Everything seems to be falling apart in 2017 and the thickness of the black cloud around Goodison Park makes it easy to miss that there are actually some very strong foundations in place that could mean an historic season for Everton in 2018-19.
With what is left of this season, the Board must do the following: appoint a permanent first-team manager; sign a centre-forward; and ship out some of the Koeman signings that haven't settled. Perhaps there is a chance they will revisit the Ross Barkley situation as well.
That's four things, in six months (to the end of May).
If we really examine the squad that will be here at the start of next season, it includes several young players that will be a crucial few months more experienced and able to help out (Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Holgate, Kenny, Baningime, Lookman) as well as several returning loanees who will be ready to step up (Dowell, Pennington, Walsh) and a fair number of players returning from long-term injury at the end of this season (Coleman, Funes Mori and Bolasie) will surely be up to speed by the beginning of next. That's 11 players that will either be back, better or both by next August.
Then there is the World Cup. Several of our key players represent countries that didn't make it, meaning a summer of rest for the likes of McCarthy and Klaassen. The Everton representatives are likely to be in Russia include Mirallas (who may not be an Everton player by next season), Keane (who may not be first choice for England anyway), Pickford, Funes Mori, Vlasic and Sigurdsson. Perhaps only one of those can honestly expect to be there beyond the quarter-finals. Several clubs we will be competing with next season will have far more competing players than that with far more tired legs to account for and far more games (European football) too. So a big squad of (relatively) fresh players and less football for them to be tired out in only bodes well for domestic performances next season.
We will, by then, know more about the situation with the new stadium. Perhaps we will even have broken ground on the site. This might seem fanciful to some in light of memories past but there is a lot less resistance to Bramley-Moore than there was with Walton Hall Park or Destination Kirkby and a lot more help from the council, as well as a lot more money from both improved TV revenue and our rich benefactor. Planning permission should surely be a formality once a design is finalised, which must be imminent. Either way, we will be further ahead with this and have more clarity – something exciting to genuinely look forward to.
And so to the manager. Whoever he ends up being, he will surely be appointed by the turn of 2018. This means by the time of the start of next season, we will have had two transfer windows to play around in – selling some of the fringe players that aren't going to cut it and moving on some of the trouble-makers that have been too much of a distraction whilst also adding to the talent we have got with a couple of key additions (centre-forward, centre-back and cover at left-back). People will mention width but remember we have Vlasic, Bolasie, Lennon and Lookman already at the club. The new man at the helm will also have had 8 months to embed his tactical vision and ethos into the players. By the start of 2018-19, they will be ready to go and firing on all cylinders.
So a new manager, a couple of key signings and some equally important departures and we will have all the ingredients we need for an assault on the top four next season. Maybe even the elusive League Cup for the first time in our history.
It might all seem like we are in the midst of a stark winter, but one or two rose-buds are already showing, and spring is around the corner.
Reader Comments (8)
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1 Posted 16/11/2017 at 00:51:25
2 Posted 16/11/2017 at 15:22:26
I was disappointed that Koeman did not work out but, after seeing his treatment of Ross and Niasse, I believe we acted with reasonably good (prompt?) timing, and the formal appointment of Koeman's replacement will take its course.
Unsy will be doing his best. If he succeeds, then hats off to him, as he seems a really top bloke. If his role becomes that of a short-term cover position, then I am sure he will have the respect of all involved with the Club. If it turns into a permanent post for him, then great.
I still believe in the Moshiri role and influence. I don't care if he is using Jim White as a communications tool (the BBC is not an option for anything positive about Everton); that is just a side-show. Moshiri is showing willingness and stamina to follow through.
Reasonable success, such as staying in the Premier League, with possibly a good cup run as a bonus would be fine. By next season, the glaring deficiencies, left-sided defender (perhaps Funes Mori will rise to the occasion), a striker and an end to the juggling act between Sigurdsson and Rooney and we could be a surprise package next season.
Sometimes in life you have to go backwards in order to go forward. Failures are often unaware of the need to do that when the need arises... We learned some hard lessons with Koeman; I hope we don't repeat them.
Thanks for the refreshing post and, as always, COYBlues.
3 Posted 16/11/2017 at 15:49:24
Personally, I am very concerned about the present with a board that seems to have Slow and Stop as their main modus operandi given we took forever to get Sigurdsson, did not get a couple of centre-forwards or any left-back cover, and appear to be going about the manager recruitment in the same way.
Uncertainty at board level is bound to rub off on the players no matter how good they are.
The fanbase are equally split: some criticising Moshiri, some thinking he is the next messiah; some criticising Kenwright, some supporting him.
Until the whole club unites, we will never achieve our potential and it may take a catastrophic event to trigger that.
4 Posted 16/11/2017 at 19:23:54
Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Left back
Lookman, Davies, Baningime, VlasicDowell or Barkley
Won't be a bad team in a couple of years..
Then again, if we mixed these with Stones, Lukaku and Deulofeu we'd be even better.
The futures bright as long as we can keep hold of everyone. The above 3 show that's often easier said than done.
5 Posted 17/11/2017 at 17:42:57
However, this post simply writes off this season. Avoiding relegation is unfortunately not a given. Getting the right manager in place is already proving difficult, and how many unsettled Koeman signings will want to be offloaded?
I fear there are too many questions still to be answered. I think Rhino deserves a run to the end of the season and then re-group...
6 Posted 20/11/2017 at 10:53:05
7 Posted 20/11/2017 at 11:03:33
Fast forward 12 years and the sides in that top 6 all have superior players in every department including substitutes.
We are closer and realistic to an Aston Villa than ever getting into the top four. It's ludicrous to even consider top four.
8 Posted 22/11/2017 at 12:35:42
Sigurdsson for £45m. The simple test was, who were we fighting with for his signature? Absolutely no other club, especially top clubs who could afford him were even remotely linked with this player.
There is still value to be had in the transfer market, I will not be convinced that this is no longer the case.
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