In a crazy transfer market, backed by the Everton board and Farhad Moshiri, Ronald Koeman has brought in an arsenal of summer signings that saw Everton spend a net amount of £142.38m. No matter which way you cut it, this is a statement of ambition from the Merseyside club who have long been in the shadows of a local rival.
The board now expects the team to challenge the ‘top six’ of the English Premier League; to fight for a Champions League spot this time. Seven matches into the season and Everton are languishing at the bottom half of the table with seven points from as many games.
In a summer that promised so much with the return of their boyhood star Wayne Rooney, things have gone horribly wrong. They have just collected a grand total of one point from their four big matches against Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, with the 1-1 draw at the Etihad the only positive result. While the results itself do not create much of an issue, it is the spineless nature of these defeats that have left the Everton fans fuming.
The Toffees have shipped in 9 goals in their three matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham without reply. Following their latest defeat against Burnley this weekend, Everton are just standing just two points and two places off the relegation zone.
Their Thursday night outings in the Europa League have been in sync with their disappointing domestic form with Koeman’s side claiming one point in two matches which included a 2-2 draw against Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park and a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta.
The Everton squad hosts a team of players of great calibre. The squad has a good mixture of youth and experience. The likes of Rooney, Sigurðsson, Schneiderlin, Coleman, Baines, Williams have a collective experience of 1000 Premier League games and have always maintained a top level of football whichever club they have played for.
Add to the mix the youthful exuberance in the likes of Pickford, Barkley, Ramirez, Klaassen, Keane, Calvert-Lewin and Everton have few of the brightest prospects in European football at the club. The likes of Bolasie, Mirallas and Niasse also play for the Everton giving them plenty of cover in their attacking third.
The blue team of Merseyside has gotten off to the worst possible start but the sheer quality of the squad and the manager should repel any relegation threat that might be surrounding the club. While challenging for Europe might seem a tedious task now for Koeman and his men, Everton certainly have the quality and know-how of what to do to keep playing in the Premier League.
Although exactly how thrilled the board or the fans would be with the Everton escaping relegation may not be something for Koeman to look forward to, especially since the target at the beginning of the season was to break into the top six of English football.