspirations of greatness anyone supporters and players alike. Am I too romantic and possibly unrealistic? You bet I could be, but I can't wait for the season to start. COYB

Jay Wood

48 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:11:19
Parabens! Congratulations, Steve. This is as fine an analysis as you have ever presented on TW. I really enjoyed the clarity, logic and rationale behind your thinking.

Steve is clearly not out-and-out advocating that we don't seek to buy players in this transfer window. Rather, he has presented a well-argued case that, if we fail to recruit new blood, that doesn't necessarily portend more doom and gloom for next season.

I am also of the opinion there is talent in the existing squad that has not been properly utilised, or welded into an effective team, by the last two full-time incumbents in the manager's chair.

I retain some misgivings about Silva because of his mixed record in recent years, in the Premier League no less, but he is unquestionably a hands-on coach with good one-to-one man-management skills.

Steve's association of Silva with Chelsea's new manager Sarri is a legitimate one in this respect. As Steve quotes, when Sarri took over Napoli with a poor defence, in reply to the question who he would sign, Sarri replied "No-one. I will correct the issues on the training pitch." And he did. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Silva can do likewise at Everton.

As for people continuing to reference West Ham as a club getting their business done and thus getting a jump on Everton (under a new manager, less we forget), did we not do similar last season? Didn't do much for us, did it?

Again, as Steve quotes Sarri's words describing the transfer market the “refuge of the weak coach. I am a coach. Give me a group of players and I will coach them.”

The structure Steve envisages is a legitimate one: Brands takes a global view of the players on our books at every level, maps their progress long-term, and anticipates if and when they can graduate to the first team. This informs your transfer policy – who to recruit and when - as an immediate pressing need, a short- to mid-term solution, or a long-term solution because there is no player with first-team potential emerging from the junior ranks. Silva is party to all this and can make his own specific requests and suggestions on player recruitment.

On closing, and not necessarily related to Steve's post, but I also like the quote from Sarri's mentor, Arrigo Sacchi, the ex-AC Milan manager who also came from a non-football background to be very successful in football management:

"You don't need to have been a horse to be a jockey."

Our resident punter Paul Tran may relate to that more than most!

Well done, Steve. A superb piece.

Ray Said
49 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:24:03
I hope that Silva can work wonders with the younger players.

The problem for me is with players whose physical condition, through age and the effects of injuries, means that no amount of coaching will be able to improve their performance — Baines seems to have lost the ability to beat a man and cross; McCarthy's injuries seem to have weakened his body and made him prone to further long-term injury; Williams seems weaker and slower with every game.

Neil Cremin
50 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:49:54
Henrik (#8) is correct. We just need replacements for Stones, Barkley and Lukaku. All players who were on our books but lost due to lack of ambition.

In TW, we constantly see FIFA 19 managers adding to the wishlist as replacements for players which we already had. Are any of them better than the players we let go?

Remember not too long ago we were considered part of the top 6? Now, it is an aspiration. IMO we need a left-back, centre-half and a box-to-box midfielder who would drive a team forward with good passing ability.

Brent Stephens
51 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:50:02
Good piece, Steve. Thanks.

I like the informative analysis, as ever. I don't think anybody's making grand predictions, packed with certainty, about where we'll end up at season's close. But this got my juices flowing: the juices were flowing at the start of last season, given the signings we'd made (I know, look where that went); but now, even if no further signings are made before season's start, we have a manager who, it seems, has an astute tactical mind, who has a good chance of doing better with the same squad (and in some cases young lads who have had a further year to develop).

I watched the training videos; I watched yesterday's friendly. I liked what I saw, especially but not only the advanced forays of Baines.

No predictions, but full of hope. We witnessed the interment of the Austrian side yesterday; it's Bury on Wednesday.

Stephen Davies
52 Posted 15/07/2018 at 15:52:44
I know this is slightly going off on a tangent but Silva did an interview after the game in Austria where he said that he and Brand had identified targets and its now up to the negotiating team to deliver.

So I suppose the question is... Can they deliver?

David Pearl
54 Posted 15/07/2018 at 16:10:53
I'd've spent £20M on bringing in Shakiri, Wilshere and Evans. I'm not liking the amounts the press are saying we are wanting to spend on players we've reportedly got an interest in.

I'd've also kept Funes Mori and Joel Robles... but we are more in need to sell than buy. Silva is much more of the coach we need to get the best out of the players we already have.

I'm hoping some of our younger players will be integral this season. My list to sell is the obvious. Bollasie, Mirallas, and Keane if we manage to get another centre-back in. Lots to do this month but I've not been encouraged so far. It's too slow.

Steavey Buckley
55 Posted 15/07/2018 at 16:43:33
Shakiri and Wilshere were never going to come to Everton. Wilshere is a local London lad with all his family and friend connections there.

Shakiri is guaranteed Champions League football with Liverpool and a good chance of winning the Premier League if Liverpool can find a good striker, midfield player and goal-keeper.

Bill Griffiths
56 Posted 15/07/2018 at 16:54:26
Couldn't have put it more eloquently, Jay Wood.

If we do get a couple of good signings, all well and good; if not, it may not be the end of the world.

Alan McGuffog
57 Posted 15/07/2018 at 17:05:08
And who, I ponder, is on our "negotiating team"?
Jay Harris
58 Posted 15/07/2018 at 17:23:22

I love your optimism and your analysis but you lost me when you said you would get rid of Gueye. For me he is the engine in the engine room. We need a bit of Manny Fernandes creativity alongside him – not a James McCarthy, IMO.

I don't want to be competing with West Ham, Leicester, Newcastle and Burnley. I want to be competing top 6.

We need a centre-back who is a leader and enforcer and organizer. We need a creative, energetic box-to-box midfield player who can score goals. Davies won't cut it just yet.

We need goals and assists from the left wing. Bolasie can't cut it and Lookman and Vlasic aren't quite ready.

The jury is out on Tosun but he doesn't look like a Lukaku level of goals... though we may have to wait that one out.

Tony Everan
59 Posted 15/07/2018 at 18:00:14
Great article Steve, promotes some good debate.

1. We need a left-back. We can't leave this one to chance. If Baines was guaranteed to be fit all season I would be happy, but that will not happen. As with Kenny, I don't think it is right to thrust Robinson in as he will be relentlessly targeted. He needs a more phased introduction.

2. The central defence, I have got faith in Mason Holgate, he has got a touch of class about him. I would like to see him step up to the plate and make that position his. It is a big ask though and he may be a year or two away from a regular starter. So I would say we definitely need to sign a central defender too. I don't want us relying on Jagielka and Williams will probably, hopefully will be gone in 4 weeks time.

These two positions need to be sorted sooner rather than later or our season would be much more in the lap of the gods than it needs to be.

The rest of the positions I will not lose any sleep if we don't sign anybody. It will be interesting if Brands can do some deals, swaps, loans, or bargains to get a few out and get another one or two in. I am waiting and hoping for a hidden gem to arrive late in the window.

Neil Cremin
60 Posted 15/07/2018 at 18:08:01

I don't agree. He may win the ball but loses it too easily and doesn't drive the team forward. Spends too much time passing on responsibility usually to Schneiderlin. I would go with James McCarthy any day as he wants to drive forward.

Once again, we are in denial in that we have slipped from being a regular top 6 team under Moyes to competing with the likes of West Ham, Burnley, Leicester under our more recent managers because we were not ambitious enough to hold on to quality players.

John Crawley
61 Posted 15/07/2018 at 18:16:00
Good article if we had Sarri as our manager. Silva has not espoused that philosophy and his record in the Premier League is not that of a ‘super coach'. Such a person wouldn't coach teams who ship 80 goals in 42 games.

Other than that, I agree there's a lot of potential in the squad that hasn't been developed.

Joe McMahon
62 Posted 15/07/2018 at 18:26:42
I think – in the same way Thatcher's reign has crippled Britain forever (such as privatisation of British Rail) – the Walsh & Koeman partnership has done years of damage.

Add to that we were paying Rooney £150k a week and he was part of the Lukaku deal. £45M for Sigurdsson and £25M each for Keane and Klaassen is disgusting. Silva is stuck with them and a 44-year-old injury prone Leighton Baines.

Dave Ganley
63 Posted 15/07/2018 at 20:05:04
It's a good debate that you've started, Steve. We won't be signing loads of players, that much is certain, and whilst I'm not going overboard about the current squad, we do have a decent core of players who, if actually coached in the art of football, we could do okay.

As others have said, we had an awful season last season yet still finished 8th with ease. It's not a great league and if we show any kind of consistency then 6th is achievable.

There are only 2 really dynamic teams in the division and that's Man City and Liverpool, the rest rely on some individual ability to get a win. In Pickford, Coleman, Baines, Walcott, Lookman, Sigurdsson and seemingly Tosun then we have the makings of a decent team.

If Silva can get Schneiderlin playing to his potential then that's another bonus as there is a quality player in there somewhere. It's the centre-backs that concern me. None have blistering pace, but if Silva can get us playing like a team again and willing to go the extra mile for each other then we have a chance to have a good season.

We will sign some players, but I'm not worried about the likes of West Ham buying a new team. As we know, it takes time to bed in not all will gel. I'm optimistic for the new season and I'm optimistic that Silva and Brands will get things on the right track.

Hopefully some more fringe players will leave and we can get some more quality in but if not then, if Silva organises and gets everyone reading from the same hymn sheet, then it won't be the worst thing in the world.

Tony Page
64 Posted 15/07/2018 at 20:32:00
This squad has been below par under three managers and Unsworth; they have had their chances. I hope under this manager they will buck up and do the job they are paid to do; if not, we are, without new signings, in deep shit! I hope I'm wrong.
Joe McMahon
65 Posted 15/07/2018 at 20:50:26
Dave (#63) I agree to an extent, but many teams will strengthen, look at West Ham already. Also, you include Baines as a plus point, well 5 years ago maybe, but no side above us in the Premier League would have him now.
Dennis Stevens
66 Posted 15/07/2018 at 21:51:05
I think it's a healthy exercise Steve's taken us through here. I don't anticipate many incomings at all & hope that the odd one or two we do see are very much for improving the first team in the weakest areas. The new regime must surely have been tasked with working with what they have, for the most part. I don't think it's an impossible job that they've been given.

This coming season I hope to see a lot more football from the boys in blue. I want to see Everton challenge for the win in every game regardless of opposition or venue. If this happens then I see no reason why we can't close the gap on the top six with a view to elbowing our way in, thereby turning it into a top seven, no doubt! A couple of cup runs would be nice too!

What is this crap about Everton being a regular top 6 team under Moyes? His average was between 7th & 8th (nearer to 8th) over his 11 full seasons, only reaching the top 6 on 5 occasions with the high point being, regarding consistency, the three in a row 2007, 2008 & 2009.

Mike Allison
67 Posted 15/07/2018 at 21:53:40
Not read comments yet, only the OP but I love the sentiment. I’ve had similar thoughts going round my head recently too. We had a distrastrous season, three managers, terrible football, no achievement and no hope, but we were still 8th. We’ve got dozens of good players, all of whom can be reasonably expected to play better next season than they did last season.

West Ham seem to worry a lot of people. I can’t see why. So they’ve signed some players? Last year that was us. A few seasons ago it was Stoke. It’s never been Burnley and they actually did come 7th. (Also, one of the players they’ve signed is Jack Wilshere. Hopefully he stays fit and plays some games running into three defenders and falling over, but I doubt it. He’ll probably get injured and Mark Noble will be back in the side).

Silva intends to sign players, judging from recent comments, and I’d still like four new ones. Picking from recent rumours I’d be very happy if they were Mina, Digne (or Tierney), Loftus-Cheek and Lozano, but I certainly agree with the Sarri ideology. Make your players better, don’t wish for greener grass.

Ray Robinson
68 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:07:42
I take on board the idea that we need to strengthen the left back and central defensive positions but I'm generally just as concerned, if not more so, about goalscoring potential – ironic really after the friendly yesterday.

An interesting and well-written piece, Steve, but the coach is only as good as the material that he has to work with. I still see a minimum of three players arriving.

Finishing 7th would not be a failure if we can narrow the gap to the top 6 but I don't think we'll achieve that, even with better coaching, unless we add some key players.

Mike Galley
70 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:21:39
Interesting article, Steve, many thanks for posting. Some great points regarding player options for the manager.

I love your optimism with regards to our new boss. I'm afraid I'm a terrible pessimist where our Blues are concerned, so I'm hoping and praying that you're proven right on our manager.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
71 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:24:37
I love the selective history of some people.

Joe McMahon – the railways were privatised between 94 and 97 and Thatcher was removed in 1990. You may have other reasons to dislike her, but railway privatisation wasn't hers. BT, British Airways, British Gas, Electricity Companies, Water Companies – all were hers, but not Britsh Rail. And I do miss the curly sandwiches of British Rail days.

Dennis Stevens – His average over 11 full seasons was 7.54. Yup, nearer to 8 than 7 but we need to include 03-04 when they all went the beach with 5 games to play as we were safe and 05-06 when we took time to recover from bengrobbed by Collina. The average for the last 7 years was 6th.

I love statistics. As an old accountant said to me, the first question is do you want a big number or a little number. I want to prove Moyes was useless so a big number: Okay, include his first 4 seasons. I want to prove he did a good job, Okay, just use the last 7.

James Hopper
72 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:34:09
I’ll keep it short.

I struggle to see how even the world’s best coach could get this group of players finishing ahead of Burnley without strengthening.

Neil Cremin
73 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:35:54

I presume your comments refer to my posts.

When Moyes took over, we were even in a worse situation than today. Regulary fighting to avoid relegation so it's easy to quote average finishes.

My point was that, in that era, we expected to be part of the top six. Now we are aspiring to become part of that exclusive group. How times have changed. It is really about the club's ambition and poor leadership, then and now. Let's hope we have turned the corner.

Jerome Shields
74 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:37:12
If we do sign players there will be no more than three. The main reason is that it is Board Policy to reduce the wages bill.

The fact that Everton have overpriced players on their books and a lot of soft-touch contracts is proving problematic. It will therefore take time to realise money from the sale of present squad members. The other factors are how individuals react to the coaching of Silva and whether they fit into his plans. It may take a year to sort this all out.

I also think that the Board are looking for Brands to realise funds from the sale of players to fund transfers. Steve's article is showing the default position. Personally, I think we need signing in defence urgently to give Silva a chance.

The type of deals will be something like:

Gibson of Middlesbrough is an example, Everton where trying to Part exchange Besic for Gibson, but Middlesbrough didn't want Besic. . .

The other is a loan deal for Mina with Barcelona that they previously did good business with. Also, tagging on Digne. Any straight deal is mere media speculation.

There is going to be no "splash the cash" deals. Everton were a disaster at this last Summer. It's back to what they have been good at and unfortunately what Mr Bill is more comfortable with.

Simon Smith
75 Posted 15/07/2018 at 22:48:19
Without any new signings we would not break the top 5 or 6. That said, we could still improve.


Imo, the above is a decent side which, with the right manager, will win more games and get more points than 14 others in the Premier League.

Clearly we have plenty of back-up players but I'd sell most of them but clearly then we would have to sign some.

Robles, Rooney, and Funes Mori have gone (I'd have kept Funes Mori and moved both Williams and Jagielka out). I'd consider the futures of Sandro, Klaassen, Besic, Williams, Jagielka, Martina, Pennington, Browning, Galloway, Mirallas and Niasse all being elsewhere.

That would be 14 players moved out of the club so we would have to buy 3 or maybe more, but between Dowell, Robinson, Kenny, Calvert-Lewin, Bolasie (who I would keep), Connoly, and the 6 or so kids who have recently signed deals, we would be okay for cover.

The squad isn't too bad, we just need to freshen it up a little.

Mark Taylor
76 Posted 16/07/2018 at 01:08:13
If Silva can turn that squad into top 6 material, he deserves a pay rise.

Sure, we are well stocked. With mediocre and/or ageing players, who we mostly cannot move on because no-one else would have them, especially given the daft wages some are paid relative to their talent.

Hence we might not sign anyone or certainly not very many, but this is not a good thing, more unwelcome evidence that we had our chance with some decent transfer funding and we blew it.

David Ellis
77 Posted 16/07/2018 at 03:14:09
1. The last thing we need is a round of new signings of mediocre players. Far better to sign no-one. I would expect a left-back and a centre-back and probably not more than that. We added two strikers in January.

2. Gana is not and never will be "box to box". He's no use in advance positions.

3. A big worry is that Gana and Schneiderlin can't play well together. If Silva operates with two holding midfielders, then I hope he can sort this out. Individually, they have the ability – can't they operate like Kante and Pogba for France?

4. "Thatcher's reign has crippled Britain forever"... well that's one narrative. Another is that the Wilson, Callahan and Heath governments and the National Union of Miners had a pretty good crack at it too. The 1970s were awful and I don't want to go back there. You needed a mortgage to buy a colour TV in those pre-globalisation days.

Victor Yu
78 Posted 16/07/2018 at 03:22:47
We don't have enough quality at centre-back if we don't sign anyone.

If we go with what we have right now, then we will be battling against relegation this season again.

Julian Wait
79 Posted 16/07/2018 at 03:37:22
Firstly, I have no doubt that Silva can get this squad to allow us to resume a familiar role as clear 7th, behind the 6 who shall not be named, and ahead of the rest... But he's not going to break the top 6 with this squad, not is he likely to win a cup. Improvements – yes; competitive – no.

We need a top class striker (preferably two!), a top class left winger (either Lookman is crap or he's not interested, based on what I have seen of the training camp videos in Austria) and a commanding center back who can play the ball, someone at a minimum comparable to Jagielka at his peak. I think it's a bit much to expect Silva to upcycle all of those out of the squad players we currently have.

And that's all assuming that Sigurdsson and Davies provide some punch going forwards from midfield (we've lost Rooney). Maybe that's achievable, as I like Siggy a lot and he's got quality.

Look around at the top 6 and they've got quality in all corners, with all of them having both a top class goalkeeper and multiple top class outfield players. I don't see that throughout our squad, and you can't rely on the kids to develop into world class players quickly enough.

Secondly, Gueye will be 29 in September, and has a good 4 years in him. I can't imagine we'd sell him willingly, he looked great for Senegal in the World Cup.

Easy prediction: we will finish 7th or 8th, and the upside we can hope for is that it becomes a platform for the following season.

Terry White
80 Posted 16/07/2018 at 03:48:26
Another optimistic posting from Victor (#78). I don't know why we bother going out on to the pitch. Better bring back Sam to help us with that annual fight against relegation.
Anthony Hawkins
81 Posted 16/07/2018 at 12:47:12
Nope, nope, nope. We went there a few seasons ago and it didn't work. I get the training aspect and how that would help but, without fresh signings, the team will spiral downhill, fast.

Gareth Clark
82 Posted 16/07/2018 at 12:54:20
The post is a bit confusing and cluttered but I appreciate posts such as these. In my mind, there is no doubt we will buy a left-back (hopefully Tierney) and a centre-back (hopefully Mawson or Lascelles). However, as I have said, we don't need much else. There are numbers and most of the squad are very good, they just need good coaching.

Robinson could easily slot in at left-back if we didn't get anyone.

Hewelt and Stekelenburg are perfect back up for Pickford.

Besic has plenty to offer & looks very good after his loan.

Connolly is great and can play in a number of positions.

Pennington can certainly do a job if needed.

Jagielka will always be reliable.

Holgate looks like the first choice alongside Keane –- and I really like the pace and skill he offers (he will probably drop to first-choice backup if or when we get another centre-back).

McCarthy coming back, alongside Baningime are both very good players.

Dowell & Vlasic are both extremely good young players.

Sandro hopefully fulfills his potential.

Lookman looks unbelievable so far; I think he will be first choice left winger for the start of the season.

Mirallas is looking good, even though I think he'll be gone.

Tosun, Niasse & Calvert-Lewin are a very good range of striker options, all so different and offering so much starting and off the bench.

Bolasie, if back to his best, could be great.

There are some who would be squad players: Martina, Williams, Mirallas, and as such, I don't think they'll be here at the end of the transfer window, or play much part, if they are still here.


GK: Pickford, Stekelenburg, Hewelt

RB: Coleman, Kenny

RCB: Holgate, Jagielka, Pennington

LCB: Keane, Williams

LB: Baines, Robinson, Martina

RCM: Gueye, Besic, McCarthy, Connolly

LCM: Davies, Schneiderlin, Baningime

CAM: Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Dowell

RW: Walcott, Vlasic, Bolasie

LW: Lookman, Sandro, Mirallas

ST: Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

More than enough good players. A bit of stability would do Everton the world of good. I think West Ham will finish bottom half of the table. Very similar situation to Everton last season – very tough start to the season, huge squad change and a new manager. Very unstable - especially if they start losing.

Coleman(c) Holgate Keane Baines
Gueye Davies
Walcott Sigurdsson Lookman

Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Kenny, Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Vlasic, Calvert-Lewin

That would be my best team with the current squad, with Robinson, Baningime, Dowell, Sandro & Niasse all pushing for a place in the line-up.

Martin Nicholls
83 Posted 16/07/2018 at 13:03:53
Victor (#78) – we had a poor start last season but, despite the panic move of appointing Allardyce, we were not "battling against relegation" so why forecast we will do so "again"?
Dennis Stevens
84 Posted 16/07/2018 at 13:58:54
Phil (#71), Very droll. The only manner in which I was selective about Moyes history was to exclude his first partial season as I felt it would be unreasonable to attribute that finishing position to him as he was only in charge for the latter part of the season. Quite amusing that you then seem to wish to exclude a couple of spells of poor form, although Moyes was still Manager, as I recall. You then choose to select the history that suits you, how ironic. Perhaps your first sentence should instead read: "I love selective history"!

Neil (#73), I didn't specifically have you in mind, though your post may well have been one of a couple that sparked my comment. I do recall the situation prior to Moyes's appointment [thanks so much for reminding me!], although I felt that then, as now, we were very much on the outside looking in.

However, I do agree that we've lost ground in the last few seasons and Silva will have his work cut out trying to make up for lost time. I thoroughly agree with your last two sentences, the Club has suffered through poor leadership from the Board for far, far too long and that, at the very least, leaves any manager rather working with one hand tied behind his back.

Neil Cremin
85 Posted 16/07/2018 at 14:12:43
No problem, Dennis. I do believe we have the makings of a decent team there with 2-3 replacements. I hate the term 'deadwood' and would only get rid of those who show no commitment. Unfortunately, that includes Lookman if that be the case.

Silva's first priority is to build team spirit and confidence and make the team perform better than the sum of the parts. That's what Moyes did but put too many restrictions on self-expression. Martinez let each individual express themselves but forgot to keep the team tight. If Martinez had a “defensive coach” it would have made a good combination.

Koemann dismantled the team, the confidence, and the individuals which now leaves Silva picking up the pieces. Let's hope he is up to it.

Dennis Stevens
86 Posted 16/07/2018 at 14:25:10
Absotively, Neil.
Tony Page
89 Posted 16/07/2018 at 15:00:58
My personal opinion, if we don't sign anyone, we will be potentially in deep shit! Hope we do bring players in because this side needs a good kick up the arse!
Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 16/07/2018 at 15:43:35
A very good post Steve, you've put a lot of time thought and effort into this with a lot of good points and a couple of debatable ones, but what comes through is your love of football, not just watching but studying it to and trying very hard to get to the bottom of what makes things tick in the game.

Listening to you yesterday there is no ego to your nature, no trying to be a know all just a great love of football, well done Steve and jeep those posts coming they are well read and interesting.

Tony Page
91 Posted 16/07/2018 at 15:49:25
Potentially Deep shit if we don't sign anyone, this squad needs. a few hungry players to give a kick up the arse to the under achievers.
Tony Everan
92 Posted 16/07/2018 at 16:21:39
Dave #90 I will second those sentiments
Tony Abrahams
93 Posted 16/07/2018 at 16:22:29
It's a good article Steve, it shows that we have got some v.good players, but I hope we get the monster at the back, that you say Silva usually goes with.

I would also love a creative midfielder, but hope that Tom Davies, can improve, because nothing much seems to get to this kid, and he never stops trying imo.

Also another centre-forward, is a necessity surely? Although I'm sure there will be occasions during the season, when Walcott might be able to do well down the middle.

I hope what Seri says, that Silva does, and then going to Goodison, can become a pleasure again, which is definitely my biggest wish for the new season anyway... Although I would love to see all our kids, celebrating a trophy at Wembley though!

Brian Harrison
94 Posted 16/07/2018 at 16:23:27
The Liverpool Echo did an interview with Marco Silva and he said that he has told the club the players he wants and he fully expects the club to get the players he wants. He also said he was only after 1 or 2 players, so I don't see a transfer window like last summer. Whether he stipulated which positions he wanted to strengthen or whether the Echo was estimating, but a defender and defensive midfield player and an attacker were mentioned.

I guess a lot will depend on how many he can ship out, but I would be quite happy with 3 signings in those positions provided they are quality signings.

Craig Walker
95 Posted 16/07/2018 at 17:15:49
Unless Silva is a miracle worker then without us signing quality players then we'll be reliant on the likes of Tom Davies and DCL. If this is the case then we can expect another frustrating season like the last one at the very best. I'd be deeply worried if we start the campaign with this squad. That list of players will still not perform against the good teams and will struggle at most away grounds. We need solidity at the back, creativity and steel in midfield and goals and pace throughout the team.
Clarence Yurcan
96 Posted 16/07/2018 at 17:18:37
Steve, sounds like you follow my beloved Napoli closely!
Dermot Byrne
97 Posted 16/07/2018 at 17:32:19
Could it be the case that they will expect new regime to have a season to see how existing players get on and remove dead wood. That will frustrate all of us like mad but is this a longer term strategy?

I have posted many times that I believe the rise of the club is linked with the stadium and a longer term strategy on the pitch is intertwined with that.

May drive me insane week by week but it wouldn't surprise me. It is how many businesses work.

Paul Birmingham
98 Posted 16/07/2018 at 17:58:35
Steve, I actually believe you’ll not be far away from the facts when the window closes. I’m not expecting many incomings and if the clubs operating model is gonna be more organised, precise, business model driven, and driving on the pitch improvements and reaching potential of the useable players we have, then, it’s gonna be an interesting season.

Many players are not good enough, skill wise, mentally and in team chemistry as many people have mentioned.

My hunch is a few rough diamonds at average cost, and no bank buster xfers in..

I’m reckoning 15-20M will be our outlay this window for our signings. Of course I could be miles off, but lessons learnt from last year, I’m sure FM has told, M&M, to be frugal and get the extra out put from the squad.

I’m not bothered about the rest and what they do, but we have a massive season ahead, and must play with more style and manner, than was shown last season, when we we killed the spirit of the game, from a skill and entertainment perspective.

Hope, hope, it kills us, but that’s what we have.. Thinking about it, just getting rid of some of the ale house players, could also impact positively this squads psyche..

Let’s see what happens.

William Cartwright
99 Posted 16/07/2018 at 18:26:59
Just suppose that the players play to the best of their ability, on top form and as a well managed and motivated team intent on attacking. Not an entirely fanciful notion. If it were the case, hats off to Marco, and I would love to see what a 4-4-2 of Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, (Yerry?), Baines / Robinson, Lookman, Gueye, Davies, Walcott. Sigurdson (as a proper no.10) and Tosun could achieve.

I am still waiting with more confidence to see outgoings than incomings, and without the in-depth analysis of the overall squad, I am expecting to see a quiet, under the radar approach this season with progress if not in league position then at least in performances and attitude and a cup run would cap it off for me.

William Cartwright
100 Posted 16/07/2018 at 18:27:00
Just suppose that the players play to the best of their ability, on top form and as a well managed and motivated team intent on attacking. Not an entirely fanciful notion. If it were the case, hats off to Marco, and I would love to see what a 4-4-2 of Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, (Yerry?), Baines / Robinson, Lookman, Gueye, Davies, Walcott. Sigurdsson (as a proper No 10) and Tosun could achieve.

I am still waiting with more confidence to see outgoings than incomings, and without the in-depth analysis of the overall squad, I am expecting to see a quiet, under-the-radar approach this season with progress, if not in Premier League position, then at least in performances and attitude and a cup run would cap it off for me.

Trevor Peers
101 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:03:02
The simple answer to the above question, we will struggle to score enough goals and will almost certainly end up in the bottom six, we need a new striker who can score at least 15 goals a season, if the manager can't see that yet, then he will soon realise it.

Without a goal scorer, this season will be just as bad as the last, let's hope Moshiri hasn't sewn his pockets up.

Fran Mitchell
102 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:04:07
The article is interesting. Many people respond with a certain dismissal of the premise and complain 'of course we need to sign'.

But never does the author suggest we don't need to, nor that we shouldn't, merely hypothesises.

It's a good discussion because it takes the idea of management away from the Footmall Manager/sky influenced conception that management is nothing more than buying players and choosing the formation.

Indeed, at Everton we have a number of younger players who could be trained, some formerly top-players who have lost their way, and from last years evidence, a lack of unity and togetherness. Working on these aspects is equally important to signing a 30+million pound playmaker.

Also, as croatia showed against england, having the fitness to play intense football for a full 90 (or120) minutes can also make the difference.

So yes, Silva can still make big differences to.our team without big personnel changes.

Lev Vellene
103 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:20:39
The premise of the OT is still valid! What if?

I don't think we can make it with all of those youngsters (I still hope, though...), but if we only get one addition for the seniors, then meh. Two or more, then we can start teaching the young-uns for next season!

Dermot Byrne
104 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:24:02
As I said somewhere, just maybe we have little idea of the capacity of some of our existing players with last 2 numpty managers.

But, I do want the buzz of some signings as I am a fan not a PL manager nor the owner of a football club..

Pleased I am neither to be frank...or Bob...or Deidre.

Dermot Byrne
105 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:25:06
What is meh?
Brian Williams
106 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:28:24
Say it out loud Dermot.
Will Mabon
107 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:37:33
It's the month before June.
Joe McMahon
108 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:43:33
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts (71) It's not all selective history as you call it. I do remember Sealink Ferries being privatised in the 80's and yeap you've guessed it Sealink was British Rail. I didn't need to google it as i've been on one, including the British Rail logo.

My point being Thatchers Government did untold damage, and it's why I compared to the damage done to the Everton squad for paying way over the odds for average players and paying Rooney 150k a week (60k a week more than Salah), thanks to the Walsh/Koeman combo.

Dermot Byrne
109 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:56:21
Ta Brian. I am so disconnected!
Brian Williams
110 Posted 16/07/2018 at 19:58:45
Meh! Lol.

You're welcome mate.

James Flynn
111 Posted 16/07/2018 at 20:01:26
2019-2020 is the season to demand incoming first-teamers. First, Silva has to sort out the mess he's inherited from the last 4 seasons.

James Flynn
112 Posted 16/07/2018 at 20:41:40
Bolasie loaned to Turkey? It's out there.
Don Alexander
113 Posted 16/07/2018 at 20:54:43
James (#111), if can sort out the mess he inherited he really will be Messianic as far as I'm concerned. Weakness in attack, midfield and defence exist in my belief but if he's not provided with a couple of quality signings before we kick off I'll take my cap off to him if we end up seventh.
Kase Chow
114 Posted 16/07/2018 at 20:57:06
Goals win matches and there aren’t enough goals in our team

We don’t even have a proven goal scorer (Tosun has looked okay but hasn’t scored regularly or against the bigger clubs yet)

We need someone up top at a minimum. Also a proven left back ‘back up’ to Baines. We all know what happened last season WITHOUT a proven goal scorer and back up left back

Peter Laing
115 Posted 16/07/2018 at 21:07:57
My arl fella used to have a saying 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear' and no amount of coaching or man management will change the terrible state of the current squad. Brands and Silva have a huge task in righting the wrongs of 18 months eorth of dereliction of duty created on Walsh and Koeman's watch.

Walsh failed to deliver on his previous if fleeting success in unearthing talent at Leicester and Koeman appeared more comfortable strolling around a golf course and referring to his Club as 'Everton'.

The squad is indeed bloated, ageing and unbalanced. Far too many average players on big salaries. Brands apparently winced at the roll call and has set about looking at ways to trim the hefty wage bill.

As much as I admire Steve's optimism I believe the next two seasons will be about treading water and survival. Patience is a virtue and we are going to need plenty of it as Brands and Silva deliver the change that is needed to get Everton back on an even footing. You standstill in football and you go backwards, in that sense the task ahead is enormous as Everton continue to supplement the wages of the current coaches of Belgium and Holland.

Brian Harrison
116 Posted 16/07/2018 at 21:20:08
Peter Your Dad on most occasions is correct it is very difficult to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. But there have been quite a few exceptions to the rule. I know its a while ago but Brian Clough won the European Cup with cast offs. Harry Kane another who was going nowhere till Sherwood took him back off loan and put him in the first team. Also Salah a complete non entity at Chelsea and wasnt actually doing magnificently at Roma, but a change of manager and club and wins the golden boot.

Now I am not saying Silva can make a silk purse out of a sows ear, but if he can only improve half the first team by 10% then maybe next season will be one to enjoy rather than endure.

Peter Hopkins
118 Posted 16/07/2018 at 21:34:01
Relatively new poster to this site,some very interesting reading. In my opinion and from all that I’ve read,everywhere Brands has been patience is key,the first season is all about assessing the squad,he takes his time and likes to bring in youngsters and build a squad.
So I’m afraid dear blues it’s going to take a while and a helluva lot of patience,coyb.
Sam Hoare
119 Posted 16/07/2018 at 22:29:06
I still think we'll sign at least two to four players:

A centre-back (Mina, Lascelles, Vida or Wallace)
A left-back (Tierney, Digne, or Laxalt)

Then possibly:

A box-to-box central midfielder (Loftus-Cheek, Barrios, Doucore, or Lemina)
A winger (Lozano, Bernard, Malcolm or Zaha)

I thinks it highly unlikely we'll end up with Mina, Tierney, Loftus-Cheek and Lozano but fingers crossed!

In reality, Mina and Laxalt plus a loan and a few youngsters for the U23s is more plausible.

Dick Fearon
120 Posted 16/07/2018 at 23:11:44
Hey Steve, OP,
I'll have what your' havin
David Israel
121 Posted 16/07/2018 at 23:18:58

Thanks for a very interesting piece.

But the signing of players, these days, is not just intended to strengthen a team, although that still is, and should always be, its main purpose. The signing of players has a positive effect on fans and on the squad itself. Players already at a club will perceive a lack of activity in the transfer market as a sign of low ambition or financial constraints, neither of which is good for their morale. This is somewhat odd, but that's the way it is. An Italian journalist, or club director, once said that you need to change the shop window every year, even if you're not adding to its quality. It's a bit like that, I think.

Anyway, I don't think anyone believes we won't be signing anyone, and I'd certainly be disappointed if we didn't at least sign a left-back (yes, by now I've heard enough of Robinson, but he's only a very young lad, and as yet unproven).

Bill Gienapp
122 Posted 16/07/2018 at 23:20:43
I'm not sure why so many are down on Tosun – I don't think a 15-goal season would be a stretch at all, particularly playing for a manager who actually knows what he's doing.

In fact, I see no reason why a front four of Tosun, Sigurdsson, Walcott and Lookman can't consistently trouble defenses and do some damage offensively.

Don Alexander
123 Posted 17/07/2018 at 00:56:45
If we don't make a significant signing this summer, it tells me that Mr Moshiri is truly what he's reported to be, a billionaire, singular, unlike the wealthier owners of several clubs like us not in "the top six".

It also tells me that he's a football naive in splurging like he did last summer, to no perceptible improvement, and, in fact, creating a genuine problem that may last for a season or two, at least, for his new management, coaching, and director of football staff to deal with. So, for me, in anticipating movement into the top four, more endurance and patience will be required this season, and next, and the one after that, and the one after that in all likelihood. ...by which time, our new stadium might just signify to the world beyond ToffeeWeb that we are truly intent on "breaking through"....Sigh.

That'll be 25 years of mediocrity organised by you Kenwright. Cheers, and, in fairness, never mind the preceding decade of mediocrity either.

Derek Thomas
124 Posted 17/07/2018 at 01:57:24
If a combination of Kenwright, Elstone, Koeman, Walsh and Allardyce can get that squad to 8th, with most of them gone or fading away like a photo from Back to the Future, surely Brands and Silva can improve them a bit.

We've had our "two steps back" (again); time for one step forward... even if it is only a baby step this season.

Nicholas Ryan
125 Posted 17/07/2018 at 02:24:29
I don't think Steve is saying we shouldn't sign anyone; this is a "What If?" article; what if we didn't or couldn't?

I think Silva will improve [most of] the players who are already here. Therefore, with or without additions, I think we would rise up a place or two in the Premier League this coming season, which would be a decent outcome.

Julian Wait
126 Posted 17/07/2018 at 04:13:28
@Sam #119 - If we ended up with Mina, Tierney, Loftus-Cheek and Lozano (or equivalents) and keep all the good players except Lookman, we would have a good go at getting to 6th, assuming one of those teams in current top 6 or 7 stutter, and be looking to progress from there in the following seasons. Anything less than that and we're more focused on cementing 7th. But I can't see it happening either, unfortunately.
Ray Robinson
127 Posted 17/07/2018 at 08:30:37
If we sign nobody, we may well improve with better coaching but seventh will remain the highest potential finish. We simply do not have enough ball-carrying, interchangeable, speedy, box to box players, capable of goal-scoring, to change the dynamic of the team. Walcott, Bolasie, Lookman all have pace admittedly but are all wide men. Quite often the midfield battle is won in the centre of midfield. Only Gana currently has the energy of perform a box to box role and he is mainly used in a defensive capacity.
Tony Everan
128 Posted 17/07/2018 at 10:13:40
If we do sign a couple of players I want them to tough, uncompromising and tenacious.

I think one of our shortcomings is we have more than our fair share of nice, friendly players . We can be bullied and outfought by too many teams.

Vida and Mina fit the bill for me with those aforementioned qualities. I want a left back in the Stuart Pierce mold too. (If you waltz past me I may have to kill you.)

Man City bought Kyle walker who gives them more of this resilience . I think he added to the fact that Man City became a much tougher unit , unable to be bullied and outfought last season.it is the reason why Stones a lot of the time can’t get a game ahead of Kompany or Otemendi. (I think Stones is getting there though , looking more powerful lately.)

Sam Hoare
129 Posted 17/07/2018 at 11:18:02
Tony, I’d take pace over resilience. The likes of Williams, Jagielka and Mori are (or were) resilient enough but resilience only gets you so far when the likes of Salah, Sane, Hazard etc are running full pelt.

Walker may be resilient but I’d say City bought him because of his high energy and searing pace which allows him to keep up when broken against.

We have an incredibly slow team, especially around the middle of the team where only Gueye has any type of pace to him. I’d be much more excited about Tom Davies if he had some genuine gas to add to his energy and fervour.

Last Summer Koeman bought Rooney, Klaassen, Sigurdson and Keane; surely four of the slowest players in their positions. And we suffered for it.

Holgate helps. Coleman is fast enough. Robinson is rapid and obviously Walcott and Lookman get by. I’d love a new quick CB and a fast box to box would be handy. Resilience is good. But we really need a bit more pace.

Laurie Hartley
130 Posted 17/07/2018 at 11:57:07
Sam & Tony - you are both right. A mixture of hard and fast won Leicester the title the season before last. No other team could live with that combination.
Tony Everan
131 Posted 17/07/2018 at 13:08:16
Sam, I agree with that, but as Laurie says we need both qualities and some footballing skill too!

We have too many nice guys and not enough mean bastards. Man City have got beautiful footballers and they are complimented by enforcers. De Bruyne has got a bit of both! Sorry to bang on about Man City but last season they were the best I’ve seen since our boys in the mid eighties. If there is a model to follow it is that.

Sam Hoare
132 Posted 17/07/2018 at 13:39:52
Agreed Tony, City have a wonderful squad. Though I’m slightly worried that now the RS have bought a good central midfield they’re not too far off.

Either way we are still a way behind!

Ajay Gopal
133 Posted 17/07/2018 at 17:22:48
Interesting ‘what if’ article. Even though this is Everton, I doubt that we won’t sign anybody - too big of a risk, especially when you consider how others are strengthening. I am especially very afraid of the RS winning the league this year, they are strengthening in all the areas, whereas our coming season seems to be focused on setting right the goof-ups of last season.

Having said that, I think we do have have a decent squad, and if Marco is really the brilliant coach that we (Steve) think he is, we should be able to get some decent performances. I would be happy if we finish mid-table but our youngsters form the spine of the team, with promise of a better tomorrow. The team should be built around:

Coleman Holgate Keane Robinson
Davies Siggy Baningime
Walcott Calvert-Lewin Lookman

Backed up by:

Stek, Kenny, Jags, Williams, Feeney, Baines, Gana, Klaassen, MacCarthy, Dowell, Vlasic, Tosun, Bolasie, Niasse

Mark Dunford
134 Posted 17/07/2018 at 21:50:32
I think there is truth in this provocation. We need to reduce the size of the squad - expensive underachievers Sandro, Bolasie, Klaassen, Williams should go - and we could do with some reinforcements, though possibly not the massive overhaul some suggest. Won’t win anything next year without additional strength but a considered approach may yet yield long term success if the promise shown by the exceptionally rich crop of young players is realised.

I also think Tosun could score a decent number of goals next year.

Have no idea if Robinson is good prospect but - if not - we really need cover at least in the left back spot.

Chris Gould
135 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:21:14
Sky sports reporting that we're in advanced talks to buy Malcolm from Bordeaux for £30 million plus add ons.
No previous whispers on this. Brands is stealthy.
Mike Jones
136 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:28:16
I like the way it seems we are conducting business
Peter Warren
137 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:28:44
Winger as first signing seems odd. Perhaps Walcott will play through middle. Never heard of guy obviously hope he is ace!
Steve Ferns
138 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:32:23
Peter, we're the long line in a list of clubs he was due to sign for. He's run the entire spectrum of the new Premier League from Tottenham to Fulham, and also the likes of Inter. Being linked with so many would make me question this rumour.

As always, he looks a decent player on YouTube. It's not Walcott who should be worried about his place but Lookman and Bolasie.


Peter Warren
139 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:43:36
Steve, is Silva likely to play Walcott as part of a front three?
Steve Ferns
140 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:45:31
Most definitely, Peter. The main difference between his 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 is the shape of the triangle in the middle of midfield. It's either 2 DMs and an AMC or 1 DM and 2 CMs. Either way the wingers are wide forwards and will be getting into the box and supporting the striker.
Sam Hoare
141 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:51:58
Personally I’d play Malcolm in the middle. (Borrowed from Twitter!)
Peter Warren
142 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:52:25
What's his preferred type of centre-forward? I would imagine an attacking coach would generally go for somebody more mobile and better in the air than Tosun. I don't see how he really fits in a 4-3-3 formation.

Sounds to me like we need a box to box midfielder like that guy he played at Watford – Dacoure was it? He's a seriously impressive player I would like us to sign.

Peter Warren
143 Posted 17/07/2018 at 22:53:19
Brilliant Sam!

Steve Ferns
144 Posted 18/07/2018 at 01:04:26
Peter consider the forwards he's had:

Slimani of Leicester at Sporting – big strong and good in the air.
Brown Ideye – West Brom flop – at Olympaicos who scored one in two for Silva. He was mobile and had pace.
At Hull he used Niasse and Hernandez. They were pacy and went wide into the channels pulling defences apart and creating space.
At Watford he went with one of Deeney or Gray. Neither impressed and Silva wanted to bring Slimani in.

I think Silva's Everton will have less space in behind the opponents than Hull. So we need a more all-round striker, good with his back to goal who can link up play. So sure, Tosun can do this. But I think Calvert-Lewin has better qualities for this and if he can grab an opportunity, then he could force his way in. But sure Tosun can do the job well, holding it up, laying it off and bringing others to play. He can also score a few himself.

Mike Gaynes
145 Posted 18/07/2018 at 01:17:37
Anybody seen Malcom play? Don't watch the French league meself.
Fran Mitchell
146 Posted 18/07/2018 at 03:45:56
Malcom could play in a number of positions, out wide, behind the striker or even as a central attacker. Very highly rated here in Brazil.

Also don't see it as confirmation (if the transfer does happen) of Lookman's imminent departure. One, because we need a squad; two, because both players can play in different positions.

In a 4-2-3-1 we'd have options of:

One of Lookman/Malcolm/Vlasic/Dowell as Left attacker
One of Sigurdsson, Lookman, Malcom, Dowell, Vlasic or Klassen as 'No10';
One of Walcott, Lookman, or Malcom as right attacker;
One of Tosun, Calvert-Lewin or Malcolm as central attacker

Plenty of variety, pace, and skill.

Mike Gaynes
148 Posted 18/07/2018 at 05:59:41
Thanks, Fran.
Tony Everan
149 Posted 18/07/2018 at 10:40:07
Malcom in means Lookman and Bolasie are out. Where does it leave Vlasic? On the bench at best?

Vlasic and Dowell have seriously got their work cut out to get into the team. It will be very interesting to see if they can step up and force Silva’s hand.

Michael Lynch
150 Posted 18/07/2018 at 21:33:14
After watching the Bury pre-season friendly, I think I can answer the question posed in the title of this article.

We'll be totally fucked.

George Stuart
151 Posted 19/07/2018 at 08:01:59
But Michael (#150) — we beat someone 22-nil!

Pre season games tell us nothing except maybe fitness/injury status.

Well I'm off to put a hundred quid on us finishing 7th no matter what. I wonder if I can get odds on us having a better season than last season? I don't mean league position, goals scored or whatever, just better. It simply has to happen.

Have I just relegated us after 60+ years?

Steve Carr
152 Posted 25/07/2018 at 12:22:43
I understand Maurizio Sarri did extremely well at Napoli with his “refuge of the weak coach” approach to the transfer market.

However, there's an article on BBC Sport (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44917081) that quotes Napoli's president, Aurelio de Laurentiis, as saying, "[Sarri] wanted to take my whole team to England".

Seems that was okay for Napoli but not Chelsea.

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