Now we have appointed Ronald Koeman – someone who didn't start as my first choice (due to the poor time Valencia mainly, although he still won a cup) but, after reading many articles about his management from start to now, he is firmly my choice now. The more I read about his style and what he is saying, the more I like... such as Lyndon's latest great read "Koeman aims to bring Dutch style to Goodison".
The point of my article is actually about silly season so, if you aren't interested in who I think we should buy as what's the point until they are signed (which I can see but who doesn't like playing Championship Manager really??) then stop reading now.
Right then, fellow Champo players, here is what I would do, trying to be realistic about who would actually sign for us and improve the team:
First for I think every fan is get a great Number 1 in as they say, 10 points a season... and for us may be more like 15. For me, I'd go for Jack Butland who is now close to recovery from his ankle injury. He is 1.96 m tall, commands his area, a great shot-stopper, rarely makes errors, is English and still only 23. For me, England's next Number 1 and I feel that may happen next season.
Next, I think we need one more centre-back and I rate Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. At 1.93 m he is good in the air but has a great touch for a big man. As he can play the ball out of defence, I think Stones can learn a lot from him and Big K about how and when to do this. Solid in the tackle, ball-playing when he can, but not too much; seven Man-of-the-Match awards last season says it all.
We need a bit more creativity in Midfield so I have opted for Georginio Wijnaldum. Although Newcastle had an awful season, he was one of the few that did well, scoring 11 goals and 5 assists (should have been more but no-one finished the chances he created). An ex Dutch Footballer of the Season, I think he would play well in a better team who can pass the ball. Defensively not amazing but he's not in the team for that side of things.
Right, we need two up front as I would sell Lukaku his attitude towards Everton and the fans has been appalling. He thinks he is better than he actually is, is often lazy. Yes, I do appreciate selling someone who scored 25 goals in a team that played as badly as ours sounds silly but I think his attitude must affect team morale and his head won't fit through the doors at Finch Farm anymore and not even Moshiri has enough money for the revamp there.
So Vincent Janssen of AZ Alkmaar has only just turned 22 a few days ago, scored 27 in 32 in the league. He is an amazing finisher who also runs about as well, holds the ball up well, can dribble and pass as well. Not the finished article but what a talent he is... snap him up before someone else does. Another with seven MotM awards last season. With Koeman, I see this as a real possibility.
Secondly, Arkadiusz Milik of Ajax has also not long (4 months ago) turned 22 and scored 21 in 28 for Ajax with 7 assists as well, so he's a team player whose finishing is also good. He likes to take long shots and is a bit better in the air than Janssen. He can also pass and likes to play the ball on the ground; he has a bright future.
This would then mean a first 11 of:
Butland; Coleman, Van Dijk, Stones, Baines; McCarthy Deulofeu, Wijnaldum, Barkley; Janssen, Milik;
Subs: Robles, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Galloway, Besic, Dowell, Davies, Mirallas, Niasse (unless he isn't good enough then sell & replace)
For me, that team would have pace going forward and be able to pass the ball well through opposition defences. I believe Koeman will make Stones the player he should be and he will be very very good; we can even play the ball out of the back with both centre-backs being able to do so.
All realistic signings that would cost say Â£100M get Â£55M for Lukaku and only spend Â£45M so we can build further next season. The average age of the first 11 would be just over 24, and we would still have a core group of Everton players as we still need some continuity at the club, not signing 11 new players. Only two haven't played in the Premier League but, if chances are created, a goalscorer will put them away and these two up front are just that. No more lazy Lukaku waiting for chances to come to him but players wanting the ball to feet and willing to run to get it.
I would want to start a youngster each match and rotate this so they all get a chance to show what they can do. This is assuming they are good enough and show this in training, as I would love a few of our academy lot in the team in a few years.
The Everton lads in the team from last season have all got a lot to prove. Baines being injured and not at his best so needs to show he still has it next season. We need to see the Coleman against Arsenal, juggling the ball up the line. I feel these two will play better in a team that passes quickly, allowing them to get forward more and find strikers that move into decent positions and make good runs. McCarthy I feel is far more than he has showed so far as I think he can pass and score as well in the right team with a decent coach improving him.
Deulofeu needs to show he can be consistent and a team player or he will be out in no time anyway under Koeman. Mirallas a bit like Deulofeu. Barkley needs to know when to pass, to actually tackle as he can do this if he keeps letting players go past him, he can do one as it's a team game and defending is everyone's responsibility (to an extent). I know I have said it's not why Wijnaldum is in the team further up... and the same for Barkley; but there is not being able to do something and not trying to, and I won't accept people not trying.
I know many won't agree with this or that as we are all individuals with differing opinions but that's my Champo Everton Squad. That's a top 6 side and some will say we need time to adjust... why?? Did Southampton for the last 2 yearsâ€¦ no and we have the manager that made it happen, now with a far far better side.
Make Goodison a fortress get the fans back on side and we will be behind you all the way, Ronald Koeman.
COYB – I've never been so excited for a season in June.
Thanks for reading and take care, fellow Blues.