Things are shaping up nicely at Goodison Park ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, with Everton significantly strengthening their squad ahead of what they hope will be the year the club finally breaks back into the top six and ends their wait for silverware.
Last season, Ronald Koeman guided the Toffees to seventh in the league table, but Everton still finished the campaign eight points behind Manchester United in the seventh – a gap that we will hope to cut in the coming year.
Everton have spent big to ensure they have the best chance of breaking into the division’s elite, with the signings of young England duo Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane equalling a combined total of £60m. Wayne Rooney’s return from Manchester United could also prove to be a shrewd piece of business over the season and he is likely to compete with fellow new arrival, Davy Klaassen, for an attacking midfield berth and the key role in Koeman’s side’s quest for the top six.
Rooney’s return to Everton will make for an interesting tale, with there not much confidence with the bookmakers that the England international will be able to rediscover his best form on his return to Goodison Park. An Oddschecker preview for Everton’s 2017/18 campaign sees odds of 100/1 offered for the 31-year-old to be the Premier League’s Player of the Year next season and way out at 80/1 to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer, whilst the same piece also reveals that Koeman’s side are priced at 3/1 to better the seventh-placed finish they achieved last season.
Those 3/1 odds could soon fall, with Everton strongly linked with a move for Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has excelled in the Premier League over the last couple of years. The addition of Sigurdsson, combined with the arrivals of Rooney and Klaassen, is likely to cast further doubt over Ross Barkley’s future with his boyhood club.
After impressing during his early days at Goodison Park, Barkley’s progress has stalled and many fans of both Everton and the Premier League are waiting for the midfielder to come of age and fulfil the potential that made him England’s hottest prospect less than three years ago.
Last season was a difficult campaign for Barkley, with the midfielder scoring just five goals and adding eight assists from his 34 Premier League appearances, which when compared to Sigurdsson’s stats, do not make good reading. The Icelandic international was key for Swansea in their battle with relegation, featuring in every Premier League fixture, with 37 of those coming in the starting XI.
Sigurdsson also scored nine goals and added a further 13 assists for the struggling Swans, standing head and shoulders over the likes of Barkley.
Most at Goodison would be gutted to see Barkley leave because first and foremost, he is an excellent player, who on his day is one of the best in the Premier League. However, more gut wrenching for Everton’s supporters will be seeing one of their own leave and almost certainly line up against them.
With a World Cup on the horizon, Barkley needs to be playing regular football next season, something that is not guaranteed at Goodison Park. The additions for Rooney and Klaassen have already cast doubt over the 23-year-old’s future, and should Everton land Sigurdsson, the England international would almost certainly be out of the picture.
It remains to be seen if Koeman has built an Everton squad capable of breaking into the division’s elite. However, the Dutchman’s activity in the transfer window suggests that Barkley is unlikely to be part of the Toffees’ plans for the 20