With just two weeks to go before Everton head to Molineux for their opening game of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign it’s fair to say that many Evertonians are somewhat bemused at the apparent lack of transfer business despite the horror show of last season. Whilst it’s blatantly clear from our slightly disappointing preseason results that there are plenty of players who simply aren’t up to the task, the process of clearing the unwanted players and bringing in players who Marco Silva and Marcel Brands want is something that is going to take time.
Last week’s 3-0 humbling to Blackburn Rovers was greeted with plenty of anger and worry, however the usual overreaction to preseason games was in fact just that, an overreaction. The starting XI for the Blackburn game featured one guaranteed starter for our Premier League bow away at Wolves in Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was playing his first minutes since returning from the World Cup. Players such as Stekelenburg, Robinson, Williams, Pennington and Kenny can be confident that they won’t be involved from the start against Wolves at the very least and the others who made up the starting team are by no means guaranteed starters. Losing so comprehensively to a newly promoted Championship team is obviously disappointing but in reality, it’s not that important and when things are taken into account, it’s understandable. Silva is inheriting a very mixed squad of many talented and worthy players combined with players who either don’t fit or are not good enough.
The fact that many of the squad have experienced the massively different footballing approaches of Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and the not to be mentioned Sam Allardyce adds another dimension of hassle for Silva and co. to deal with. In an ideal world, everyone would love to play a handful of preseason games, pick who you want to keep, sell who doesn’t fit the mould and replace them with players that the new set up wants but in the footballing climate we find ourselves in, this is a process that isn’t going to take one summer. The addition of Richarlison is obviously a positive and with word that deals for the Barcelona defensive duo of Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina are progressing, more signings will undoubtedly be made before the window slams shut in under two weeks’ time.
This is where us fans need to take a large dose of realism and understand that moving forward, we simply cannot afford for the Marco Silva era to fail. After the erratic and inconsistent past five seasons since the departure of David Moyes, Everton and us fans have grown accustomed to the managerial merry-go-round that we had avoided for over a decade. Martinez was given time to find solutions to his issues and failed to do so. Koeman was backed heavily in the transfer market and his poor recruitment ultimately cost him his job. Whilst the now infamous 2017 summer transfer window gave fans hope of genuinely being able to challenge the top 6, it’s important to understand that Everton simply will not compete with the top 6 this season barring a freakishly bad season from one of the said top 6. Instead Silva needs time and patience in building a squad that can finally get Everton back on an upwards trajectory. Much like our preseason, our league campaign may well be dotted with strange and disappointing results but unlike the times when things went awry under Martinez and particularly Koeman, we need to stick by Silva and understand that this isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix.