In Ronald Koeman we trust. The Dutchman has earned that trust over the first fifteen months of his tenure, but I can’t help thinking that what he says and does over the next seven days will define his time as Everton manager.
Firstly, the transfer window closed without the addition of the left sided defensive cover and the additional striker, two positions Koeman stated he wanted to fill. The club has supported Koeman in a radical overhaul of the first team squad but missed out on these two additions. Ronald Koeman’s first press conference this week will set the tone for the players as well as supporters from now until the January window. There may be an Oliver Giroud type striker missing from our first team squad but what manager has everything he wants? When a club recruits (headhunts) an elite coach like we did with Koeman the expectation is that the coach is adaptable and resourceful enough to find solutions to problems as they arise. Joe Royle found a way to win the FA cup in ’95 with a ‘dogs of war’ midfield. Howard Kendall won the Cup Winners Cup with tactics that you won’t find in any coaching manual ‘Get the ball into the box to Sharpy and Andy and the Glwadys Street will suck it in’. Great managers find a way. It is now time for Ronald Koeman to show us what he has got.
The window also shut with Ross Barkley still an Everton player. Let’s be clear, Ross Barkley’s failed move to Chelsea did not cost Everton £35million. It did however limit the clubs ability to maximise profit from his sale. On the face of it both parties are trying to maximise their own personal gain. Welcome to capitalism football style. The likely outcome is that the club takes a smaller profit in January and Ross goes to the club of his wishes (Spurs?) with a bigger signing on fee. What upsets many blues is that Ross is homegrown so sentimentality demands higher levels of loyalty and respect for the club. Ross Barkley has struggled to live up to our expectations for some time now. It will be healthier for all parties that Ross moves on in January. For now he remains an Everton player, part of Ronald Koeman’ss first team squad. Over to you Ronald.
Wayne Rooney – where does Koeman start? Undoubtedly the most serious issue arising from Rooney’s recent behaviour is his drink driving. The significance of this for Everton Football Club cannot be underplayed. When the club added Jose Baxter, returning to football after a drugs ban, to the U-23 squad last year many questioned the clubs decision. The suspicion was that the club was soft on substance abuse, that ethical standards were slipping under Mr. Moshiri. If we see Wayne Rooney in a blue jersey anytime soon these suspicions will be confirmed. On this one, the message from leadership at Everton, supported by Ronald Koeman, needs to be loud and clear.
And finally on a lighter note, how will Ronald Koeman respond to the latest comments by Kevin Mirallas? Mirallas is reported in the Belgium media as being ‘Sad’ at not securing a move back to Olympiacos. Not Philippe Coutinho levels of sadness but sad all the same. Dropped from the match day squad against Chelsea due to an attitude problem (according to Koeman) Mirallas continues to be that talented frustrating player who lacks consistency. Brian Clough, a managerial genius, once decked Roy Keane for under hitting a back pass against Crystal Palace. Today that sort of swift and decisive disciplinary action would be disrespectful, unethical and probably illegal. But when it comes to our Kevin, I think I’d be ok with that one.