Of course I’m being fairly dramatic as we have many fine players (plus Kone) but it seems that the international break has once again put the spotlight on Everton’s ‘young guns’ heading off in the Summer.
The lead protagonist is of course Romelu Lukaku, whose agent really seems to be settling into his job, offering his prize asset up to pretty much every huge European club there is so as to ensure that awful little Everton release poor old Rom to a Champions League club. The irony being that some of the clubs mentioned such as Man United or Chelsea might not even make it into the competition next year. Could we lose him to Leicester?
I think most even-headed Everton fans would be unsurprised at this development. His agent was making noises last Summer about this happening eventually if we didn’t make the CL, and let’s face it – we’re miles away from that happening. Even with the investment potentially on its way these things don’t happen overnight, and don’t get me started on the abilities of the manager to improve us with the squad we have!
What would worry me of course is for us to take the £40m-£50m and spend it wisely. Relying on our new man Niasse would scare the life out of me going into a new season with Kone in support. Guess we’ll have to trust the manager to sort that out, but attracting players to a team not in Europe (unless we win the FA Cup obviously) will be tricky without paying ridiculous wages. Especially after we’ve shelled out for Rooney’s salary.
Elsewhere the ‘best centre back in Europe’ John Stones has done himself little favours by falling on his backside trying to do a Cruyff turn at Wembley. Don’t worry though – the media have decided that he is still learning – when will he ever learn not to do stuff like that by the way – and are happy for him to still go to Barcelona or Man City for £50m. Phew!
To be honest it will do him some good to stay for another couple of years but the pressure for English players to play at the CL clubs might just be too much of a pull for him. And we don’t want to keep unhappy players for the hell of it in my book.
Unless you’re then Ross Barkley. If we’ve sold one of the two above he’s going nowhere. He isn’t perfect but he’s a hero to the fans and can be a part of some good things in the coming 3-5 years. Think he knows that too which is why you don’t hear many stories in the press of him wanting to leave.
What else? Oh yeah, Tim Howard is off! Yay! And if Man City are signing a new goalie we might as well try and sign Joe Hart on daft wages. Worked for me on Championship Manager, even if I did pay everyone £100k a week and get us relegated.
So this weekend we have the delight of heading to Old Trafford – one of those grounds which gave us so much pleasure when Martinez joined us. Finally we thought we’d cracked the ‘fear’ that we had under Moyes of visiting such stadiums (thinking back to Moyes’ admittance of just wanting to “get out of there alive”).
Unfortunately since that great season we seem to have slipped back into ‘fear mode’ again. We seem to play quite well at times but are one of those teams that constantly get ‘unlucky’ and somehow end up inviting pressure and being surprised when decisions go against us. It will remain to be seen which version of United turn up though, as they have seriously sucked in many of their games at home this season.
I predict us running around, almost taking the lead and then giving away a daft penalty before equalising just before half time. Lukaku will show a t-shirt under his vest with the word ‘slave’ emblazoned across it. In the second half we’ll concede again to an offside hand-ball decision that doesn’t fully cross the line before we equalise for the second time as Barkley’s 14th shot of the day deflects away from the corner flag and dribbles into the back of the net.