Things are still looking good at Goodison Park but, fighting for a Champions League spot, everyone at Everton is surely aware of the opportunity that faces them.
The start of the season was fast, exciting, and promising for Everton fans. The signings of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré, and James Rodriguez cemented a midfield trio who could tie defence to attack, creating and cleaning up in equal measure.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was flying high, scoring ten goals within his first seven matches. Even Pickford, critiqued endlessly for perceived decision-making issues was performing well. It would seem that the tactical expertise of new manager Carlo Ancelotti caught a few unaware too. That isn’t unusual and generally wears off after a few months of teams getting used to a style.
However, the situation has changed since then. It hasn’t necessarily gotten worse, in fact, things are still looking good at Goodison Park. But, fighting for a Champions League spot, everyone at Everton is surely aware of the opportunity that faces them. It isn’t early-season anymore. With the core of a team in place, the Toffees will want to make this commonplace. But, who exactly could do the job for them? Here are three signings that could solidify Everton’s claim to be one of the big 6, and, if all goes well, a top-four side in the near future.
Sami Khedira has the experience, that much is obvious. He’s won the lot with both Real Madrid and Juventus. He’s also got experience working under Carlo Ancelotti, winning the Champions League with him in Madrid. Additionally, Ancelloti boasts a strong track record of getting the best out of older players, notably Arjen Robben at Bayern, amongst other veteran players.
Plus, he’s cheap at a rumored £9 million, Khedira comes in as a potential support to the midfield core that is heavily relied on but can’t do everything themselves. With Steven Nzonzi also linked to Everton, it’s clear that Ancelotti is looking to bolster the midfield with experience and support rather than permanent, starting players. Although whether they choose to go ahead and sign anyone is another question altogether.
The stories that Bernard could be on his way out could well be nothing more than rumours. The transfer window typically produces a few stories for every team. Despite the lack of clarity over Bernard’s departure, this hasn’t stopped the links to West Ham’s Felipe Anderson. The estranged playmaker was loaned out to FC Porto, but a lack of game time overseas has left him as a player with decent potential but little opportunity to really display his ability, particularly in the premier league.
Creatively, Everton isn’t necessarily lacking, but again, the way to solidify a position in the Premier League is depth over a thin squad of 11. Liverpool’s loss of Van Dijk could have spelled disaster if it weren’t for a decent choice of replacement defenders to rely on.
Finally, there’s the purchase of a keeper. Everton has a solid goalkeeper in Jordan Pickford. However, it’s simply not true to say he’s anything more than a decent keeper, given a track record littered with as many bloopers as there are highlights.
Who to sign is a difficult question, do you lean towards experience, potential, or a finished article? Everton hasn’t been linked to anyone specifically as yet, perhaps because their positive results this season wouldn’t demand an immediate action is required. According to latest Premier League betting odds, the likelihood of Everton making the top six by end of the season is 13/8 - a solid chance, certainly. So, fear of changing too much with big signings might linger in the backs of the minds of the decision-makers.
Whatever the management decides to do, Everton isn’t looking to change their course. As seasons go, this is a glowing year for the Toffees and one which has to go down as a historic one. The turnaround is legitimate, now they need to lay claim to their new-found winning ways.