The EAW Season Preview

Here we are again, another Premier League season is upon us. Now I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen much in the way of articles and podcasts discussing the impending season. So if there’s one thing that this world desperately needs right now, it’s someone to fill the gaping void and provide us with a season preview. So all of us at ‘Everton Aren’t We’ are here to provide you with just that. Enjoy.

 

@cdsmith789

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

I’ve been really impressed and then disappointed with Everton’s transfer business this summer. The four early signings – all down the spine of the team – were just what we needed. A revamp of every department. This has not been backed up however. We’re still at least three players short, we lack width and pace, and the drawn-out negotiation to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson for an excessive fee has undermined the decisive action Everton took early in the summer.

Wayne Rooney’s return provoked a mixed response. After being dead against it from day one, Rooney’s clear desire to work hard for Everton, and his decent start in pre-season, suggested it might be unwise to write him off now. Then again, he was shocking against Ruzomberok, so maybe not. I think Everton should have had their first-choice striker in place before Rooney arrived – take the pressure off him, present the full, varied response to Lukaku’s departure.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

Well, Giroud. If however we are unable to pry him away from Arsenal, I’d like to see us make an audacious bid for renowned Giroud impersonator and Mexico-conqueror Andre-Pierre Gignac. Either way, we have to get a target man in particularly if we’re signing Sigurdsson. Beyond that, Everton’s left side is basically just Leighton Baines at the moment. He needs cover to help keep him fresh and a proper wide midfielder to combine with. If Koeman chooses to not do that, we could be seeing square pegs in round holes from time to time.

Other than a target man, it’d be best if any further attacking replacements had pace. Lukaku and Barkley’s physical presence cannot be replaced with accurate crossing and deadly finishing alone. Everton badly need pace, mainly in the wide areas. To that end, even a probably-slowed-down Yannick Bolasie can’t return soon enough. This does however create a big opportunity for Ademola Lookman who has backed up a superb U20 World Cup with a promising pre-season.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

I wouldn’t mind if Ashley Williams was sold, let alone dropped for the lineup. His average defensive performances do not compensate for his below average contributions in possession, and his lack of pace will be exposed. There’s also too much of an overlap with Phil Jagielka – it’d be best to have more variety at centre-back, a bit of speed at least. James McCarthy is another player I’ve become indifferent to which is a shame because he was my favourite player in his first season at Goodison. Occasionally, he plays his role absolutely perfectly – you can see why Koeman seems reluctant to cast him aside – but you simply cannot rely on him to avoid injury. With Muhamed Besic alongside him on the bench and in the treatment room, that’s an odd niche Everton have carved.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

It’s hard to measure success for Everton. We can push on in every single way but finish in the same position in the league and again fail to win a trophy. I do reckon we can threaten at least one of the top six sides. Recent years have involved a huge amount of change – Spurs improving, United declining, Arsenal finally finishing fifth – and with Liverpool and Chelsea now having to contend with Champions League football, there are plenty of clubs for Everton to attack. It might take a while for the side to gel however particularly with that arsehole of a fixture list, but if we can recreate last year’s consistency at Goodison, Pickford will give us much more of a fighting chance away from home, so we can improve.

I’d also consider it a success for Everton to just pass the bloody ball properly. For all Martinez and Koeman’s attacking ambitions, we passed the ball better under Moyes. If Koeman wants to focus on crossing, fair enough, but teach them to cross properly. Hopefully Davy Klaassen will address this problem directly. We need someone to move Schneiderlin and Gueye’s safe passing from midfield to attack, and he looks the man for the job.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

I recently tipped Everton to finish in the top six but that was on the back of the early signings, in expectation of several more, and it has subsequently turned out to be wildly optimistic. Let’s be honest, Everton will finish 7th. If you’ve worked your way through many season previews this summer, you’ll have noticed that Everton and 7th essentially mean the same thing these days. We are hugely inferior to the top six but in no realistic danger of being overtaken by any of the other 13 sides. I doubt that will change. So much so, the 21 games it’d take us to win the Europa League probably represent our best chance of reaching the Champions League. Hopefully we give that a good go to put ourselves in a position to challenge.

Any other business?

I suppose I can’t get through a round-up of Everton’s summer the elephant in the room: Arouna Kone has gone and we may never be able to replace him. But really, what a depressing revelation it was when Koeman revealed Ross Barkley wanted a “new challenge”. I suppose it isn’t the first instance of Barkley lifting his head, looking for options and missing the blindingly obvious one right in front of him. He should have made himself the start of this new Everton side, but unfortunately that seems very unlikely to happen now.

That said, the lack of interest in him is interesting. As Koeman’s last press conference confirmed, there is a genuine chance that Barkley could remain at Everton by default, left to see out his contract reluctantly on the fringes in front of justifiably pissed off supporters. I wouldn’t mind this. Strip everything away and Barkley is a talented creative midfielder and Everton are short on this type of player. Whether or not it would open the door for future reconcilement is beside the point; Everton could do with keeping Barkley for the next few months at least.

 

 

@EvertonMusings

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

I’m torn.

Pickford and Keane will prove to be really good signings, both are significant improvements in two crucial positions.

Rooney: I really hope he proves me (and lots of others) wrong. I hope For Walsh and Koeman’s sake he has as much in the tank as they believe, because they appear to be tied at the hip over this one.

Sandro: I know nothing about him, but he’s intriguing. The bit I saw of him at Goodison against Ružomberok was exciting. His movement looked good, and he looked relatively quick over half a yard.

Klaassen: again, I know nothing of, but I look forward to seeing him being given time to bed in before anyone fires any more hot takes off.

The trouble for me is, as good as these boys are, and they may well improve us in several positions, their impact won’t be as positive as Lukaku’s loss is negative. As much of a pain in the arse as he was, as eye-wateringly bad as his performances could be, he slotted goals. We’ll miss his finishing. Last season we scored more than you would typically expect, and that was because of him. His loss will be keenly felt.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

I don’t know who, but I know if we want to be honest with ourselves, the side that starts opening day needs strengthening at left back, centre half, right back, both wings, and whoever plays off the striker. And that’s assuming Sandro turns out to be the bee’s knees, which is anyone’s guess, at the moment. This is year two of the ‘project’ now, and there’s still major surgery to be done. This is definitely an evolution, not a revolution.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

In no particular order: Mirallas, Lennon, McCarthy, Bešić, Stekelenburg, Currie & Niasse.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

A cup. I don’t think we’ve a chance of Champions League. Improved points haul and a cup would be success. We were 15 points off Champions League last season, if we could balance a run in the Europa League and manage to pick another 8ish points and threaten the 70 point mark, I’d be very impressed.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

Seventh. No, YOU piss off. I just think the gap between us and those above is too difficult to bridge at the moment. And selling your best striker in a generation to the side who finished one place above you in the league doesn’t help. Koeman’s got his work cut out.

 

 

@nsno_83

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

“Scuse me lad… Nice one…Can I just squeeze past there?…Ta… Yeah I do know its five past three actually, smart arse… Ta mate”

“Alright lads? Great to be back. Good Summer?”

“Yeah, it was alright y’know”

And that right there is Everton’s summer so far, it’s been ‘alright y’know’. We’ve bought 3/4 players that will improve the spine of the team, all at a good age, with sensible haircuts and all done and dusted before even twitter could start moaning. Then there’s Wayne Rooney, now anyone that follows me on Twitter or has been with me after I’ve drunk all of the lager will know my thoughts on Wayne Rooney but I’m willing to give him a chance now he’s here. I’m sure he’s made up like. The fact we still haven’t replaced a 25 goal striker is a bit of a worry though, as is the lack of defensive cover. Which leads me on to….

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

If we could somehow pull off Olivier Giroud (stop laughing at the back, you’d all jump at the chance) and finally sort Gylfi Sigurdsson I’d be more than made up. Throw a Steve-Walsh-never-heard-of-him-but-looks-the-business-on-youtube-type defender and the window goes from an ’alright, y’know’ to a ‘what’s the allocation for the Europa League Final?’

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

Yeah, Kevin Mirallas every time he steps up to take a set piece. In all seriousness, there’s not many, I reckon we’ll need as many bodies in the squad as we possibly can. It’s going to be a long, hard slog this season. Actually, is Niasse still here? If so, him.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

Anything that results in a Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines doing one of those awkward joint lifts of a big silver pot come May time will be a success for me, a trophy is what this club needs more than anything, none of this ‘decent cup run’ shite this year Blues. That along with another 6th/7th place finish in the league and I’ll be happy. Yeah, yeah, I know, Nil satis nisi optimum and  all that.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

I’m going for the heady heights of 7th again. We’re not quite at the top 6 level yet (although admittedly we’re getting closer every season) but I’d like to think we’re miles better than the likes of West Ham, Southampton, Newcastle etc. Newcastle getting a mention in ‘the best of the rest’ conversation there. Stick that on your honours boards, lads.

Any other business?

What time we all getting on the ale on Saturday then? Up The Toffees.

 

 

@GwladysOptimist (currently kicking the arse out of a holiday, so we’ll forgive him these simple answers)

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

Rolls Royce of a transfer window, really good, 7.5/10.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

I still think we need a creative player, one that doesn’t just conform to keeping the ball.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

Not that I’d like Ross to leave, but we’d all welcome and end to the Barkley saga whether he stays or not.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

Any season where Everton win a trophy is a success, been far too long, and we’d all appreciate a day out to a final.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

6th, can see one of those above us faltering as much as I see Everton improving.

Any other business?

Where does Tom Davies fit in will be a big talking point all the way to the end of the season and beyond.

 

 

@thechicoazul

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

It’s been good to do good business early and go out to obtain key signings that presumably the manager wanted before others could sniff around them. The problem being is that replacing a consistent 20 goal a season striker is the key transfer/s that will be most critical and we’ve not finished our business there (according to Koeman’s press conference) so it’s difficult to assess until the end of the transfer window. I’m happy with the age and profile of nearly all the players we have signed as they’re yet to peak and if that peak comes at Everton then we *should* improve because of it.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

A big presence up front, an attacking midfielder and another centre half. Whoever they are is up to people better assessing players than I ever will be. Have got some big hopes for at least a moderately handsome big forward, slamming headers into opposition nets from whipped crosses this season though. A few fist pump celebrations too. I’ve missed such beloved combos.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

No one I particularly want to see leave but it’s probably inevitable looking at our midfield. McCarthy then, the jarg Irish freckle. I’m sad that Barkley will seemingly end up going but what can we do? I’ll never get my head round a young scouse Evertonian lad wanting to play for anyone other than Everton. Me dar said the same over McMahon, I said it over Rooney. Your kids will probably be saying it in the future.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

22 years without a trophy is too long for Everton. That needs remedying. Dislodging any of the teams above us and getting into the top six would be further proof of our progress. That Kevin Brock catalyst moment is unlikely in the modern game. So progress is progress, no matter how small, or impatient we may be. As important as evident progress is the strategy behind it so that said progress is sustainable. Gotta make any success stick to build upon it, which is pleasing to see the emphasis on building the U23s and purchases of the likes of Lookman, who I hope gets a look in as he can snot a ball with either foot from range. Big fan of outside the box blammos here mates.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

Hard to say without knowing who we are yet to sign. I’m a natural optimist but as it stands right now I struggle to see us improving on 7th, with that quality above us. Replicate that stretch of form from January to April last season and we will be looking up rather than down however.

Any other business?

If you done a SWOT analysis (obviously you wouldn’t as you’d be a box room dwelling virgin) on Everton’s season ahead then the most important column would be ‘Threat’. Everton pissing the best of the rest last season and now rightfully aspire beyond that. Blocking it are two things in my opinion. Replacing Lukaku’s goals is one. Gelling all the new signings together will be the other, the longer it takes/doesn’t work then the less chance we have for any momentum and the six above us will pull away, or we will dip out of cups that we need to be winning. There was optimism last season, there’s expectation this season. Here’s hoping. Up the toffs.

 

 

@keef1985_

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

It’s been alright like, nothing sensational. Good to make some signings early and gel the squad together, but we’re still at least three players short of where we need to be. Losing Lukaku, although inevitable, was badly shite and leaves us with a massive hole to fill. Early signs look good for Pickford, Klaassen is a proper footballer and Keane is what we’ve needed at centre half for years. Future captain. Reserving judgement on Sandro for now, but he’s a very aesthetically pleasing human being, isn’t he?

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

Ideally another striker, another centre half and a winger. Had my heart set on Giroud (the handsome swine), but it’s looking unlikely. Would absolutely buzz if we could make Patrik Schick happen. Maybe Demarai Gray and Jason Denayer or the Lemos fella from Las Palmas.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

McCarthy offers nothing now, if we can shift him on for money, I’ll be made up. One of Robles or Stekelenburg will be away and I reckon Lennon will probably move on too. I’m torn on Barkley. He’s a selfish wee bastard but there’s still a small part of me that thinks he should stay. If we manage to Lucas Neill that Martina as well, that would be nice.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

We need to win a trophy. Every fucking year we say it but it’s ridiculous that it’s nearly a quarter of a century without some tin. Ideally, it’ll be the Europa but I’d take anything at this stage. A Europa/FA double and you’ll find me doing naked laps of Bramley Moore dock setting off maritime distress flares.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

We won’t finish any higher or lower than 7th so league wise, it’s a consolidating season. There’s not enough there to break the top 6. Even though Spurs and the Funsters haven’t strengthened massively, they’re both 10 points clear of us still.

Any other business?

For the perfect cheese on toast, you should use thick sliced bread, a good Red Leicester and a suitable hot sauce. Franks buffalo sauce is a good one. If you’re feeling exotic, maybe add some crumbled Stilton.

 

 

@EdMc_Cosh

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

Fantastic. An unparalleled success. We’ve stolen a march on the rest of the league, and conducted good business very professionally. Oh, hang on a second. It’s not early July any more. Recent wranglings don’t discount the success of bringing in Keane, Klaassen, Pickford and Sandro, all of whom are young, talented and exactly what we needed, but neither can those deals excuse the gaps in the squad that remain. Rooney brings experience and class, but also needs to provide at least 10 goals to be considered worth the investment. Cuco Martina needs to bring a nice cushion for the bench, because that’s hopefully where he’ll stay. It is good to see that the likes of Cleverley and McGeady have been moved on swiftly, and while it’s a shame that Lukaku has gone, it seems keeping him around has earned us a 25-goal season and an extra £30m.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

We need a striker desperately, to provide us with options. One who has a proven track record and some aerial prowess, preferably. We need a left back to cover Leighton Baines desperately, and it’s a bonus if they can play centrally. Sigurdsson is a quality addition (if he ever arrives) but I’d like to see a clever playmaker come in, one who can read between the lines – and play there, too.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

Oumar Niasse is wandering round Finch Farm asking various people if he can keep his stuff in their locker for a bit. It’s all a bit unnerving. He has to go. I wouldn’t say I’m desperate for anyone to leave, but James McCarthy and Muhamed Besic seem like spare parts, unless the latter becomes centre back cover. I’m not going to cheer Ross Barkley out of the door. If we could visit the Wizard of Oz and get him a fully functional brain, then I’d hand him whatever contract he wants.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

Silverware. Plain and simple. Everton’s growing stature needs something tangible to silence the doubters and cement our place in and amongs the top sides. The League Cup would do. The FA Cup would be excellent. For me, the Europa League would be our magnum opus.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

I think 7th, again. Making more top-quality additions, one which fill the gaps and fit the system, might change that. But while we continue to be streets ahead of Leicester, Bournemouth and the other Premier League riff-raff, I’m not convinced Everton are top four material just yet. Building on last season and affirming the existence of the ‘Big Seven’ would be a minor success, and hopefully the springboard for even better future showings.

Any other business?

To those already writing Everton off – why bother? Does it make you feel better? Surely the bitter thrill of being proved correct should Everton fail is nothing compared to the surprise and joy of seeing the Blues taste glory. Even if you’re not convinced that all will be rosy, at least give the players a chance.

 

 

@MichaelDeAsha

What have you made of Everton’s transfer business so far?

Neither good nor bad, a better description of my view would probably be progressive. Everton did well to act quickly, securing the majority of signings before Romelu Lukaku left the club. Pickford, Klaassen, Sandro & Keane all significantly improve Everton, however multiple question marks do remain over the return of Wayne Rooney. It was a very competent start to a window, but has not yet been followed up with a couple of key signings that Everton quite obviously still need.

On the other hand, shout-out to the board for making an £8m profit on Tom Cleverley, sorting the Lukaku situation out quickly and getting actual money for Aiden McGeady.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see brought in?

In order to compete on all fronts, Everton need four more players. Those players being a left-sided centre back, a left back, a creative midfielder and a first choice striker. First of all, the lack of depth at left back seems to be going under the radar at present. The only senior left back at the club is Leighton Baines, who can’t be expected to play every game. If Everton could secure a young left back to act as an understudy for 12-18 months, that would be perfect. Options include players like Kieran Tierney and Ben Chilwell.

It seems Koeman and Walsh look intent on securing Gylfi Sigurdsson, so discussing a creative midfielder seems moot, with this being the case, Everton really need a target man. Sigurdsson’s best football has come with forwards like Wilfred Bony and Fernando LLorente in front of him. Olivier Giroud would be a fantastic addition, but if he doesn’t fancy the move then maybe one of Arkaduisz Milik or Leonardo Pavoletti from Napoli? Special mentions for Patrik Schick and Luciano Vietto, if Everton wanted to get some pace up front.

Finally, Welsey Hoedt would be a solid addition, as would Ben Gibson, at centre half. Thomas Vermaelen, with his limbs made of biscuits, is not the answer.

So, all in all, I’m not asking for much.

Is there anyone else you’d like to see leave?

For me, both James McCarthy and Muhamed Besic have reached the end of their time at Everton. Hardly modest earners, they don’t offer enough to the squad to justify their place anymore. I also constantly have to be reminded that Oumar Niasse is still at the club, so it’s probably time to get rid of the worst Everton player that I’ve ever seen live. Please Brighton, save us.

What would make this a successful season for Everton?

Silverware. I’m sure at this point I’m just repeating what has already been said, but that in itself just shows the need for a cup win. Everton need to look to replicate Spurs this season. While they have no major honours in recent years, Spurs have got to a stage where they can balance European football with securing European qualification in the league. But more than anything, Everton need to force the term ‘top seven’ into conversations up and down the country. If they can do that, then they will be well on track within the “brief window” that Farhad Moshiri mentioned last January.

Which league position do you think Everton will finish in and why?

Anything less than 7th would represent a drastic regression. I think we’ll most likely find ourselves still in 7th, but much closer to those above us. Considering just how far away those six sides were above us, I think it may be a step too far, unless one of them has an absolute shocker, for Everton to overhaul any of them this coming season. However I would like, and expect, to see tangible progress made in the league.

Any other business?

Nope, that’s your lot. As ever, this season there’ll be match previews from @thechicoazul up on the site, prepare for the verbal shellacking to be directed at obscure Croatians. At the other end there’ll be match reviews from @keef1985_. After a brief hiatus, @EdMc_Cosh will be back with his fantastic Game of the Day series and there’ll be thoughts, contributions and opinions from the rest of us throughout the season. Let’s just hope Everton don’t ruin it.

Up the Toffees

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