Four games to go and a lot at stake. We need to win out. Stoke is right there to be had. Swansea will have to do us a favour and come back to us. West Ham and Palace are right on our tail. 8th or 12th in play. Which puts millions of pounds in play and every penny of it important. Two loanees, three players out of contract, and seven entering their last year. Scary. We’ll need a bit of luck, but winning out could garner 8th place and more money.

I have no idea what’s coming. Here’s my view:

Atsu – Send him back and open up the roster spot. Roberto's done well with loans. This one didn't work out. Speaking of which...

Lennon – Get him in. A major reason for our recent run of form and results. Tough-nut or not, I don't think Levy is in the bargaining position some do. Certainly, nothing close to the Pienaar business.

Garbutt – Free agent. Re-signing still an option, but clearly looking to see what the market offers. Didn’t Moyes have to compete to get him in the first place? Baines is #1 and no doubt about it. Movement on the Oviedo front, if any, might influence Garbutt’s decision. Whatever his decision, a good-looking talent. Pace and an educated left foot. Hope he re-ups, but best we have our tribunal arguments ready and rehearsed.

Distin – Gone. Too bad how it's ending, but he was probably going anyway. Always liked him. We talk about Baines having Pienaar in front of him. Let’s remember the guy who had his back. Only hope, whatever happened, Roberto starts him last game of the season. A classy (and proper) gesture so supporters and Sylvain can say goodbye.

Alcaraz – Gone (hopefully). I tend to not knock players. They're good enough or not is my view and that's that. But, this guy flat isn't a Premier League player. The flip side is Roberto brought him into the league (twice!) and seems to like him. So, Roberto, let’s be reasonable and fair. Allow him to knuckle his forehead to you one last time for gifting him 4-5 years of EPL wages, then walk him to the door. SOMEWHERE in English football, there's a player at his position better than him, Roberto. C’mon now.

Hibbert – One year left on his contract; going nowhere. Could ownership offer him the same wages as a coach, if he'll announce his retirement end of this season and open up the roster spot for Roberto? Given his injury record the last couple seasons, could be worth doing.

Osman – One year left on his contract; going nowhere. For all the tug and pull about his value, he defines "fine servant". I said a couple years ago, I didn’t think he had a regular 90 minutes of leg left under him. Now, I don’t think he has even one 90 minutes of leg under him. Retains his technical skill, though. As an impact player, I think he can still contribute.

Kone – One year left on his contract; going nowhere. At his age, with a knee near its end, we’ll never re-coup what he cost anyway. Nothing much else to add to what's been said about him already. Fingers crossed, next season his knee is fully healed and sturdy and he can contribute. Fingers crossed, mind.

Oviedo – One year left on his contract. Tricky one, but have to believe he's staying, as injuries have muddied all waters. Proved himself when he got the chance, then suffered serious injuries, last season and this. A fine player, hopefully he's fully fit for August. We could really use him.

Gibson – One year left on his contract and what's left to say about injuries? A wonderful player. He not only has an attacking instinct (and the passing skills to make it happen), but also the vision to see what's possible. I consider vision as much a physical gift as sprint speed. You got it or you don't. Gibson has it. Same reason I could see another club taking a punt, though. He cost little coming in, so there's some profit to be made. I want him to stay and get healthy ... oh the hell with it.

I just want Everton to win. That's it. But, if there's one player on the Club I wish the best for, it's Gibson. If he'd come along without all the injuries, he’d be one of the EPL's famous players. A real shame it's gone the other way.

Pienaar – One year left on his contract. Another tricky one, in that we don't know Steven's plans for the rest of his career, nor Roberto's if he stays. Pienaar’s last quotes in the press indicate he still loves being a player. Money will be the driver. Steven could play out his contract and be a free agent and drop to a lower league or hook on with an EPL bottom-feeder. But, that would put him in a "take it or leave it" situation. We just don't know his thinking.

He could leave THIS Summer and head to the Far East or Middle East and make a nice wedge. He could come here to the US and make some money. Wherever he goes, he'd be on a nice salary, while no longer having to deal with the Premier League's physicality and athleticism. Wouldn't be surprised if we hear he's left, à la Cahill. Happy if he stays, though.

Jagielka – Staying.

Baines – Staying.

McCarthy – Staying. Signed thru 2018, brought in for £12 million. "You want him? Open your checkbooks wide".

Barry – Staying. Still good when healthy. Hopefully, he’s given breaks throughout next season.

Besic – Staying.

Naismith – Staying.

Howard – Staying. He could come back to MLS and make more money than he’s making now. (Landon made more from endorsements than his Galaxy wages.) MLS could pay a substantial price to get Timmy back over here, and WUM would still see a profit over the rest of his career. He’s already declared he’ll be back competing for a slot in the US team in 2016. A perfect storm, if you will, of everyone involved coming out happy. But, Howard’s main challenger at keeper will be Guzan, who’s a starter in the EPL and Klinsmann can be funny about that. More importantly, Roberto would have to spend some of those “ample” funds on a keeper. Other areas need addressing first. Maybe next year, he’s sold.

Robles – Staying. The size of him, my God! He’s gigantic; which is good, since size can’t be taught. Can we get someone in to work on his foot quickness?

Mirallas – One year left on his contract. Staying? I hope so. Still on surprisingly low wages, Kevin just wants a pay rise. No reason ownership can’t goose the numbers up. Now, if he could just knock off incendiary comments like, “Why, yes I would.” when asked if he’d like to play in the Champions League and trade in his Bentley for a black Lincoln Town Car, he’d be golden.

Lukaku – Staying. In spite of his “Look at MEEEE!!!!” agent’s pronouncements, it might not be in his client’s best interest that he bounce onto his 5th club before the age of 22. Not to forget, he’s absolutely first 11 at Everton. Fair is fair, though. The sky’s the limit for the youngster. I believe his best interest is to stay at Everton for the next season or two and truly establish himself. I hope so, anyway.

McGeady – Staying. Roberto signed him and he has 3 years left on his contract. Say what you want about him, he’s staying.

Coleman – Has 3 years left on his contract. Staying? I think so, especially if Lennon comes in permanent. A wonderful talent, one of the best at his position. If clubs come in waving checkbooks (inevitable), they better have it waving in the hand of the fellow authorized to write really big numbers. I’m starting to feel sad, here.

No wonder...

Barkley – Has 3 years left on his contract. Staying? I hope so and it appears he’d prefer staying. Has a way to go accepting he just can’t dust defenders off as he did playing against fellow teenagers. But, it’s all in front of him, so the club in for Coleman better send a much larger fellow to sign young Ross. The checkbook he’ll have to carry will need to be much heavier.

Sadder yet...

Stones – Has 4 years left on his contract. Staying? God only knows. No sense playing around; the Crown Jewel, this youngster; an English one. Checkbooks will be waved; the heaviest ones, maybe not just EPL ones. What the hell, here’s hoping clubs will wait for the next round of TV contracts, then splash the cash. Most importantly, if the worst comes, please Bill, just keep saying NO until the number is through the roof. Fingers crossed, we keep him another couple years.

Others – I know we have kids signed to a big-league contract. Just haven’t seen them enough (or at all). I would like to hear opinions.

So what’s the future? A loanee heading back where he came from, a loanee hopefully signed in, three players out of contract, seven more entering the last year of theirs? Interesting times. The next 2-3 years might not be pretty; especially come the end of next season, when the “clearing out” several have been calling for will happen. Then what? “War Chest” is not in the language of our owners, after all. The only thing certain is that Roberto has his work cut out for him.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Ant Dwyer
1 Posted 30/04/2015 at 23:03:24
Alcaraz, McGeady, Hibbert, Kone, Distin – for me, all must go. Atsu is not needed. Garbutt massively needed. Barry needs to be played sparingly. Naisy same as Barry, not good enough to play week-in & week-out.

Robles to stay as back-up keeper still, Howard's replacement needs to be Number 1 as heÂ’s too old and now makes mistakes too often.

One of either Pienaar or Osman need to call it a day and get replaced by a younger model. Cleverly or Milner on a free would do this without eating into our transfer budget.

Besic, Ledson and Barkley all need to give us much more next season, all are young and have massive futures.

Gibson is one of those players who is only going to be involved half the season anyways, not on massive money so well worth keeping hold of as he can play.

That’s my opinion; other than that Roberto needs to not sit two players in defensive midfield – he needs to get a solid one (maybe Besic) to play most games in the holding role in front of Stones and Jagielka, and a new dominant keeper. He also has to get Barkley central and Mirallas needs to play ever game.

He also has to ensure his signings are bang on the money as we wonÂ’t have big funds but his signings have to strengthen the first team.

Jim Hardin
2 Posted 01/05/2015 at 02:56:11
Good post and diagram of the situation with the players. I think Coleman is gone as he is one of our few players with a good market value. I would suggest Trippier in his stead and use the profit to buy a center back or to pay Mirallas more wages.
Kieran Fitzgerald
3 Posted 01/05/2015 at 07:09:05
It would be McCarthy for me Jim. I think he has started to peak at the wrong time for us. Just as the summer transfer window approaches, he starts to show what he is capable of. With Coleman, he has had an off season by his standards. Still, I would be very surprised if McCarthy, Coleman and Mirallas were all still with us next season. It would be ideal if they were all still with us but we need to sell before we buy this summer.
John Zapa
4 Posted 01/05/2015 at 07:23:11
With RobertoÂ’s transfer record, the next transfer window will be critical. Get it wrong, and it could be enough to send the club down. Regardless of who is at the helm the season after, with many players in their last year, it will be very hard to find enough free transfers to fill the squad up.
Kieran Fitzgerald
5 Posted 01/05/2015 at 07:27:02
John, I think either the Telegraph or the Guardian recently had a list of 65 players who were due to be free agents in the summer. While many of them were poor, I was surprised to see some of the quality available.

I do think Everton is still enough of an attraction for players and we would be able to sign some of the better free agents. YouÂ’re right though, having to replace as many as four or five aging players will be hard.

Matt Traynor
6 Posted 01/05/2015 at 07:44:00
Every year or so we talk about a major over-haul of the squad needed. Every year or so it fails to materialise. Welcome to the Good Ship Treading Water.

Or, in a nod to our American cousin James, itÂ’s like fucking Groundhog Day.

Mike Price
7 Posted 01/05/2015 at 07:59:34
Interesting article, but I canÂ’t help feeling we are a soft touch in the contract market.

Hibbert given a 2 year deal was farcical on a number of levels. No gold pocket watch for mediocre employees at Everton, letÂ’s give them multi million pound contracts for hanging around and talking in an authentic scouse accent.

If no other team is remotely interested in one of your players with 18 months left on his contract, donÂ’t extend and improve their deal by 3 years! Naismiths agent did a great job, but weÂ’re lumbered with more unmoveable dross and seriously questioning the managers judgement of players and business savvy.

All these mistakes add up, cost millions and massively hinders our squad development. If Martinez doesnÂ’t show a ruthless side heÂ’ll never be a top manager.

Clive Rogers
8 Posted 01/05/2015 at 09:40:12
Mike, correct. RM gave Naismith a big fat contract, but now appears to have lost faith in his abilities. Hibbert has only started 6 games in the last 3 seasons. His body has clearly had enough. Same with Osman. He was poor against Man Utd and caught out for pace several times. These three together with Pienaar, Gibson and Oviedo will probably hardly figure next season. ThatÂ’s a big chunk of our squad. Poor management.
Mike Childs
9 Posted 01/05/2015 at 10:06:09
A lot of good points, James, in this article, especially Stones. I believe unless we reach the potential we showed last Sunday every week next season, then it will be his last at Everton. The profit the club will realize selling him will be too much to ignore. As you said "the crown jewel" of the club.

I worry less about loosing Lukaku and Jimmy Mac then Stones. Many make a big fuss over our record with Ossie and without him but Stones is our MVP in my book and his health the difference in our win/loss record. Even though Jimmy Mac is my favorite player, I would cry more over loosing Stones.

Michael Polley
10 Posted 01/05/2015 at 15:40:00
Distin, Pinear, McGeady, Atsu, Kone, Alcaraz, Hibbert all need to go.

Hopefully hold onto our key players. Bring in 2 or 3 fresh faces & loanees to cover the centre-halves and provide more attacking options in midfield. Another forward to compliment Lukaku... Possibly a young keeper to give Howard a much-needed kick up the arse, and remove his complacency.

Roll on the summer!!

Darren Hind
11 Posted 01/05/2015 at 19:08:03
I remember your posts When I first stumbled across TW, James . I had you down just as another Yank taking a passing interest in "soccer". You were quite frankly, clueless.

How wrong I was, you are clearly here for the long hall, your understanding and enthusiasm for the game is there for all to see. So is your love for this club.

I didn't agree with some of your thoughts, but you have both surprised and educated me with your knowledge of contract situations at GP.

I sincerely hope you can make it to the Old Lady one day

Chris James
12 Posted 01/05/2015 at 11:56:47
Whilst I think we may lose a few in the window, talk of having to sell to buy or having only free transfer options does seem somewhat at odds with the realities of the absolute biggest TV deal in history + another bumper cheque on the way from the global rights in 2016. Even if we finished 17th and paid off some of the debt weÂ’d have a small pot of money to spend, even our financial management couldnÂ’t mess that up.

Patrick Murphy
13 Posted 01/05/2015 at 23:49:58
According to information on the Transfer League database, Everton since 2003 have spent circa ٠.4m per season, spending 𧵸m and selling 𧵛m giving a Nett spend of 㿈m over a dozen seasons.

Surprisingly Newcastle have a lower per season spend of ٟ.2m, with West HamÂ’s per season spend being ٣.8m

The rich clubs Man City and Chelsea have spent over 㿛m each per season with United having spent 㿆m and Liverpool 㿀m per season. Aston Villa are the only other club to spend more than 㾶m per season.

So all those expecting major signings without losing any of our star players had better re-adjust their expectations.

Clive Rogers
14 Posted 02/05/2015 at 09:54:57

We shouldnÂ’t have to lose star players for cash reasons now that the TV money has jumped up. Not sure the stats up to 2013 are that relevant now.
ThatÂ’s not to say we wonÂ’t lose any stars as players move on for other reasons nowadays.

Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 02/05/2015 at 10:07:47
Clive - A Leopard rarely changes its spots, and that is certainly the case with EvertonÂ’s spending on transfers at least in relative terms to their competitors. The wage bill is perhaps a better reflection of Â’investmentÂ’ in the playing squad, but I believe we are only about 10th in that department too.

DonÂ’t forget unlike West Ham and Newcastle we have spent all of that period between 2003 and the present in the top flight but have survived on a total nett spend of just 㿈M which equates to slightly more than Man Utd spend in any single season, it is a minor miracle and explains why the media refer to us as Â’punching above our weightÂ’.

Colin Leckey
16 Posted 02/05/2015 at 10:34:59
IÂ’m surprised there isnÂ’t more suggestion of selling Baines for whatever we can get for him and keeping Garbutt. Nothing against Baines who has been a magnificent servant, but heÂ’s 31 this year and if weÂ’ve got a great young potential replacement already on the books?
Phil Sammon
17 Posted 02/05/2015 at 10:51:04
Win out? Gamer? Roster?

I couldnÂ’t make it past the first paragraph.

Dave Ganley
18 Posted 02/05/2015 at 11:12:48
I would like to be excited about the upcoming transfer window but I canÂ’t summon any enthusiasm with Martinez at the helm. He doesnÂ’t fill me with any confidence that he can find any hidden gems for reasonable prices if we accept that we will have very limited funds in the summer.

Hopefully we can keep hold of Coleman, McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku etc and get rid of some deadwood like Alcaraz, Distin, Kone to name a few. Contrary to other posted views, I would like Ossie to stay on for another season; he may not have the pace but he still has the football brain and when he does play we do seem to have more ideas and energy on the field.

Martinez needs to start looking at the championship for diamonds down there, young players who are hungry and eager to learn in the top flight, à la Cahill, Lescott, Jagielka and players from other leagues too... not many had heard of Pienaar and Arteta before they came.

Good players are out there and it's just lazy management if he brings in the "circuit" players like Cleverly who will do a job but with absolutely no wow factor.

Next season is a very important season for us, we need to start well, prepare well and if we donÂ’t then the board need to act decisively and make a change; otherwise, much like this season, we will drift into obscurity or worse. I think hope for the best but fear the worst is going to be my mantra this close season.

Eric Myles
19 Posted 02/05/2015 at 11:09:51
Clive (#14), last season saw an increase in our TV revenue of 㿊M, we made a profit of 㿈M in our published accounts, we also made a profit on player trading of 㿈M.

This tells me that the increased TV money was spent on operating costs of some sort (not necessarily "other") and that we are still in a position of having to sell players to pay back debt or to purchase new ones.

So, unless we can save some of that 㿊M this season we will have no extra funds available from TV money. It will be interesting to see what will happen with the new bumper TV deal from 2016 (?), will our costs rise to consume all of that also?

Mick Wrende
20 Posted 02/05/2015 at 16:02:02
Please donÂ’t expect anything this summer. If past seasons are anything to go by, we are likely to have the same starting eleven except he never plays the same team twice. A clueless manager with several brain-dead players.
Clive Rogers
21 Posted 02/05/2015 at 16:33:44
Patrick, Eric,

I do of course agree with what you say. I did say "shouldnÂ’t", but with our board, money will be tight no matter how much comes in.

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