Here we are, just over a week on after the Newcastle game. It’s been a positive week in regards to picking up two wins in the league, and we now seem to be pulling away from the dreaded relegation zone. Last week, everyone was so encouraged by the display against the Geordies. It had everything we, the supporters had been asking for. Two upfront, pace, power, directness; going into the trip to Kiev, everyone was so upbeat.

Unfortunately, Martinez and the players took every ounce of that positivity and turned it into the worst performance of the season. I don’t need to elaborate about what we should or shouldn’t have done. Unfortunately the people involved in that harrowing defeat didn’t do their jobs properly; the rest, they say, is consigned to the history books.

From the catastrophe in Kiev, we moved onto a massive six-pointer against QPR. I thought the days of six-pointers had long gone but, due to our huge fall from grace this season, they have returned. We returned to the same personnel, shape and formation that fared so well against Newcastle. Unfortunately we played like a team that hadn’t played together before.

Granted that may have something to do with the arduous trip to Kiev and back. There was no getting away from how poor we looked and how good we made QPR look. QPR fought like their lives depended on it and to say they gave us real scare is an understatement. They seemed to want the game so much more than we did, played to their strengths and put us under a lot of pressure.

Lucky for us they were unable to take any of their chances and only managed one shot on target (typically, their goal). Barring the two goals we scored (which were two very good team goals), we were distinctly average. The highlights being Lennon’s goal, work ethic and the return to the back four of John Stones. As we’ve been saying for weeks, all that really matters in the last 10 games is we win games. If someone had said before the Newcastle game that we would have two league wins in succession, we would’ve snapped their hands off. But Sunday for me highlighted the real issues running through the squad.

The wins against Newcastle and QPR have taken the immediate pressure off us in regards to relegation. I hope now we can start to look up the league instead of down and concentrate on winning as many games between now and the end of the season. Come the end of the season and, barring a huge collapse, we will be in the Premier League again for another year. For me – and I’m sure for others – the end of the season can’t come soon enough. A season that had promised so much has been one full of disappointment. We have certainly been left with more questions than answers to our beloved club. What has gone wrong? Why have we been found out so badly? Why have the players under performed so poorly? It’s hard to pin-point directly what the issues are, it has been a collective effort. From the board, management and players, we have been massively let down.

Kenwright has to hold some responsibility of this season. The lack of ambition this guy holds for the club is frightening. In his 24/7 search for investment, he has returned absolutely nothing. How long will fans sit down and just accept this mediocrity we’ve had to put up with since we lifted the FA Cup in 1995?! If it wasn’t for the huge television deals, we’d be near enough bankrupt. While they continue he can hide behind the TV deals and not invest a penny himself. Until fans start voting with their feet, he will continue to hide in shadows. As a theatre impresario he loves the limelight.

It’s no coincidence that, when we are winning and doing well, you can’t shut the guy up. However, this year, when we’ve been atrocious, he’s been nowhere to been seen. I’ve been really surprised he’s not come out and backed Martinez publically during the season. For years, we have required investment in the playing squad that hasn’t been forth coming. Unfortunately now most of Moyes's players need replacing. For me, he has a huge summer. If there is a lack of investment, then I will be at my final straw with him; either put up or shut up, Bill. We want our Everton back!

Personally, I’m at my last tether with Roberto too; for me, this season he has shown his true colours. We’ve gone from one extreme to another with him. Last season, he walked into the club like a breath of fresh air but this season, it’s like he’s forgotten to switch the Glade plug-in on! From playing players out of position to playing players in the wrong formation to his bizarre and frustrating substitutions. He was ‘Mr positive’ in everything he did last season. However, you’d struggle to take any positives from this season. I used to enjoy watching us play under Roberto and I used to get excited at the prospect of watching us when he first arrived... but not anymore. When he arrived, Dave Whelan said "Roberto will take you places you can only dream about." I’m not sure the brink of relegation was quite what most of us had in mind.

My biggest pet hate towards Roberto is his nauseating post-match interviews. His positivity is to be admired sometimes but I think he forgets that we have to sit through the same 95 minutes of tripe he does. As fans, we know we don’t always play well... but to be told we were fantastic, showing phenomenal character when we’ve been truly woeful at Hull, Stoke et al is exasperating. As a fan, I’d respect him a whole lot more if he was just more honest. Some will say let’s give him until Christmas, Moyes finished 17th in his second season…. That’s true, but Moyes had spent less money and had a squad severely lacking anywhere near as much quality as the one Martinez currently has at his disposal. Sadly for us, Kenwright isn’t brave enough or ambitious enough to make a change. Consequently, for the foreseeable future, we are just going to accept El Bob.

It’s not only the management team who are to blame for this abysmal season but the current squad have to equally bare some of the responsibility. Too many players have under-performed this season. Apart from Stones, McCarthy and Lukaku, not many others can say they put in performances worthy of an Everton player. Yes, we have been incredibly unlucky with injuries to key players throughout the course of the season but some of the so-called ‘top players’ need to be held accountable. I don’t for any reason believe the players have played poorly on purpose but I do believe a large number of the ever dependable ‘Moyes era’ players have ‘run their course’ and the squad is in dire need of a massive overhaul. The lack of investment and commitment from the board has led to a dependence on the core ‘Moyes players’ who are now coming towards the end of their Everton careers.

For me, the following players need replacing this summer:

Howard – 36, has been a good servant for the club but this season he has been found out. Making so many high-profile mistakes. His save percentage is a shocking 55.6%. The need for a new keeper is a priority.

Distin – 37, an excellent servant also but has endured a difficult season and rightly lost his place to John Stones. His contract expires in the summer and I fully expect him to leave.

Alcaraz – 32, a better player in his and Martinez’s head than he actually is in reality. For a centre-half, he doesn’t attack the ball in the air, his spatial awareness is terrible, and he makes whoever he’s partnered with at CB look half the player. Mainly because they have twice the work to do!

Hibbert – 34, our one-club man has been a brilliant servant for the club. But he’s been anonymous this season due to injuries and is taking up wages that could be offered to another player. I’d personally offer him a coaching role at the club as his experience could be invaluable to the younger lads coming through.

Pienaar – 33, a player who came back from Spurs but never really reached the levels he achieved before his move to North London. His second spell and this season have been hampered by knee and thigh injuries. We have missed his link-up play with Baines; we are desperate for a similar wide player.

Osman – 33, like Hibbert, an Evertonian who understands the club and someone who we have also missed this season. He’s not getting any younger though and, although a good squad player, he can’t be relied upon to play 38 league games.

Kone – 31, his Everton career has been ruined by injuries so far. Only recently recovering from a long-term knee injury. What we have seen though is he isn’t going to be threatening Lukaku’s place in the first team. A younger and better alternative is needed.

If rumours are to be believed, Kevin Mirallas will also be leaving. A player who is brilliant on his day but unfortunately has as much fight as a wet paper bag. When things are going well, he’s brilliant... but he plays well every third game; when we are in need of players rolling up their sleeves, he’s nowhere to be seen. If we get anything over £10 million for him, it will represent good business.

The above players need replacing as a matter of urgency. Nonetheless, where are these players going to come from? I have conducted my own scouting of potential players who could come in and improve the current squad.

If we could offload Howard to the MLS, it would open up sufficient wages to bring in a top goalkeeper. We have always struggled to find the right candidates where long-term goalkeepers are concerned. Cast your minds back to the fateful botched attempts of signing Nigel Martyn or Mark Schwarzer in 1996. Both goalkeepers would’ve been excellent successors to Big Nev. We eventually brought in Martyn in 2003, to this day the best keeper we’ve had since Nev in his heyday. I couldn’t take another 7 years of Gerrard, Simonsen, Wright or the likes before we get it right.

So who are the candidates? The obvious solution would be returning to Molde and attempting to resurrect the transfer of Orjan Nyland. We nearly completed the transfer in January but couldn’t get it over the line in time. The 6-ft 4-in keeper has been scouted for some time and even had a trial in 2008. Having finishing 3rd with Norway at the European Under-21 Tournament in 2013, he beat David de Gea to the Goalkeeper of the tournament award. Reportedly worth £3 million, Nyland would certainly be regarded as value for money.

Another keeper who should be on the club's radar is Bayern Leverkusen’s 23-year-old goalkeeper, Bernd Leno. A keeper who has accumulated 200+ appearances for Bayern and this season he has 12 clean sheets in 26 games. A big commanding 6-ft 3-in keeper who’s a great shot-stopper who reminds me of a young Peter Schmeichel. He only has two years left on his contract so would command a reduced fee.

With Distin probably leaving in the summer and the poor form of Alcaraz, we are in need of greater centre-half cover. The less we say about Alcaraz, the better, especially after the Kiev game. But the game highlighted the need for better cover. Jagielka has got a couple more years in him left and Stones is getting better with every game but, if any of the former gets injured, we are left woefully short.

It has been well documented that there is a shortage of good centre backs in European football.The fact that Manchester City paid nearly £32 million for Eliaquim Mangala is proof alone. Someone who is attainable this summer on a Bosman will be Ron Vlaar at Aston Villa; the imperious and commanding central defender had an excellent World Cup in Brazil. Unfortunately, due to a persistent knee injury, he has been reduced to just 14 appearances for the Midlands club. At only 29, he is of the right age to still get another good four to five years out of him at his peak.

Also open on a free in the summer will be Fabian Schar of FC Basel. A ball-playing centre half who is good with the ball, great from set pieces and, at only 22, shows experience beyond his years. If successful he could well be our centre-half partnership for Stones for next 10 years. With Hibbert’s injuries and advancing years, we have limited options at right back. Ignazio Abate, the AC Milan right back, has stalled on a new contract and is available and at 27 would offer Coleman the competition he needs to drive him on. It’s fair to say he hasn’t hit the heights he hit last season, but that could be alleged of a few of the first team players. Ignazio is a tricky and pacey right back who can also play left back if need be.

Similar to the defence, we have struggled this year for wide players and creative options. We’ve been hampered by long-term injuries to Osman and Pienaar. There are several different players across Europe who would improve the creative options in the squad. One player we’ve been linked to over the past year and have extensively scouted is Rafa Silva of SC Braga in Portugal. Silva is an attacking midfielder who can play right across the front three as a wide attacking midfielder or as a number 10. He’s played majority of his games for Braga as a left sided attacking midfielder, playing 26 games making 4 assists and scoring 2 goals. Not the greatest of stats but he’s only 21 and there is plenty of room to develop. His development this season has been hampered playing in a Braga team that have struggled this year, who are currently out of the Champions League places in the Primeira Liga. He has a £19 million buyout clause but the Portuguese press have been quoted as stating that a fee closer to £8 million would be enough to seal the deal.

Another player who looks increasingly likely to be available for free in the summer is Yevhen Konoplyanka of Dnipro. A fast, penetrative winger with outstanding dribbling skills, Yevhen Konoplyanka, 25, has been talked up as the ‘Ukrainian Messi’. He has scored 6 goals in 27 appearances, contributing 5 assists. Konoplyanka was linked to the club in January and there will be plenty of suitors come the summer but he is a player we are crying out for. Continuing the left winger theme, we have been linked to Andre Ayew this week. According to recent reports, Roberto flew out to watch Ayew in action for Olympique Marseille against RC Lens. Marseille won the game 4-0 with Ayew scoring the 3rd goal. Ayew is similar to Konoplyanka as far as he is a winger with bags of pace. He’s more direct than the Ukrainian but suits playing in a 4-3-3 formation. In 21 games in all competitions, he has scored 8 goals and contributed 5 assists. We’ve been lacking players with pace this season as our football has been so slow and predictable. If we could attract one or two of these players, we certainly would look more direct and add goals and assists from midfield we’ve been crying out for.

Equally comparable to the way we’ve struggled creatively is the way we’ve lacked goals this season. It says something that Samuel Eto’o is still our fourth joint highest goalscorer in the Premier League with 3 goals! In my opinion, Kone is going to struggle to get anywhere near the amount of goals required, so for me he needs replacing as well as bringing in a forward to replace the outgoing Eto’o from January. There are numerous options across Europe that could come in and improve our front line. Two players who are available on Bosmans this summer are Andre-Pierre Gignac of Olympique Marseille and Mark Uth of SC Heerenveen. Gignac, 29, is a big strong centre-forward who is great in the air.

A player who could be a good foil for Lukaku and very similar to Kone in that respect. The difference to Kone is Gignac knows where the goal is. This season he has scored 18 in 31 appearances for the French side. Mark Uth 23, is a very different player to Gignac, a cultured centre-forward who has good pace and an eye for goal; comparisons to Lucas Podolski have already been made. He’s had a brilliant season with Heerenveen scoring 14 in 27 appearances, chipping in with 11 assists also. Not a household name but with youth on his side he would make a great addition to the squad. The prospect of having options such as Lukaku, Gignac and Uth are mouth-watering!

As you can see from above, there is plenty of quality existing this summer and especially on Bosman frees. Consequently Kenwright doesn’t have any excuses this summer. The squad is in need of a huge reshuffle and as fans we need to start seeing a progression. From the players, management and board we need to see a reaction this summer and we can send out a real message. It’s probably one of the biggest in our recent history. Let’s hope it is a positive summer – one we can look back on and say 2015 was really the changing of the guard!

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Reader Comments (56)

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Patrick Murphy
1 Posted 26/03/2015 at 22:03:04
I wonder if anyone at Goodison has approached the situation as well as you have – probably not! The club will more than likely await to see who they get bids for and then react in a last minute flurry with cheaper and poorer options than the players they sell, telling the fans that their hands were tied and the type of players they were looking at were either over-priced or unavailable. But we have to live in hope that they realise the gravity of the situation and grasp the nettle to ensure we at least improve in the next campaign.
Kevin Tully
2 Posted 26/03/2015 at 22:40:16
Good read, Jamie. The problems we are facing have actually been multiplied by the new TV money that is flooding into the Premier League. Every single club will be able to match our transfer fees, wages etc. and we are no more attractive to players than a West Ham, or even Stoke!

It's amazing to think that after producing a few good players, investing wisely and appointing a couple of good managers, Southampton are probably better positioned to move forward than we are – after entering administration and dropping to League One just six years ago.

We've stood still for over two decades now, it's bound to catch up with you sooner or later.

John Gee
3 Posted 27/03/2015 at 02:10:39
Fantastic read Jamie, you've obviously done your research. I'm hoping (probably in error) that someone at our club has your knowledge.

I'm hesitating to agree with you over Hibbert and Osman because I think, even with advancing years, they can offer good squad cover. But that might be the romantic side of my fanaticism coming through.

Christopher Kelly
4 Posted 27/03/2015 at 03:38:02
Fantastic read and just the kind of progressive reading I admire.

Tired of people just bleating. Nice to see some ideas. The Basel kid looks interesting per Champions League.

One unfortunate letdown has been Roberto's lack of ingenuity with transfer dealings abroad. He'd be wise to focus on that this summer.

Ian Bennett
5 Posted 27/03/2015 at 07:08:53
I don't disagree with the above, he needs a great transfer window to address a squad which has too many passengers.

I can't see all eight going, plus I would expect Stones, Lukaku, Coleman, Garbutt, and McCarthy to be targeted, so I would be amazed if over half of the pensioners go.

Lennon will return, which isn't quite the quality I was hoping for. Works hard but the final ball and goal scoring is not going to be enough for a side with more than mid table ambitions. Roll on next season...

Denis Richardson
6 Posted 27/03/2015 at 07:43:02
Nice article, Jamie. Only slight issue is that there are loads of players on a free at the end of every season so I wouldn't hold my breath re us signing any of the players you've mentioned – it would be nice though.

I think it's almost certain Distin, Alcaraz and Mirallas will go this summer. The other players, like Pienaar, Hibbo, Howard etc, are not going to go for free. They've still got lucrative contracts so it's not going to be easy getting rid of them.

Maybe we can persuade Moyes to take Pienaar but Sociadad won't match his 㿨k/week wages... hopefully we can get the MLS to take Howard off our hands.

Sid Logan
7 Posted 27/03/2015 at 08:34:11
Jamie, excellent summary of where we are and some well considerd options for taking us forward.

Perhaps just one small additional suggestion. The changing of the guard would be incomplete and far less likely to succeed without a change of Manager in my view. I know that won't happen but I suspect – as you and many of the rest of us know – neither will very much else of your very worthwhile recommendations.

Trevor Peers
8 Posted 27/03/2015 at 08:43:50
Good article, Jamie; you've pretty much covered the state of our great team and offered some interesting solutions to the big issues.

In a way, I feel a bit sorry for Roberto because, if he thinks he has had a rough ride this season, god help him if he gets it wrong again. BK is able to hide not only behind the Sky coverage but leaves the manager to face the music. He did the same to DM, the difference being Moyes was better equipped to handle that pressure than Roberto. It's a cowardly way to run a football club for sure.

Sam Hoare
9 Posted 27/03/2015 at 09:53:24
Love it. Essentially a well written football manager article. Right up my alley.

No doubt the team needs some serious overhauling. Though we (and the manager!) said the same last season and didn't get it; which is partly why we have struggled this season so much.

First-team regulars like Distin, Pienaar, Howard and Osman have either dropped in form or can't take the physical toll of 90 mins every week. I think Osman will still have lots to contribute if he can stay fit but the others need replacing. I have a horrible feeling that Alcaraz and certainly Kone will still be here next season but clearly they cannot be relied upon.

You're list of possible players is good. I would prefer Van Dijk to Vlaar. He is an imposing 6-ft 4-in and we really need someone who is dominant in the air. Nyland seems like he might be another Robles and perhaps better to get a more experienced keeper. I still think Marshall could be good value. Creativity and goals from midfield will be the harder bits. I quite like the sound of Davy Klassen from Ajax and Firmino would be the dream transfer but probably unlikely as he now starts for Brazil.

Steve Carse
10 Posted 27/03/2015 at 11:53:01
A sign of the times that all the possible players discussed in the article are all foreigners playing outside the UK. Whatever happened to getting the best of the Championship? Admittedly only from watching live Sky coverage, but I see a number of players in the Championship who look every bit as good as what we have on the books currently.
Eric Myles
11 Posted 27/03/2015 at 13:32:54
How many homegrown players do we need in the squad again? We currently have 10 including Hibbert, Osman and Lennon, so will be down to 7 if they are gone the end of the season.

So the reality may be we need to keep these players rather than dreaming of foreign stars to replace them.

Eric Myles
12 Posted 27/03/2015 at 13:40:26
And Barry and McGeady are also in our homegrown list, so may not be moved on too sharpish...
Craig Mills
13 Posted 27/03/2015 at 13:37:32
A really good read Jamie, but I personally still think Osman still has a season left in him, it's showed this season what a difference he can make and usually chips in with a few goal throughout the season.

Another name missing from the list is Gerard Deulofeu, so far he's made 10 league appearances for Seville with just the 1 goal. I think it'd be great business to get him back; with him on the right and Andre Ayew on the left, it would give such pace to our attack that seems to have left us this season!!

Nick Page
14 Posted 27/03/2015 at 14:13:12
Fuck all will change at Everton until the deadwood is cleared out from the Directors Box. We'll be amongst the lowest spenders, AGAIN... and we'll start next season 5 players short of a squad capable of winning anything – all against the backdrop of ever increasing TV revenues.
Sean Patton
15 Posted 27/03/2015 at 14:23:56
I would love this to happen as the squad really does need a drastic overhaul but I can only see Distin and Pienaar leaving from the list sadly.
Jim Hardin
16 Posted 27/03/2015 at 13:23:57
Good article but I wonder why none of the younger players are considered for promotion to the senior squad on more than a one-off basis? I think we have at least one midfielder and a centre-back who could contribute. As for Garbutt, it is either sell Baines or Garbutt leaves or both leave.

I would still consider Ben Mee and Trippier of Burnley as replacements at the left-back and right-back positions and if Burnley get relegated they should be fairly cheap. Both defend a bit above average and Trippier can cross a ball in (if we lose Coleman). Burnley are not conceding goals because of the outside backs this season.

I also rate Boyd highly as the creative versatile forward we could use who can link up play although he is no Osman or Pienaar. I know these are not world class players but they play the way Evertonians like, bombing forward and lots of energy.

As for ridding the squad of players, Everton could get creative if they are willing to sell some of their higher value players. Currently, the only ones with a high market value (per the www.transfermarket website) are Lukaku (㿊 million), Stones (㾶 million), McCarthy (㾽 million), Coleman (㾾 million), Baines (㾾 million), Mirallas (㾻 million), and Barkley (㾼 milion). Not sure how accurate the value versus actual transfer amount is but would guess actual transfer is lower. The likes of McGeady, Besic, Robles, Oviedo, and Gibson are all valued at ٣ million or less per player.

Unfortunately, I am not confident that the Board and the manager can be creative and sell the players and then spend the money wisely on younger and/or proven players who can fill in the holes left. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

Steavey Buckley
17 Posted 27/03/2015 at 15:07:30
EvertonÂ’s present financial situation wonÂ’t be helped with the news that ٟ billion of money available to Premier League clubs will be given to others, with a big loss to Everton FC of 㾼.65 million pounds per season.

This loss wonÂ’t effect more wealthier Premier League clubs, because they are swimming in cash from lucrative sponsorship and merchandise deals, that Everton canÂ’t just obtain.

Declan Brown
19 Posted 27/03/2015 at 15:46:31
I have a simple theory for this season.

El Bob has been found out in more ways than one: there's problems in the dressing room = Roberto has lost the dressing room and has no authority in it (maybe he's just too nice and not strong enough with them). The players have sussed him out and realise he's not the next big thing but a happy blue sky-ed tripe talker who can't see what's in front of him due to his ever positive persona, even if that means being totally deluded.

If El Bob has lost the dressing room, my theory is that the players will do what's necessary to keep us up, just hovering above the danger zone and nothing more in the hope he gets chop in the summer. It's scary at times how close we are to the drop zone.

I wonder how many of our players would take surviving by 1 point this season in the hope that El Bob gets the chop, just doing enough and staying just about clear of danger and losing when the gap is big enough. Player power trying to get the manager the sack, if that's the case then there is something seriously wrong.

A team with talented players like ours goes from 5th and a record Premier League points tally to near relegation in one season with everything seemingly in disarray? How else can it go wrong so quickly? Does that make any sense?

Don't get me started on Kenwright. I wonder if budgeting for 10th and finishing 15th-17th and being down over 㾶m in Sky money might make him think, he's been at Goodison this season, he must know about the fan and player discontent?

Declan Brown
20 Posted 27/03/2015 at 15:55:05
Forgot to say, well done Jamie on the article, fantastic read and fair play to you for the effort you put into it!
Tony J Williams
21 Posted 27/03/2015 at 16:03:57
Jim, if the board go with that site's valuation and let Stones go for 㾶m, someone needs shooting.

I'd take 㾻m for Mirallas in a heartbeat though.

Denis Richardson
22 Posted 27/03/2015 at 15:59:44
Declan - I agree with you that the players may not have any trust in the manager anymore but I don't think they would deliberately play badly to get him sacked.

If anything, the better ones will be putting in the effort to engineer a move in the summer. Also, the likes of McCarthy, Kone and Alcaraz all played for him before at Wigan.

Summer's going to be interesting, if only to see who leaves.

Andrew Ellams
23 Posted 27/03/2015 at 16:19:36
Denis, I think people do sometimes misconstrue not putting the effort as deliberately playing badly and, to be fair, the end result is often the same.
Andy Crooks
24 Posted 27/03/2015 at 17:19:21
I'd like to think that someone at Goodison Park is doing similar work to you, Jamie. In fact, not only researching the players but watching them. However, I suspect your work would put them to shame.
Darren Hind
25 Posted 27/03/2015 at 17:43:58
A good read Jamie. I didn't agree with it all. (You covered an awful lot, but there's a few good shouts in there.)

I still think Robles is an unknown quantity. The decision to drop him in favour of Spoonfeet was possibly the worst Martinez has made. I know he wasn't exactly setting the world on fire, but he was better than many of us had given him credit for and he was improving.

I would definitely start Joel in every game from now on in. He may not be the answer, but we need to know. He could save us a fortune.

I think the guy did enough to warrant a shot and Martinez should not be forgiven if he denies him.

Jay Wood
26 Posted 27/03/2015 at 18:30:00
A number of posters critically ask if anyone in the club has made a similar evaluation of our current squad and targeted possible recruits. They bloody well better have!

All they have to do is follow on the good practice of our much maligned FM. He had a closed inner sanctuary apparently where the club’s existing squad, age, contract expiry, salary, value, character, fitness etc was meticulously listed. Alongside this was a worldwide, but primarily Eurocentric, database of desired targets, rated by their quality, value, age, contract expiry and possible Bosmans and other aspects.

I wonder if the current management is as thorough?

Personally, I think posts such as these are all rather premature until THE key issue is rapidly resolved come season’s end: Who will be the manager next season?

Another season of Roberto and IMO all bets are off as far as player retainage and recruitment go for Everton over the summer and into next season.

Eric Myles
27 Posted 27/03/2015 at 23:48:53
The Premier League website lists us as having 8 homegrown players, they don't count McGeady or Lukaku who are on the TW listings, but they do count Stones who isn't counted by TW.

If a few of the Academy players come through, it will help the numbers and a few of the old guard can be moved on, but it only looks like Stones and maybe Garbutt if he stays, for now.

Cleverley would count as homegrown though.

Terence Leong
28 Posted 28/03/2015 at 01:02:54
Good stuff, Jamie. I don't suppose you also have an exhaustive list for managers? : ) I'm still hopeful for Martinez to succeed, but that's for another post.

Eric (#27) makes a good point about the homegrown rule. That's the other thing to watch out for. I'm surprised that Stones is counted as a homegrown player? Unless what they mean is that, regardless of whether the club buys them or not, as long as they are English, they are homegrown.

I think foreign players must be young enough when they are brought into the club, and come through the academy of sorts to qualify.

Mike Allison
29 Posted 28/03/2015 at 10:29:02
This thread seems to replicate the ’The Everton Squad’ one which has disappeared. Maybe just as well as my post on there probably tried to fit too much in.

In shortened version, I think our squad is pretty decent, and is close to the kind of depth we need, especially as we won’t have the added fixtures in Europe next season. Our problem has been our playing style, not the individuals.

The only thing we definitely need is another top class centre-back. I haven’t seen much of him, but what I have seen and heard suggests Virgil Van Dijk could be the man.

Talks of wholesale clearouts and the kind of "eight out, seven in" posts we tend to get on here I think are counter-productive. It can work, but that amount of change is a danger intrinsically. A gradual phased approach makes much more sense.

Distin and Alcaraz wouldn’t play again for me. Barry and Howard would drop to backup status and be replaced by players already at the club. Two of our current squad, Atsu and Lennon, are on loan so they would need to be signed permanently or replaced, and we would probably need another striker to play often from the bench, and occasionally alongside Lukaku in a 4-4-2.

That’s four new signings and two out, with two of the four potentially being players who’ve already been here (Atsu, Lennon, Deulofeu).

The other factor not being considered is how ready the young players are. The homegrown problem doesn’t exist, we can list any of the following in our 25, we’ll have room: Gethin Jones, Brendan Galloway, Tyias Browning, Matt Pennington, Ryan Ledson, Conor Grant, John Lundstram, Francisco Junior, George Green, Conor McAleny and Chris Long will all have played first team football of one form or another, and Jonjoe Kenny will turn 18 having won an international tournament and captained the U-21s as a 17-year-old. To assume that none of those twelve will be of any use to us whatsoever is extremely pessimistic.

Martin Clark
30 Posted 28/03/2015 at 16:44:46
I believe Everton should do what they can to keep Luke Garbutt as he's got massive potential and first-team football would be the deciding factor. He's a composed defender who hasn't put a foot wrong, which is what you'd desire from a defender, but he also offers pace and a good delivery.

I really like Baines, and ideally you'd have them competing for left-back but I get the feeling Garbutt feels he's ready and won't be content with the bench or I believe he'd have signed by now. Maybe trying Baines in midfield is a possibility; once we're safe, it could be experimented with.

Danny Ings would fit in well at Everton. Either as a partner to Rom or if he moves on as a replacement. He's scored goals for Burnley who have been battling to make chances and his energy and pace would suit.

We require a creative box-to-box midfielder like Eriksen of Spurs, but who doesn't, so he would be hard to find. Possibly Holtby could develop into that player or maybe I just like the fact he's a blue.

I'd love to see Deulofeu brought back as creativity was a huge strength; as he matures, he could be absolute class.

We also need a central defender, one in their prime as ours are either at the wrong end of their careers or too inexperienced. Our problem will be finance and competition from other teams as what we need is quality and that's generally what everyone wants. A possible recruit here could be Richards as I reckon if he's given the chance can be a very good player and will be free this summer.

The goalkeeper is also an area of concern. I thought Robles was unfortunate to lose his place as he'd been performing well and could do a good job as I'm not aware of many better affordable options but hopefully having a scouting network will find more than I'm aware of.

I'm hopeful this season was a glitch and a learning curve for Martinez and he gets us results more familiar with his first season in charge. Maybe I'm taking his main trait of being overly positive...

Ray Said
31 Posted 28/03/2015 at 17:25:55
My view is that the addition of a top class goalie can make the single biggest difference to a teams points total. Handanovic at Inter has refused a new contract and is looking at moving on. I watch every Inter game and he is top class and probably just a step below Nuer, De Gea and the two Chelsea goalies but better than Hart, Lloris etc.

He is huge but agile and commands his box. He could make a massive difference and would not cost any more than an average midfielder-maybe ٦-10 mill? His salary is rumoured to be under €3M per year which is why he wants away.

Russell Smith
32 Posted 28/03/2015 at 22:05:48
Well thought-out post with quite a few good possibilities. However, as Martinez will almost undoubtedly still be manager next season, any comings and goings need to revolve around what system he intends to play next season and which key players, playing in their correct positions, he envisages building the team around.

He appears to favour 4-3-3 so, assuming the back four of Baines, Jagielka, Stones and Coleman stay then he only needs covering players, which will probably see either Garbutt or Oviedo leaving, but with the need for better quality players to cover the other three positions.

The midfield should really be McCarthy and Gibson as the DM with Barkley playing centrally in his best position. Cover for all these positions already exists with Besic, Barry, Naismith and Osman without the need for wholesale change, but a younger more energetic additional cover should be brought in to eventually replace Osman/Barry over the next two seasons.

Assuming Lukaku stays, then we need two wide pacy skillful players. Mirallas will go, McGeady is not good enough, so we will need to purchase these players. Kone will stay as part cover but we probably need a further squad forward.

The post above proposing Robles is reinstated for the remainder of the current campaign is a great idea. He was starting to look better with each game he played and it was a major managerial error in dropping him. He will either prove his worth or confirm that we also need to recruit another goalkeeper.

Most importantly we need to play a balanced team that has pace out wide to take advantage of Gibson's passing range and utilising Barkley where is at his best. We will however be holding our breath till the final day of the transfer window.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 28/03/2015 at 22:44:06
Russell, Robles will not get back in – no matter how many more cock-ups Howard makes, and that is why Martinez depresses me. He is just too stubborn, one of the many reasons he has to go.
Harold Matthews
34 Posted 29/03/2015 at 04:55:05
Interesting article, Jamie, but your Euro scouting efforts suggest that you have forgotten about Roberto's obsession with Premier League experience. Jim @16 is nearer the mark with the experienced Burnley lads and other Premier League players who may be available.

I'm not saying Martinez is right. It just happens to be the way he works. He also likes to know players. Besic got lucky because Martinez chatted and got to know him in Brazil. Otherwise, he uses the loan system to assess their characters.

Harold Matthews
35 Posted 29/03/2015 at 05:55:30
Not at all sure about the future. Forget the Newcastle game. The opposition had a rest day. QPR tore us to shreds and should have scored a bagful. A very welcome six points but let's not kid ourselves. We're not exactly performing like a well-oiled machine.

We're certainly missing the old Jags / Distin partnership with the French giant keeping Baines well covered and using his great pace to mop up. Jags has moved across and fared quite well but he's not left-footed and often leaves Baines exposed. Young Stones is a fine prospect but he's still learning and needs to develop a sense of urgency when in possession around the box.

There are so many changes going on. Garbutt going forward with his pace and great left foot excited me, but his defensive positioning leaves a lot to be desired and he's not too hot in the air.

I hope we can get things together. Martinez has a big job on his hands and needs to show that he is up to it.

Matt Traynor
36 Posted 29/03/2015 at 06:47:58
I'd meant to comment last week but forgot all about it! Excellent article overall, however, one thing that bothers me is why people think wholesale changes are a good or even feasible thing?

Don't get me wrong – a lot of players need to be moved on, but there's still a cost to it, even bringing in "free" transfers, and with reduced income from league placement, I would imagine given our track record that we will be amongst the lower end of net spenders come the end of the summer window. It's been a hallmark of BK's time here, and will continue to be.

Dick Fearon
37 Posted 29/03/2015 at 11:55:53
I also have a wish list of ins and outs, the most important of which is sack Martinez. My reasons include team selections, substitutes, tactics and the stupidity of not practicing attacking and defensive corners. His incessant speech-making in which he talks down to us is also infuriating but of lesser importance.

My most important reason for wanting rid of him is his blindness to blatant faults in his philosophy that continues to hold us back. Unless we get a manager more in tune with Premier League requirements, I am afraid we will lose a whole swag of talented young players leaving behind a number of older has-beens and in some cases, never-has-beens.

Tom Bowers
38 Posted 29/03/2015 at 12:19:40
An excellent post, Jamie. I agree with all that you say including the list of ''over the hill'' players. It is time to ring in a new era and that includes the removal of RM. After two seasons, it's hard to see what he can do to set Everton back to the realms of respectability.

We fans have long been awaiting a messiah and can be forgiven for thinking he had come last season... but what he has achieved this season is nothing short of criminal, despite the Europa League results, which flattered to deceive on occasions.

Most of the players have performed very flat this season compared to last and seem to have had little enthusiasm and inspiration; even Mirallas and Coleman who were excellent last season. Most of us knew something was wrong from early season but it just seemed RM was a ''deer in the headlights'' not knowing where to turn next.

Whilst we all have different ideas on the main weaknesses, it is apparent that 3 positions are crucial to improve upon: one is a centre-back; another, a class striker to compliment Lukaku, and the other is a strong, forceful midfielder.

It would appear that Barkley may have to be sold to get the cash. Although he is a tremendous talent, he seems to have a problem keeping concentration for 90 minutes for such a young player.

I personally like Wanyama who is much like a younger Alex Song. It was very noticeable when he was injured last season Southampton had a bad run but he has been back this season and it shows.

Stones is getting better each game but Jags is making mistakes too often and may have gone past his best although he has been a great player for the Blues.

Mirallas seems to want away now and should be let go to be replaced with a Charlie Austin type supporting striker. There are other variables to the scenario but the key seems to be whether RM is still in charge next season.

Andy Meighan
39 Posted 29/03/2015 at 19:02:36
Them targets you mention look great in the brochure but in reality it's not going to happen, Jamie, is it? Expect a midfield of Barry, McCarthy, Besic and the dynamic Tom Cleverley to line up a few times at Goodison next season, because this stubborn man hasn't got a clue.

There's no chance he's getting sacked as it looks like we've preserved our Premier League status for another season so I'm expecting a season next season like the one we're currently witnessing: struggling in the league and out of both cups early.

Being out of Europe won't make a blind bit of difference – we all know the squad needs a major overhaul – so why can't the Spaniard? Unfortunately he occupies a different planet to most Evertonians.

Michael Polley
40 Posted 29/03/2015 at 19:54:08
Good article Jamie. Agree with everything you say. Only one point I don't recall you mentioning Barry's name. The guy dosen't have the legs for 90 mins, and gets caught too often in posession. Another one to go, or to use as a sub next season to hold the line for the last 15 mins or so.

Lets's see what the summer brings !!!!

Joe Clitherow
41 Posted 29/03/2015 at 22:31:47
I'm in general agreement with what you post Jamie apart from the hyperbole over Newcastle and Kiev. Newcastle were essentially very poor opposition who made us look good (and that very comment from the opposite viewpoint was on a Toon website too, describing us as poor opposition - oh how things have changed so quickly!) and I don't think the Kiev game, though defensively appalling, was our worst game of the season. You can pick a load of games where we did not score and did not look like scoring at all for that dubious honour; Hull at Christmas being my "favourite".

Also what is this "invest" you refer to for Kenwright? He wouldn't be "investing" anything because he doesn't have the level of wealth to make any difference. He would be just pissing into a very deep dark hole rather than diverting the river needed to fill it. The type of money that Mansoor and Abramovich have invested is essentially a mix of vanity and brand association with other businesses on a world stage - the football club essentially loses money whilst promoting the brand of a huge conglomerate in Man City's case for example. And in Abramovich's case I believe it is a "loan" to Chelsea in any case.

I guess my real problem with the article is it essentially FM pie in the sky and doesn't seem to have a point until you mention Changing the Guard. This to me is quite a frightening thing because after 10 years of Top 6 challenge/stability/mediocrity depending on your viewpoint, Martinez has taken us to a point of crisis incredibly quickly. Wholesale change *never* works quickly for football clubs, it destabilises straight away. Spend enough though on really top quality and it generally comes good eventually as it stabilises, a la Man City/Chelsea. For the rest of us, QPR, Portsmouth, even the RS for a number of seasons, the outcome is clear - it invariably takes you down even further.

The prospect of wholesale change with the useless Martinez deciding the purchases in the next window is a thought that I find deeply disturbing for Everton Football Club and could cripple us permanently.

Liam Reilly
42 Posted 30/03/2015 at 10:59:04
A little left field this one; but what about encouraging our better players to stay put by using Martinez's Barça connections to bring in a footballer that all of them would want to play with for one or maybe two seasons: Xavi. This guy is supposedly considering Qatar; so surely the PL would be an attraction.

OK so he'll be 36 in Jan; he'd push up the average age considerably; would undoubtedly cost a fortune in wages, far exceeding our wage structure, but what the younger players could learn from him would be 'priceless' and I'd argue there wouldn't be many looking for the exit door.

Dan Hollingworth
43 Posted 30/03/2015 at 12:06:25
That goalkeeper was terrible for Norway against Croatia at the weekend (They lost 5-1). I would like to see us go for Asmir Bergovic, who does have 1 year left on his contract, commands his box, and is 6ft-6in.

Mike Childs
44 Posted 30/03/2015 at 16:23:36
Great article, and a lot of great posts. On the GK situation which is imo priority number 1, I watched El Salvador vs Argentina and was impressed with the El Salvador golkeeper, Derby Carillo, a 27-year-old American, I believe.. .6'-6" if I remember correctly. He came out for crosses and caught just about everything.

Given the supposed lack of cash, I believe Ryan Ledyson should be bloodied sooner rather than later. I only saw him that once, in the dead rubber match, where after a shaky first half, he was spot on in the second half.

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 30/03/2015 at 16:32:59
The goalkeeping situation is very important but not necessarily a crisis; give the shirt to Robles for the rest of the season and see how he performs, I absolutely guarantee he will be better than Howard.

Not much of a guarantee seeing who Robles is replacing... but we just might have a good goalkeeper >here.

Trevor Peers
46 Posted 30/03/2015 at 17:47:24
I can't agree the, GK situation is the No 1 priority, we badly need a creative playmaker and have done since Arteta left and was not replaced. Osman has been a great servant but is nearing the end of his career and Gibson will be lucky to complete 15 full games next season without injury.

Roberto s only hope of keeping his job is to unearth one or maybe two goalscoring midfielders and organise the team so we don't leak so many goals. If Peter Cech played for the Blues ,he would be hard pressed to keep a clean sheet at the moment.

Maggie Patel
47 Posted 30/03/2015 at 19:35:25
Brilliantly analytical and insightful comments, Jamie.

I would add that Seamus Coleman has also had a sadly low-key season. I think we all respect him at Everton (㿨 grand etc) but this season he seems to have lost that fantastic fearlessness as he lowered his head and barged down the right flank against all-comers. He should be now playing the football of his life and we are only seeing intermittent glimpses of it. We are not capitalising on our best talents and that has to be a managerial issue.

Roberto, you had us dreaming – let’s get that dream back.

Harvey Miller
48 Posted 29/03/2015 at 19:42:11
A very good post indeed.

Still, our main problem is the manager. His brief success last season was a fluke because he inherited a top six team and got serious money for new players. The team reacted well to his mantra: "You are phenomenal and as you play for the greatest team in the world we will succeed." So they did it, kind of.

After the first season, he went to the World Cup and left the team by itself. No reason to train corners, free kicks or anything; the team was lost. The need to develop was neglected, some of the team members were getting a year older and still no new faces in the areas they were needed badly.

When things started going wrong, the messiah just ignored every critic. His view of the way the game should be played was the only right one. He refused to change the tactics, even if we lost/drew over ten games in a row.

Only when the fans started acting up did he change things a bit and – what a surprise – we played a little better (the Newcastle match). It was not a surprise he did fuck it up big time in Kiev.

The truth is, Roberto Martinez is not capable or worthy of managing Everton FC. We must sack him sooner than later. Before June would be best to ensure the new manager has the best chance to rebuild the team before the new season.

Tony Draper
49 Posted 31/03/2015 at 10:46:38
A few comments:

The list of "Seven To Be Replaced" is too long just on its own; inevitably there will be two maybe three younger players picked off with better immediate prospects. That could make ten players to be moved on and replaced... TEN! And that doesn't address the issues of Barry & Gibson, which could arguably make 12. Even at an average cost of ٢M that would require a warchest of 㿔M to 㿞M..... not going to happen, never.

So, the list would realistically need to be reduced to a more workable and achievable number, say four or six at the very outside (including those tempted away). Even at this reduced number, the funds would be around 㿄M, and I'd be very pleasantly surprised at us laying that much or more out.

Amongst others, you consider 29-year-old Ron Vlaar and still note "persistent knee injury, he has been reduced to just 14 appearances". He's 30 already (birthday was 16 February). I firmly believe that we need to look to adding players below 27 and preferably those with no injury worries.

Of your list, I'd comment as follows:

Howard will not be replaced. No matter my true feelings, he will not be replaced.

DistinI think this story has an obvious conclusion. He hasn't featured even when fit and the opportunity has arisen. He will be allowed to move on.

Alcaraz He will still be with us next season.

Hibbert Realistically, he would be offered a backroom opportunity, other than the fact that he has said that he wants to run some form of fishing lakes thing. Personally, I think it's time for him to be allowed to move on.

Pienaar Doesn't seem arsed to me. Long gone is that shimmy and sparkle of the Pienaar of old. He could offer a nice swansong cameo season at a newly promoted side, but not at Everton.

Osman I'd keep Ossie. Even in the 30-minute appearances, he has shown that he does make a difference. Unlike Pienaar, he does look like he's interested.

Kone Is he fit? Or is he injured? Knowing our luck, we'd allow him to go for a nominal fee and he'd score a dozen or more league goals for someone willing to take the chance. If we got a daft offer, I'd let him go, but fully expect him to be with us next season.

Barry He will be with us next season, unless we received a daft offer. So he'll be with us again.

Gibson Like so very, very many here, I like Gibson on the pitch; sadly I don't get to see much more than a handful of appearances from him each season. If we had a stronger squad, then he'd be on his way out. So he'll be here next season too.

Tony Draper
50 Posted 31/03/2015 at 11:28:08
Darren @25 "start Joel in every game from now on in. He may not be the answer, but we need to know."

Yes, we do need to know, and in finding out we may also give Tim Howard something to think about.

Personally, I don't see either Howard or Robles as being in the mould of our goalkeeping greats but I do see that standard as being essential.

Colin Grierson
51 Posted 31/03/2015 at 11:38:18
Good article Jamie, but sadly I've checked and you are not on the staff of our great club (more's the pity) so my expectations remain what they always have been with our impresario holding the purse strings. I'd love it if I was wrong though, and you have identified some interesting, well researched replacements to replace the deadwood.

I wouldn't get rid of Ossie just yet but I would limit his playing time. Until we sign someone with as good a footballing brain, then he is essential to our squad. Apart from that aim, I completely agree.

James Marshall
52 Posted 31/03/2015 at 14:50:36
Good post we all probably agree with to a degree. From reading, unfortunately most of the players you've quoted are all being linked with clubs such as Real Madrid et al, so our chances of signing any of the up & coming European stars are about nil.

We're simply not an attractive club to sign for these days. Remember most young players in their early to mid twenties have no idea that Everton have ever been successful. We're seen as a stop gap at best, despite what we all think.

Bob Conway
53 Posted 01/04/2015 at 23:33:36
A well written and researched article but overall pretty depressing. No mention at all of any potential British signings coming to the club, rather a suggested procession of foreign mercenaries.

Don't we produce decent footballers in this country? Do we scout the lower leagues for talent? Is our own academy system a pointless exercise? No matter which way we go, we cannot allow El Bob to inflict more damage.

Mike Childs
54 Posted 03/04/2015 at 18:41:13
Dave and Trevor, I certainly agree with you that a creative midfield is our most glaring weakness but, at as long as the fool on the hill continues to start the beard as GK is the number 1 priority. Hopefully Robles is the answer. He doesn't have to be world class, just solid, which I thought 3 clean sheets were proof of.

Whether it was a case of BBS's I'll play my favorites or BK's play my American so I can win that market is anyone's guess.

Christopher Timmins
55 Posted 06/04/2015 at 10:39:19
Howard/Robles, Alcatraz, Distin, Barry and Kone all need to be replaced.

If Robles is not deemed good enough to replace Howard then we need to purchase a first choice number 1 during the summer.

We need a back up to Stones and Jags at centre half.

We need a more creative midfield to play alongside McCarthy.

Finally, we need a centre forward of sufficient merit to put pressure on Lukaku.

Lets get shopping earlier this summer and not be waiting until the last two hours of the August transfer deadline window.

A big thank you to Distin, Howard(if replaced) and Barry (fantastic last year) for their service to the club.

Colin Glassar
56 Posted 06/04/2015 at 10:50:30
Christopher, Howard and Barry will probably still be with us next season although I'm not sure they'll play as many games as this season. I can see Alcaraz and Distin leaving for sure but after them? Hibbo (retirement)? Mirallas (sold)?
Personally I'd like to see mcgeady move on and probably Gibson as well due to his injuries. I also think we have to make a decision at LB. it's going to be impossible to keep Baines, Oviedo and Garbutt happy so I'd sell one of them and it would have to be Oviedo. A great player but like Gibson he is becoming injury probe

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