As Ronald Koeman prepares for his first season as the new Everton manager, the Dutchman has a number of issues to address before the new campaign gets under way.
Having shown Roberto Martinez the door at the end of a disappointing season, the Toffees have shown their intentions for next year by shelling out a reported £5 million to bring Koeman to Goodison Park from Southampton. With their new manager in position, Everton now need to address those issues on the pitch that saw the club finish 11th in the Premier League last season.
For those betting fans who enjoy casino games and sports betting on their mobile phones, a busy summer in the transfer market could see punters back Koeman’s men at 12/1 to reach the top four next season with 32Red.com and 888sport at the time of writing.
Following Farhad Moshiri’s investment in the club, Everton now possess more spending power than they have in recent years, and the Merseysiders could be about to prove they are ready to make a run at the upper echelons of the Premier League table with an active summer of player recruitment.
While hanging onto the likes of Ross Barkley, John Stones and Romelu Lukaku will be a crucial part of Koeman’s plans this summer, making his mark on and improving this squad will have a massive say on whether or not Everton will be capable of challenging the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs and potentially defending champions Leicester City at the top of the table. So, let’s take a look at some of the players and positions Koeman is expected to address over the next couple of months.
With Tim Howard now back in the MLS, it’s clear that Koeman wants someone to come in and challenge Joel Robles for the number-one jersey. A host of players have already been linked. One name that appears to be at the top of the new Everton manager’s wish-list is Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel. While the Dane has just played a key role in the Foxes winning the league, the keeper could be allowed to leave the King Power Stadium after the club somewhat surprisingly signed Ron-Robert Zieler from Hannover shortly after lifting the Premier League trophy.
“Kasper Schmeichel” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald
Much of Everton’s defensive plans this summer could depend on whether or not they can keep John Stones at the club, with the England defender still being chased by the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. In terms of potential targets, two of the last season’s best defenders in the Championship – Burnley’s Michael Keane and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk – are both reported to be drawing attention from Everton.
Koeman may also raid his former employers in order to sign centre-back Virgil van Dijk – who really caught the eye in his first season in the Premier League following his move from Celtic and could be eager to link back up with his fellow Dutchman.
Besiktas midfielder Veli Kavlak is one player who could be arriving at Goodison Park this summer, with the club reportedly very interested in signing a player who has been one of the most consistent performers in the Turkish Super Lig over the past couple of seasons. The Austrian international would slip into the centre of the Toffees’ midfield, strengthening an area that was exposed on a number of occasions last season. There is also the intriguing prospect of Newcastle’s goalscoring midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, making the switch to Everton, with the recently-relegated club expected to try and cash in on one of their best players following their drop into the Championship.
As with his defensive targets, much of Koeman’s business this summer could depend on the future of one player – Romelu Lukaku. For the time being, adding to his options will be important to the new Everton boss, with Saido Berahino expected to be one of those strikers the club look to sign this summer. The West Brom forward has made it clear he isn’t happy at the Hawthorns and it’s looking increasingly likely that the 22-year-old will try and push through a move before the new season.
Perhaps Koeman’s number-one striking target this summer will be Southampton’s Graziano Pelle. The Italian forward is coming off the back of another excellent season in the Premier League, further enhancing his reputation by scoring for his country in their opening Euro 2016 win over Belgium.
Leicester showed last season that anything is possible in this league and while Everton might not yet look capable of challenging for the title – boasting early odds of 100/1 with 32Red and 10Bet to go all the way – a strong summer in the transfer market could see those odds drastically shorten by the time the new campaign comes around.