Last summer was supposed to be the time that Everton made some serious moves in the transfer window. They had the big money backing of Farhad Moshiri and a new manager with a history of scouting fine players in Ronald Koeman. In the end, many fans were disappointed with the lack of business, with the main acquisition being Yannick Bolasie who is now out injured for the remainder of the season.
The Toffees’ campaign has stagnated, and breaking into the Premier League’s top six now looks highly unlikely. But Koeman is using the January market to sign some players that should stand Everton in good stead for the seasons ahead and also help hold on to seventh place in the league. Of the teams outside of the top six, the Toffees look the strongest, and betting on them to finish where they are now could be a shrewd move. Bettors can get a free £20 bet from Coral to use on outcomes such as these when they sign up via www.britishbookmakers.co.uk, which is the sign-up of the month at the popular website.
Players who have a lot of potential are arriving at Goodison Park, and having Steve Walsh as the new director of football is sure to benefit the club in the long term. Walsh was the man that scouted Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante for Leicester, two players who were vital to the Foxes’ title-winning campaign. If Walsh can find some gems to bolster an already strong Everton squad, Koeman will have designs on the top four in the years to come.
The biggest acquisition of Koeman’s tenure to date is Morgan Schneiderlin (see video above), a player who has been wasted at Old Trafford since his move there from Southampton. The Frenchman played under Koeman during his time with the Saints and was one of the most important cogs in a team who were frequently punching above their weight. The 27-year-old has only made eight appearances for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho this term, and it is fair to say that his career was stagnating. He will come to Goodison with a point to prove.
While at Southampton Schneiderlin had one of the best pass completion rates in the top flight at 89.3%. Gareth Barry, in contrast, has a pass success rate of 78.2% this season, and the former United player would represent a serious upgrade if he can recapture his past form for Everton. At 35 years old, Barry will soon enter retirement and although he has been a great player for the Merseyside club, he won’t be part of Koeman’s plans for the years ahead.
After bagging the midfield maestro, Koeman turned his attentions to taking some of the slack off Romelu Lukaku upfront. Everton are now finalising a deal with Standard Liege for their Algerian striker Ishak Belfodil. The player who has scored 9 goals this season in Belgium could take a while to find his feet in England, but Koeman could mould him into a fine player soon.
In addition to these players, the signing of 19-year-old Ademola Lookman from Charlton Athletic looks like an astute capture. The striker is brimming with potential and could be a future star. With these purchases, Everton could be serious challengers at the top of the table next season.