A new era has begun; Ronald Koeman has been appointed, Everton’s money front has received a huge bolster from Farhad Moshiri and a big re-building job is underway. With the amount of dollar coming in, it’s almost a certainty that Everton will be busy on the transfer front. Within weeks of Koeman’s appointment we’ve been linked with hundreds of players, but who should we be aiming for to not only improve the team but also grab the media’s attention? I analyse Everton’s potential incomings and outgoings.
Who needs to go and who will go?
Before Ronald was even announced, Everton confirmed that Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar were released from their contracts. This has left a big whole in the club (oh – we’ll get to that). Tim Howard’s departure is another leave that has left a gap in the team, a gap certain to be covered. However, I do believe deadwood is still left at Everton.
Players such as Aiden McGeady and Arouna Kone have earned the axe just as much as the three released players had, although the winger’s performance on loan must surely be unconvincing from Koeman’s point-of-view and Ivorian striker could be on his way to China. James McCarthy can be added to that list after a poor season, however he could really benefit from the new appointment, a new role in the first team and a new style to suit him is on the cards.
Ross Barkley and John Stones are definitely staying, despite media pressure (as per usual) on both of them. The Lukaku situation gets more confusing by the day, but it looks as if though he is staying despite seeming like he was destined for a move away. I have lost respect for Romelu Lukaku, but you cannot deny that he is a great striker and is guaranteed 15+ goals a season from him.
What do we need?
Four first-team players have already left, and although I think Koeman will introduce a couple of young stars to break out (Tom Davies, Matthew Pennington and Kieran Dowell are most likely), positions need covering. With the money coming in, we could be seeing a record-breaking window in the most important summer of the history of Everton Football Club.
Tim Howard’s departure was a long-time coming – a fantastic servant to the club, who sadly lost his form towards the end. Joel Robles did take the first-team role this season, but in my eyes, he isn’t good enough.
So who do you replace him with? My first choice would be Fraser Forster. His height gives him a big advantage when coming out for crosses against the attackers, he managed to keep 6 consecutive clean sheets earlier on in the season. The Englishman also achieved the 2nd highest distribution length in the Premier League – an average of 59 meters. Forster signed for Southampton back in August 2014, joining from Celtic for £9.4 million. With a current market value of £11.25million (that doesn’t mean we will sign him for that much), he is a goalkeeper worth buying and would give the support the defence desperately needs.
Three time Erdevisie winner Jasper Cillessen is another goalkeeper worth buying. He kept the most clean sheets (18) in the Dutch league, conceding just 21 goals all season in 33 appearances to his name. Cillessen had also only conceded 2 goals from corners all season long, a big problem Everton failed to tackle last season.
Kasper Schmeichal is an unlikely choice, but with Ron-Robert Zieler joining Leicester this window, it could see Schmeichal’s first-team duties come to an end. He made the fifth highest amount of saves in the Premier League (80) and also the second highest amount of claims (112). French goalkeeper Steven Mandanda is another improbable choice, but his contract has expired and he is a very experienced keeper. Mandanda made an average of 2.44 saves per match and only conceded 3 goals from corners throughout the campaign.
Back-up Right Back
Hibbert’s and Mattioni’s contracts have both been terminated by the club and we’ve suffered when Coleman hasn’t been part of the team, often John Stones or Muhamed Besic having to fill the position. Tyias Browning is more likely to succeed as centre-backs and it is clear we need cover, with Sam Bryam turning down a move in January.
One player who can fill this role is Ajax’s Kenny Tete. He is a versatile right-back who loves to move and attack forward, not as much as Coleman but definitely having the traits that a right-back needs. He is also a good reader of the ball, making 3.56 interceptions per 90 minutes and also had an impressive 85% passing accuracy last campaign – a stat only John Stones beat in the Everton defence. His current market value is listed at £4.13 million.
Another Dutch youngster who can do the job is Kevin Diks. He would be a cheaper option but has 30 appearances to his name. The Vitesse man is better moving forward than Kenny Tete, making an average of 0.81 key passes per 90 minutes.
A position we have wanted to fill for a long time is the centre back role. The signing of Funes Mori was a good one, but we still only have three recognisable first-team centre half’s playing in the team. This problem was shown in the Merseyside derby, the most embarrassing one in years, especially when McCarthy and Besic where forced to play in the backline.
Eder Alvaraz Balanta could be the man to solve the problem. With a great combination of strength and speed, he should be capable to cope with the demands of Premier League football. The River Plate man makes an average of 4.3 clearances per game, and is also left-footed. He has received much praise in Argentina, has made 6 caps for Colombia and has a market value of just £3 million. He could be a top signing.
Crystal Palace centre-back Scott Dann is a player we’ve been linked with quite often, despite signing a new deal last year. He could be a good buy however, having blocked the most shots in the league (45) and winning 112 aerial duels, which is 60% of all duels he has attempted. Another player we’ve been connected with is the highly rated Belgian, Bjorn Engels. The young centre-back won the Belgian Jupiler Pro League this season with Club Brugge and has been recognised as a ball playing centre half, often compared to John Stones.
An unlikely choice would be American John Brooks. He was part of Hertha Berlin’s terrific campaign, which saw them almost grab Champions League football. Brooks can produce long balls too the attackers, averaging 23 meters and has a 61% headed duels success rate. He is a doubtful signing, agreeing a new contract back in January.
We need a fully fit midfielder, who is versatile and can be solid for Everton.
A man who I believe has these traits is Zenit man Axel Witsel. With his contract expiring at the end of next year, Witsel is a hot-prospect for clubs like Everton who are looking for a big signing this summer. With 67 Belgium caps to his name and the ability to play deep, central or attacking midfield, he is a midfielder who provides great passing and dribbling capabilities. Last season, the Zenit midfielder achieved an 89% pass accuracy rate; no Everton midfielder got a higher percentage.
Kevin Strootman is another midfielder we’ve been linked with. The Dutch midfielder is another versatile option, with the ability to pick out holes through the opposing defence and producing layoffs for forward players. The Roma man is a good choice, but he’s undergone 3 knee operations all ready and only appeared 5 times all season. William Carvalho could also be seen as a realistic option. He is a very strong player, comfortable in possession and doesn’t commit many fouls. He’s also a fantastic reader of the ball and can drop back into the backline if needed, a tactic Koeman likes when his team are in possession.
Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has also got the interest of Everton. Morgan grew an 89% passing accuracy rate, which was the highest at the club. He also loves a tackle, attempting 185 last campaign, that’s 2.04 per 90 minutes. A marquee signing Everton could potentially make is Juan Mata. It would be a massive transfer for the club, bringing in a World Cup winner and a highly creative midfielder (53 created last season alone). After falling out with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, you cannot rule out a move for Mata. Over the past 24 hours of writing this, Everton have been highly involved in Wesley Sneijder’s future. He maybe 32, but he’s got bags of ability and is very dangerous from set pieces. Even if he doesn’t do as well on the pitch, he would be a big support for youth players trying to break through.
Arouna Kone and Oumar Niasse are not good enough back-up’s for Romelu Lukaku. We could also be seeing a 4-4-2 formation coming into play next season; Lukaku needs a striker as good as he is to finish chances and turn Everton into an amazing attacking side.
Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik would be a realistic choice for us. The Ajax striker scored 21 goals in the Erdevisie – 118 minutes per goal ratio. He is very composed up front, loves to dribble and is also very creative – grabbing 8 assists last season. Another high-scoring striker we could turn to is Michy Batshuayi. The Marseille man scored 17 league goals in 36 appearances. He also has the ability to score on both feet; he is dangerous in the air and on the ball. However, the recent contract he signed back in January could see him stay at Marseille for another season.
In terms of a marquee signing, a striker I believe we can pull out the hat is Mauro Icardi. The Argentine has been linked to a lot of places, but pulling him in to Everton would really grab the attention off everyone. He is deadly inside the box, having scored all 16 of his Serie A goals inside the penalty area. His goal per minute ratio is 1 in every 163. As well as goals, Icardi is another striker who can create chances as much as he takes them, creating 32 chances last season and bagging 4 assists. Another player we can lure in is Spaniard Paco Alcacer. After Valencia’s awful campaign, ending in the bottom half, Paco could be interested in a move elsewhere and why not Everton? He scored 13 goals last campaign in 34 appearances and receives call-ups for the Spanish national team. He is both footed also and is a very dangerous striker.
No doubt about it, this is a huge summer for Everton. A new stadium build is on the cards, alongside a potential makeover of Goodison Park. Additionally, Koeman is a big name, and this article may include his name a lot but I need to stress the importance of the massive re-building job he has this summer. We need to make a huge signing, much like what Manchester City had done with Robinho back in 2008. Ok, we haven’t got billions and billions like City have, but we are finally in the “money” bracket.
I hope pre-season is a great one.
Up the Toffees.
Thanks to Transfermarkt, WhoScored and Squawka for statistics.
Latest posts by Joel Parker (see all)
- Match Analysis and Review: Sunderland 0-3 Everton - September 15, 2016
- Analysing Everton’s Summer Transfer Window - September 5, 2016
- A Koeman Philosophy (Part Two): Predicting an Everton side under Ronald Koeman - August 14, 2016