Selling Romelu Lukaku in the summer gave Everton the chance to invest in a side that could challenge for trophies and European spots on a regular basis – and there were some who thought that the considerable amounts of money spent by Ronald Koeman would turn that dream into reality.
But just two months into the season the Dutchman has been sacked with Everton flirting with the relegation positions. The owners have made it clear that they are willing to spend to make the club successful but what kind of activity can we expect during the January transfer window?
New Man in Charge
Without knowing who will ultimately be replacing Koeman as manager at the club it is difficult to know how the next few months will go at Goodison. Current Watford boss Marco Silva is the tipsters favourite to land the job but Sean Dyche, Tony Puils and even Louis van Gaal have been mentioned as alternatives – assuming that the board don’t keep with caretaker manager David Unsworth.
Whoever comes in is likely to turn to players he knows so that could mean anyone from Watford (or Hull), Burnley or West Brom lining up in Everton blue come January. That might not sound that enticing for a lot of fans but something needs to change – and quickly.
Even if the signings made over the summer were not the stellar transfers that some made them out to be, Everton still paid out over £125million and a relegation battle should not be the expected outcome. The obvious point here is that a number of high profile players just haven’t performed so it is up to the new manager to decide whether they should be let go or to persevere with the squad as it is.
On the Way Out?
Davy Klaassen looked a great signing from Ajax in the summer after their hugely impressive displays in Europe last season but it just hasn’t happened for the midfielder at Everton and if the rumours of a loan move to Fenerbahce are true then it could be a good move for everyone involved. Another player who the fans were looking forward to seeing at Goodison was Sandro Ramirez who joined from Malaga. But the striker is still yet to score for the club and with Valencia looking to take him back to Spain it could give other attackers a bit more of a chance.
No Need to Buy?
There is still a lot of uncertainty around Everton and until the new manager is appointed that is unlikely to change. But whoever the new man is they could do worse than utilising the players that are already at the club. There is a lot of potential that has either been overlooked or underplayed and giving some of these players more game time could give the side the boost it so badly needs. Tom Davies should be given a more commanding role in the middle of the park – and we are only now seeing what Oumar Niasse can do now that Koeman has gone.
With money available it is likely that the new manager will be able to bolster the squad and although some of the younger players such as Ademola Lookman might get more of a chance there have also been some high profile players linked with the club. Turkish international Oguzhan Ozyakup has seen less playing time at Besiktas so far this season and could add some extra bite in the midfield. It could be argued that Lukaku was never truly replaced but signing a striker like Leicester City’s Islam Slimani would only be a good move if he was able to reclaim the form he showed at Sporting Lisbon and for his country a couple of years ago.
Whoever takes the field over the next few months one thing for sure is that they have a huge job on their hands if a relegation battle is to be avoided. The passion and commitment just hasn’t been there so far this term and regaining that will be the first job for whoever takes over.