Last season: 7th
Of all the stories ahead of the new Premier League season, Everton’s could be the most intriguing.
The Toffees have splashed the cash this summer, bringing in a host of exciting young players including Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Michael Keane. Wayne Rooney has also returned to his boyhood club as Ronald Koeman attempts to build a squad that is capable of gate-crashing the Premier League’s top six.
However, despite this investment, and in certain ways facilitating it, the summer has been clouded by the departure of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian international made no secret of his desire to leave for Champions League football and his £90million transfer to Manchester United could be a game-changer for both clubs.
While United will hope their new signing will put them back in contention for the Premier League title, Everton will hope they can cope without the forward’s goals. The 24-year-old scored 32 goals in 44 appearances for club and country last season and, for all the improvements they have made in other areas this summer, the Toffees will need to replace his goals if they are to have any chance of cracking the top six.
If they can then the future is looking very bright indeed.
Glass half full: After a period of austerity the good times seem to be back at Everton as Ronald Koeman has gone about spending Farhad Moshiri’s millions and the Romelu Lukaku windfall. Wayne Rooney looks to be revitalised following his return to the club while Jordan Pickford could be one of the most talented young goalkeepers in Europe. Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane should both be able to make an instant impact.
Glass half empty: The Toffees look short in attack following Romelu Lukaku’s departure and new-signing Sandro Ramirez will need to hit the ground running if Everton are going to be able to overcome his loss. Having so many new players arriving at the same time means it could take them a while to gel and the European commitments might distract the club from their domestic form. Wayne Rooney is an expensive luxury with his best days behind him.
New kids on the block: Wayne Rooney – Manchester United, Jordan Pickford – Sunderland, Davy Klaassen – Ajax, Henry Onyekuru – Eupen, Sandro Ramirez – Malaga, Michael Keane – Burnley, Josh Bowler – QPR, Cuco Martina – Southampton, Nathangelo Markelo – FC Volendam, Boris Mathis – Metz, Anton Donkor – Wolfsburg.
Left the building: Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United, Tom Cleverley – Watford, Henry Onyekuru – Anderlecht (loan), Brendan Galloway – Sunderland (loan), Arouna Kone – Sivasspor, Conor McAleny – Fleetwood, Jack Bainbridge – released, Delial Brewster – Chesterfield, Michael Donohue – Fleetwood, Tyrone Duffus – released, Russell Griffiths – Motherwell, Connor Hunt – released, Josef Yarney – Newcastle, James Yates – released, Courtney Duffus – Oldham, Tyias Browning – Sunderland (loan), Ben Pierce – West Brom, Aiden McGeady – Sunderland, Gerard Deulofeu –Barcelona.
The gaffer: Ronald Koeman – The Dutchman surprised many when he quit Southampton for Everton at the end of the 2015/16 season but his decision could be vindicated in the coming years after overseeing a summer of spending. The 54-year-old would have been satisfied with a seventh place finish in his first season at Goodison Park but faces a challenge in the long-term as Everton attempt to break into the top six.
Star man: Davy Klaassen – Everton splashed out a reported £23.6million to bring the Dutchman to the Premier League and big things are expected from the 24-year-old this term. With Romelu Lukaku gone and Ross Barkley seemingly on his way, the Toffees will need Klaasen to hit the ground running.
One to watch: Wayne Rooney – After 11 seasons at Manchester United the striker returns to the club where it all began. At just 31-years-old Rooney should have a few decent years left in him but the question is how much does he have in the tank? How Koeman uses him will be fascinating.
Premier League Title Odds: 80/1
Top Four Odds: 8/1
Relegation Odds: 100/1
Top Goalscorer Odds: Wayne Rooney 13/8
Star Bet: Everton have splashed the cash this summer with Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez, Michael Keane and Wayne Rooney among the names arriving at Goodison Park. However, the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United will hit hardest. His goal tally since his arrival in 2013 reads 15, 10, 18, 25 and I’m not sure Everton have a replacement for those figures. This could be a year of transition at Everton and, while nobody expects to see them fall off a cliff, they may not repeat last year’s seventh place finish. To finish in the bottom half – 9/2.
First five games: Stoke City (H), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (A), Tottenham Hotspur (H), Manchester United (A)