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Time for a reality check!

by   |   14/07/2014  Comments (113)  jump

I am a massive fan of Roberto Martinez and the positivity he brings to the club. By achieving a record Premier League points total last season, he has raised the bar and expectations of all Evertonians for this coming campaign. Even Leon Osman has stated the players are targeting a top 4 finish this term, but have we really got the players to achieve their target of Champions League football?

A quick glance through our current squad leaves me seriously underwhelmed to be quite honest. Ask yourself, how many Blues would be regular first team players for last season's top 4?

  • Howard – No. Good shot stopper, but aren't they all?
  • Robles – No. Not even close.
  • Hibbert – No. Not sure another two year contract was warranted.
  • Alcaraz – No. Muscle fatigue and age relegates this guy to the sub's bench. Good in the air and decent distribution. Would have liked to have seen him three or four years ago.
  • Baines – Yes, but not on his World Cup showing, or the last 3 months of last season. Needs to find his best form.
  • Gibson – No. Too slow & injury prone.
  • Jagielka – No. Distribution awful, but good defender.
  • Distin – No. A decent defender but this will be his last full season, you would have thought. Mistakes creeping into his game.
  • Stones – Yes. Wouldn't be thrust straight in for the others as Roberto has done at Everton, but what a classy player. If he realises half of his potential, he will be a top International for a long time.
  • Oviedo – No. There is a chance he could turn into something special, but needs to prove himself all over again coming back from that awful injury. Good luck Brian.
  • Coleman – Yes. If he can replicate the form of last season he can prove to be one of the best goal-scoring right-back's in Europe, a very rare breed indeed.
  • McGeady – No. A bit part player at the moment, fades in and out of games, not a 90-minute man.
  • Mirallas – Possibly. Still not found any great consistency, tends to be a little selfish and can be prone to a tantrum. The raw ability and pace is there though.
  • Osman – No. Always had the skill level but sadly not the upper body strength required to reach the next level. A diminishing talent.
  • McCarthy – Yes. His best years are clearly ahead of him, needs to add a few goals when we are going for the kill, but that will come with time. A future Everton captain for me.
  • Barkley – Yes, but he would be mostly used as a substitute at Chelsea or City. England's next big hope. Requires goals and assists this season to prove he can live up to the hype. The only way forward for Ross is to leave him in that final third – leave the defensive midfield duties to those that play there!
  • Pienaar – No. Past his best, poor goal return and slows play too much.
  • Barry – Yes, but obviously not a regular at City or Chelsea, you would have thought. A great signing for us, so cool on the ball he makes every game look easy. Brings a calmness to our defence.
  • Koné – No. Yet to see him play a few games to pass judgement. Double figures would be a great achievement at this stage of his career.
  • Naismith – No. Doesn't posses the pace to worry Premier League defences; good movement around the box makes space for other players though.

So, if we do manage another 70-plus points this season, I think it's nothing short of miraculous with our current squad. We will make a few more signings before the window shuts, but we really do need that striker and another winger in at least. I have left the youth out for obvious reasons, but I am hopeful one or two will make the grade. Whatever happens, I am certain we will 'Punch above our weight' again!

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Reader Comments (113)

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Jay Harris
1 Posted 14/07/2014 at 14:57:15
Kevin,
thatÂ’s the most depressing post IÂ’ve ever read.

At this moment in time IMO we have a squad that is probably 6th or 7th best but is capable with a bit of luck of challenging for top 4.

You seem to have written off 90% of the squad but again IMO we have some concrete to build on as long as we get the anticipated funding for new players.

I get the impression RM is building a dynasty here similar to what Ferguson did at Utd by buying up lots of top class youth players and moulding them into a top 4 team.

In the meantime I expect next season to be a temporary setback as we take on the Europa and top 4 challenge with a small but highly capable squad.

Jim Lloyd
2 Posted 14/07/2014 at 15:19:13
I agree Kevin but I think IÂ’d include Man Utd and Spurs in the list, They are all in the super rich bracket compared to ourselves.

However, we achieved 5th last season which was remarkable considering the money spent elsewhere. This year, Man Utd will be spending heavily and Spurs maybe not so much but they bought a shed load last season and letÂ’s see how their new manager progresses.

So I donÂ’t see us doing much better than 6th but I think we will do well next season if we have good cup runs and challenge for 6th/5th again.

I too think Robbie is building a dynasty, as Jay has said but I think we will gain a lot from young players, good players, will look at Everton as a good place to come and be successful. So itÂ’s going to take time but I also think we need to have a change in the board. Someone with cash, and lots of it!

By the way, a very small detour so apologies. IÂ’ve just gone past the ground this dinnertime and at last theyÂ’ve got rid of that bloody awful toytown badge and replaced it with a proper one. IÂ’d have preferred us to have had a different badge but this current one is, imho, at least dignified and it looks good on the side of the Goodison Road stand.

Chris James
3 Posted 14/07/2014 at 15:37:25
I agree the post is depressing (and will disagree with some rankings in a second post), one thing I would say post World Cup, that was VERY telling there, is the ability for well drilled teams without the most outstanding players to compete against stars.

Granted a few stars shone, but in the most part the teams battled on. You could easily argue that both Germany and Argentina had a collection of less stellar names than some of the competitors (Spain collapsed as did Italy, Portugal, England and ultimately Brazil; Belgium looked pretty lacklustre despite all their supposed stars whilst Costa Rica, the USA, Mexico, Switzerland, Algeria and even Greece gave a great showing with supposedly lower class players).

Clearly last season was a great opportunity that in the end we just couldnÂ’t manage to take, but with the same principles, team spirit and belief and maybe a little freshness and quality (which yes does need to be bought!) I think top 6 is realistic and beyond that, top 4 is difficult, yes, but not impossible.

The counter argument is that we are less of a surprise package in terms of playing style this year and Man Utd (top class manager and numerous signings minus European distractions), Arsenal (an actual strike force) and Chelsea (Costa alone will make a massive difference, Fabregas could be immense too) will be stronger, whilst City arenÂ’t getting any weaker. Beyond this Liverpool will be a threat (but are definitely a weaker side) and Spurs you never know. However, you only need one of these to have a wobble as Arsenal did and opportunity knocks.

Kevin Gillen
5 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:02:15
All the top four teams from last year have strengthened and so have Manchester United who wonÂ’t have the European pie and peas cup to worry about. Why oh why have we bought our season tickets? I hope to see some great football and some epic contests in which we generally come second but if we break into a Champions league spot I will be staggered. You canÂ’t blame the author of this article for being realistic.
Patrick Murphy
6 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:07:48
How does our squad compare to the rest of the division then? We seem to overestimate the qualities of other players in other teams particularly those not too far away but rubbish our own players who on the whole have proven for season after season that they can compete with all of the teams in the Premier League and quite often come out on top. Of course we are short of real top quality but what do people expect when the spending power of the club is so far short of many of the clubs in the top-flight.

Get behind whoever pulls on the jersey next season and if they are not quite up to the mark as far as ability goes they would benefit from knowing that 35,000 Evertonians are there to support them - or do people only buy season tickets for the sake of it?

Lyndon Lloyd
7 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:16:58
Kevin, youÂ’ve chosen to pen a piece on the squadÂ’s prospects for next season at the start of the transfer window and elected to dwell on the negatives in the case of almost every player.

Quite why you would choose to highlight a perceived negative of the players who took us to the brink of Champions League football last season baffles me. You could just as easily suggest that those players will be better for being a year on under the management of Roberto Martinez.

At least wait to see what the squad looks like a) when the season kicks off and then b) when the transfer window before giving us your "reality check."

Kunal Desai
8 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:03:35
What do you expect Leon Osman to say? "Man Utd and Spurs will be stronger so weÂ’ll look to hopefully 7th this time around"??? Of Course he has got to pedal out the same old schpiel that has been done on numerous occasions in the past by the likes of Howard, Jagielka and a few others to name.

This club seems renowned for plenty of talk talk talk and fails to deliver on the pitch. IÂ’d rather players shut up about 4th and just take each game as it comes. The analysis of those players above is spot on, unfortunately therein lies the real truth where many of our players are: simply average and no matter how much coaching they receive they will not become quality players over time. The only way to have such quality is........yes youÂ’ve guessed it - look at the Chairman and board.

Yet again the finger should be pointed at BK. Players can say all they want about a top 4 challenge, but most fans know that 4th wonÂ’t happen barring a substantial spend on players (㿔m odd). 7th heaven looms.

Raymond Fox
9 Posted 14/07/2014 at 15:42:22
Kevin your spot on with your assessment of the squad, my worry is quite a few will need replacing in the next 1 or 2 years, but where will the money be coming from?

We desperately need to win something to increase our profile and sponsorship, because like it or not money is a large factor in the success stakes!

We have the manager in Martinez that is capable of enabling us to bust this glass ceiling, but he has to be given the tools in the shape of more top quality players to compete with the likes Utd + the usual suspects.

The board now have the best opportunity for many a year to bring the long awaited CL place or cup success,
if they donÂ’t spend big in this window it will be extremely disappointing.

Jamie Barlow
11 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:28:19
Just because certain players individually wouldnÂ’t get in to any of the top 4 sides (a few I donÂ’t agree with) doesnÂ’t mean we canÂ’t get in to the top 4 as a team.

Dominic Tonge
12 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:06:26
I have to disagree with the rankings for a few of those players:

Tim Howard had a standout showing in the world cup, garnered praise from all pundits, has proven to be a good solid performer for us and It would take a Top keeper to replace him. I would say Arsenal would take him all day long. Liverpool too.

I think Jags and Distin would both walk into the Liverpool side ( then look at the shower that made up the rest of that backline, shake thier heads in dismay and call a taxi back to Finch Farm). I also would have Distin over Mertersaker at Arsenal as he is better on the ball, and is faster off the mark and over a distance. I would also prefer either of them to DeMichelis at City. Barry was better than Henderson, and the Arsenal games showed our deep lying midfielders could mix it and also dictate the tempo of a game. Barry or Arteta..... Gaz Baz or Obi Mikel.... Step forward GB. We have the best pairing of marauding full backs in the league, If Oviedo gets back to fitness and slots back in so be it. Baines and coleman would get into The arsenal side, City side and in fact any prem side.

I think Naismith looked good last season when he played in his actual position and he speaks about how Martinez has and is continuing to improve him as a player. I can see your point about JR, and AA. I donÂ’t think they are good enough to make an impact for us. Gibson on song and fit is a great player (granted the and fit part isan issue) but again I have to say I prefer him to henderson or Mikel. Especially if there is a.n other back up player.

Kone. Hmmmmmm I personally am not overwhelmed by him, infact he would have to do well to underwhelm me- But We will see, the Boss likes him, and he did Ok at wigan; we are playing Martinez football now, and Kone is familiar with the setup, and now alongside players of better quality and consistency(performaces , not being made of custard or jelly) so he might yet flourish.

Throw in a few promising youngsters a la Stones, Ross, Dufus, Green etc, and the fact that the U18s wob the title and the possible arrival of besic and/ or Lukaku and I think all is not so bad.
Rather this than Mitch Ward or Claus Thompson anyday. Oh yeah, and our yearly Catan loanee has yet to be invieled too. SIN MIEDO !
Jim Lloyd
13 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:46:49
Patrick,

I donÂ’t think any post on here was in any way undermining our team and IÂ’m sure the vast majority of Evertonians will back the team 100%. Nor was Kevin likening our players to the rest of the division. He was just pointing out, in his view, how few players that we currently have in our first team would be regular players in last seasonÂ’s Top Four. I generally agree with him.

It isnÂ’t rubbishing our players, it is pointing out the gulf that we have to cross in order to get into the top four. Of course it doesnÂ’t mean we cannot possibly get into the top four. KevinÂ’s point is that with the current playing squad, it will be extremely difficult. I agree with him and I canÂ’t see us doing more than challenging for a top six spot. If we managed to get into fifth, or even forth it would be a magnificent achievement.

I think Lyndon has also criticised Kevin for his post unfairly. Of course things might look very different in a few weeks time and weÂ’ll find out tomorrow if what our butcher has told me is correct, that weÂ’ve already signed one up. But as it stands, with the players mentioned above, I believe we would do magnificently to get to sixth.

I think Jamie has said something important thatÂ’s being discussed on another thread and it will play a big part of where all the teams finish up and around the top six places. That is the "Team" spirit, which weÂ’ve got in abundance. It could cancel out some of the advantages that the moneyed clubs have. WeÂ’ll see.

Robert Collins
14 Posted 14/07/2014 at 16:44:35
Kevin,

I recall our early-80s no-hopes under Kendall; I was at one deep winter game vs Norwich: we were crap and we lost 0-2, attendance about 14,000.

"Kendall Out! Kendall Out!!!" the crowd roared inside and outside GP. If you want depression, that was the squad/team to give it to you!

Then came Andy Gray a few months later. Just one player seemed to change everything and transform the club into Champions.

WeÂ’ve just had a good season weÂ’ve got some good kids coming through, some very experienced older pros and a decent manager with bags of energy and ability.

ItÂ’s so easy to take individual players in isolation and hack them to bits, but itÂ’s not fair; itÂ’s how they play as a unit that matters and last season they werenÂ’t too bad.

Wait and see who Roberto brings in and how they play as a whole; last season, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts... it might be the same again next season?

Colin Williams
15 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:12:54
Kevin, spot on with your assessment. Hopefully, the right type of recruits are on the way!
Antony Matthews
16 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:18:23
The reality is Man U have just signed a 750M sponsorship deal with Adidas over the next 10 yrs. What chance now of top 4 when we are competing against that. Maybe if we can break the top 4 we can go back to Chang for more. Then again knowing our marketing team we will get zilch.
Tony J Williams
18 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:39:00
Far to simplistic to point by out personal weaknesses.

Perfect cliche is that the whole is greater than the sum of itÂ’s parts....or something like that.

Steve Pugh
19 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:47:57
So which of the top four goalkeepers are better than Tim Howard?

Joe Hart - do me a favour
Petr Cech - made loads of mistakes last season
Mignolet - outstanding against us, found wanting at other times
Szczesny - getting better but still a long way to go.

Tim Howard would get into all of their first teams.

As for the other positions IÂ’ll let other people look at those

Kevin Tully
20 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:48:57
Lyndon, I thought this piece may upset a few, but it was an honest appraisal of this squad as it stands. It is obviously being premature to write off our campaign before the window has even got into full swing, but we need to open our eyes a little - this squad needs major surgery.

If it is viewed as being negative by asking if Pienaar would get into the Chelsea or Liverpool side when discussing our chances, then so be it, but it wasnÂ’t my intention. I want to highlight how our side perceived by these other clubs, brought home by the Fellaini debacle at Utd - our best player is considered their worst!

I realise itÂ’s not the time for this debate - but it may be the right time to realise just what lays ahead if we donÂ’t start integrating some class signings into this squad. No more journeymen please!

Robert Collins
21 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:58:48
Tony J Williams @18

Last seasonÂ’s performance was proof of "the sum of the parts", the performances of Holland, Chile, Columbia, USA and Costa Rica.

Examples of the whole being less that the sum of the parts are Brazil and Belgium.

What have you contributed to this other than condescending and witless criticism?

Mike Allison
22 Posted 14/07/2014 at 18:05:34
Tony #18 has made the main point. Football isnÂ’t simply about the sum of the parts, thatÂ’s why managers are so important.

WeÂ’re Lukaku and probably three or four others away from having a good enough squad to be in with a shout, and we have four weeks to sign them for the first game, and roughly another three after that to get them in for the season. All KevinÂ’s post really does is tell us what we already know, we need to sign some decent players. I donÂ’t mean this as a criticism Kevin, thereÂ’s little else to talk about so you might as well.

Those fretting over the loss of Deulofeu, his actual contribution last year was 900 minutes (10 full games worth) 3 goals, 4 assists. ItÂ’s not nothing but itÂ’s hardly panic stations.

Danny James
24 Posted 14/07/2014 at 18:13:27
So basically 7 out of our 1st 11 are top 4 players. 3 defenders and 4 midfielders. I donÂ’t think 7 out of Man UtdÂ’s 1st team are top 4. Are 7 out of 11 for The Shite? Probably not.

How about Arsenal? Basically our 1st team is good enough for top 4 challenge then itÂ’s just injuries that cost us. Sign Besic and Lukaku and we are serious contenders for top 4. ThatÂ’s how I read what youÂ’re saying.

Wayne Smyth
25 Posted 14/07/2014 at 17:59:29
This article is wrong largely for the reasons Tony (18) and Lyndon (7) point out.

ItÂ’s worth remembering this team of no-marks out-footballed Arsenal, beat Man Utd at their patch, and only missed out on Champions League football by the narrowest of margins, eclipsing heavy spenders like Man Utd and Spurs in the process.

Rich teams have out-spent us for many years; that is nothing new. Yet every season we seem to get ahead of at least one or two of them, when on paper our players are not as talented or as well paid and our squad is not as deep.

Some big elements to determining who finishes where are stability, managerial quality, and squad morale/desire.

We have stability is spades. Our manager knows he isnÂ’t under massive pressure to deliver Champions League football. He doesnÂ’t fear for his job and the club is not reliant on that cash. BK gives him carte blanche to do what he likes within the financial constraints of the club. He doesnÂ’t have to buy, sell or play a certain player on BKÂ’s say-so. He can concentrate on what heÂ’s good at.

Managerial quality I think we also have in abundance. Roberto has proven himself to be excellent at using the loan market to better effect than any other manager, and is clearly someone the players want to play for. He is good at improving the players we have and has shown remarkable ability to make match-winning substitutions. Importantly he has also given us a winning mentality, as opposed to the must-not-lose mentality we had until recently.

The squad is also very settled and seems very happy. We donÂ’t have 10 new first team players coming in each season and we have a good blend of experience and youth. There arenÂ’t really any particularly massive egos at the club and everyone seems well grounded compared to the richer clubs weÂ’re up against.

In any case, I think most people are missing the point. Roberto clearly has long-term goals for us. What happens next season is not of major concern to me. He has said he has a 5-year plan. I suspect he will be here and planning for longer term than that too. IÂ’m actually quite excited about our long-term prospects if we can keep hold of RM.

Lyndon Lloyd
26 Posted 14/07/2014 at 18:42:35
Kevin, I have no problem with an honest appraisal of the squad as it stands but I think to suggest it needs "major surgery" is a bit hyperbolic.

The point isnÂ’t so much for me how many of our players would get into last seasonÂ’s top four teamsÂ’ first IXs, itÂ’s how those players can be knit into a cohesive, winning unit.

Taking EnglandÂ’s performance as the World Cup as a prime example, you can throw the best players in the country together but, unless thereÂ’s a plan and a system, it wonÂ’t matter.

Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines are magnificent in an Everton jersey, two members of the third best defence in the Premier League last season, but were exposed under that old fossil Roy Hodgson in a poorly managed England team and then singled out of unwarranted criticism by the media.

The current squad is not the one we will start the season with. Martinez will make additions and those additions will improve both the squad and, probably, the performance of the existing players within that team. As I said before, I think itÂ’s too early for reality checks because there is no final reality yet to evaluate.

Paul Tran
27 Posted 14/07/2014 at 18:23:43
Another post making the assumption that everyone else is going to strengthen and weÂ’re going to stand still.

WeÂ’ve put up with years of being told realism is all we can hope for, which resulted in us being realistically mediocre, realistically unambitious and realistically satisfied with it all.

My take is that we progressed last season, the existing players will be more competent and confident playing the Martinez way, the deadwood cast off last season will be replaced by better quality and weÂ’ll be a better side. How much better will be dictated by how mentally stronger we will be.

My hunch is that while we may not be able to afford attract the 㿀m + players, we are now seen as a good catch for the players one rung below – a motivating manager, a team progressing and a regular game if you perform.
These are the guys we can afford, the ones who will either give us the success we want and/or we make a profit from when the richer clubs come.

IÂ’m expecting top six, IÂ’m hoping for at least one cup success. I think my assessment is realistic based on better manager, better squad and momentum.

Apologies for the absence of Â’factsÂ’, but I canÂ’t understand some of the pessimism on here. People keep talking about the difference post-Moyes and then hark back to that restrictive Â’realismÂ’ that held the club back.

For me, better manager, better squad, more flexible tactics, more attractive to better players equals optimism.

Right, on with the helmet, prepare for the attack of the realists....

Paul Andrews
28 Posted 14/07/2014 at 19:14:28
Paul Tran,

Well said.
Agree 100%

Raymond Fox
29 Posted 14/07/2014 at 18:35:48
Good post, Wayne (25), I think youÂ’re correct to say that RM intends to lead the club to success predominantly by developing a team through our youth system, that seems to be his aim over time. LetÂ’s hope he can pull it off.

As I posted earlier, a concern for me is that we have 7 or 8 in our squad that we will have to be replaced in the next season or two; I suppose itÂ’s possible that the transition can be managed by some purchases, loans and young players stepping up to the plate... time will tell. ItÂ’s going to require more patience by us fans though, many of which have been deprived of any trophies/honours for far too long, include me in that!

This season will be interesting if nothing else and will maybe give us a better indication of where Martinez is capable of leading the club.

Christopher Kelly
30 Posted 14/07/2014 at 19:18:12
Maybe we should take a peek down the way at Atletico to see what can be achieved by working hard and playing together. With that said, itÂ’s been very difficult watching other teams sign great players and us trudge along as we always seem to do. I do agree with most if not all of your analysis, however, of the players; I just think the timing may be off a bit.

The thing with RM is heÂ’s such a positive guy that players will want to play for him, and that means we need to really wait until the window closes to make any sort of conclusions here on what our squad will look like.

Bill Gall
31 Posted 14/07/2014 at 19:20:33
I agree with Paul Tran. With Mr MartinezÂ’s quote that he has a 5-year plan, all the talk about signing 㿀-25M players is IMO mostly media speculation. Most supporters realise that it may not be in the realms of impossibility that it may happen; realistically it may create a serious problem in the Clubs wage structure that could put Everton on a slippy financial slope without regular success yearly.

Nobody needs reminding how BK and his cronies use monies coming in to the club and looking how other clubs around and below us in the league are without big money backers they may regrettably deserve some credit keeping the club on a fairly stable condition. (I realise that this comment will bring a number of negative comments.)

This season I expect we will be very competitive and pre season with his 5-year plan in mind Mr Martinez will bring in 20- to 24-year-old players. Hopefully a striker and a creative midfielder instead of all the holding midfielders we are listed as being interested in.

All signings will be based on the wage structure at Everton and that will determine the transfer fee and the players wages. At this time, it seems it is cheaper to get young foreign players than English ones in the 20- to 24-year age range.

Peter Lee
32 Posted 14/07/2014 at 19:41:32
Our defence was, as has been said, the third best in the Prem. We werenÂ’t lucky, it didnÂ’t happen by accident. If you look at our first choice five and the two DM players as a unit, transplanted to Spurs, Arsenal, Man Utd and certainly our cuddly neighbours, they would all have done better than they did. WeÂ’ve still got them, theyÂ’ve largely, so far, got what they had.

Would you swap?

We need to see more quality wide and up front. If we get it or if it comes from what we have we are in for a belting season. Who knows what we can achieve?

IÂ’m a glass half-full man myself, but on a related pastime, it would be helpful of all the JobÂ’s comforters who post here could let us know where they drink pre/post match and I can avoid said watering holes like the plague.

And before someone tells me again that it is being realistic, it isn’t – it’s just an opinion. I know which opinions sustain me.

Dennis Stevens
33 Posted 14/07/2014 at 20:47:28
Reality check: thereÂ’s probably a bit of transfer activity to happen yet!
Kevin Tully
34 Posted 14/07/2014 at 20:51:51
I just donÂ’t see any more ٢-8m players making us any better. I would rather we spent 㿅m on two James McCarthyÂ’s than four AnichebeÂ’s!

Paul Andrews
35 Posted 14/07/2014 at 20:59:48
How about 12 Tim Cahills?
Nick Wall
36 Posted 14/07/2014 at 21:07:52
In Baines and Coleman we have the best pair of attacking wing backs in the league. And thatÂ’s not even a controversial statement.

Stones and Barkley are two of the most exciting English players right now : thereÂ’s not a club in the country that wouldnÂ’t love to have them.

ThereÂ’s a decent chance that we could sign Lukaku in the next month. I see signs he could develop a really good understanding with Barkley. And we wonÂ’t be forced to play him all the time as we did last season because weÂ’ll have other strikers like Kone and probably Traore who can come off the bench.

What a great crop of young players we have, and the likes of Jagielka, Osman, Barry and Baines can provide them with the kind of leadership and support that they need.

Overall our squadÂ’s not looking bad at all, IÂ’d also like to see us bring in a pacey winger to replace Deulofeu.

Mike Oates
37 Posted 14/07/2014 at 21:23:21
Like it or lump it, history quite clearly shows that the clubs paying the biggest wages, ie, richest, are the ones who are successful in winning things. After witnessing another huge income stream to Man Utd today with 𧾦M shirt sponsorship over 10 years – yes, 㿷M per year, they suddenly have 㿲m more than us a year to start with on shirts and they also have another 𧷤M in gates & sponsorships.

Sanchez on 𧴵k/wk at Arsenal, Costa 𧵄k/wk with Chelsea and our max is 㿷k!!! It doesnÂ’t take long for our kids to realise that they could be on another ٢M a year elsewhere. The reality check is income generation – not comparing individual players.

Wayne Smyth
38 Posted 14/07/2014 at 21:21:44
Kevin, Stones was ١m if my memory serves me right and I think Martinez is hoping to mainly get players in of that age ability and price, then improve them and play them.

HeÂ’ll also perhaps complement them by one marquee signing like Lukaku if he comes available in an affordable price range.

DonÂ’t forget, we can waste 㾻M on average players the same as for ٣M. What IÂ’m glad weÂ’ve seen the back of are signings like Hitzlsperger, McFadden and Stracq who were clearly not of Premier League quality and importantly had no ability to improve.

Personally IÂ’m comfortable with a philosophy that we have to buy talented players with potential and develop them. ItÂ’s the only way a club like ours can compete with other clubs who can attract 㿷M / season kit sponsors.

Martin Faulkner
39 Posted 14/07/2014 at 21:40:40
IÂ’ve seen mentioned on a few threads now so for all those banging on about taking a look at Atletico for a way forward, maybe they should read this first...
http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2914/champions-league/2014/04/30/4785365/why-debt-ridden-atletico-madrid-should-not-be-considered-a...

TheyÂ’re a financial basket case, shouldnÂ’t have been allowed in the Champions League, their debts are that bad, had their Europa League money withheld under FFP rules then given back...

Mike McLoughlin
40 Posted 14/07/2014 at 21:16:58
Martinez is known for finding gems in players in the transfer market, eg, James McCarthy, Antonio Valencia, Manuel Rodallega, to name just a few. I hope he comes up with unknown gems in the future for the blues.

I think Kevin is reasonably accurate in his assessment of the squad, but the thing is, we donÂ’t want them playing for these other teams. They play well for the Blues thatÂ’s what we want to see.

Like has been mentioned, we beat and outplayed a number of the top teams last season, so no reason we canÂ’t do the same again.

Darryl Ritchie
41 Posted 14/07/2014 at 22:28:54
Reality as I see it.... by position-

Keeper – solid, with adequate backup. Will have to be addressed in few years, but not now.

CBs – getting a little long in the tooth; with the exception of Stones. CBs have longer careers than most, but 36 is pushing it. Again, will need to be looked at, but not next season.

Fullbacks – set.

Midfield – nice mix of youth and experience. Holding part is very good; Ross could use some help up front, though.

Wingers – right side is good; left side needs a bit of cover for Pienaar. Oviedo’s coming back but not for a while.

Striker – HELP!!!!

IÂ’m pretty confident Roberto will sort things out.

Tony J Williams
43 Posted 15/07/2014 at 01:18:12
"What have you contributed to this other than condescending and witless criticism."

Where did that come from?

I made a perfectly valid point, where was the criticism?

David Ellis
44 Posted 15/07/2014 at 03:33:31
Robert Collins@21 - yep a bit out of order there. Tony is quite right and certainly not witless.

It’s the whole that matters rather than sum of the parts. Of course sometimes the sum of the parts is less than the whole – particularly when players don’t play much together... like international football, or when there have been a lot of new signings or where the club is full of me me me egos, or where the squad is too large and too many players are left grumbling on the sidelines, or where the fans are obsessed with every defeat or where the manager is on a personal power trip and believes his own hype – fortunately this describes our competitors fairly well.

Darren Hind
45 Posted 15/07/2014 at 05:56:54
Off the top of me head I can think of at least 20 members of the squads who finished top four, who I personally would not let anywhere near Goodison – unless he had paid for his ticket. Why aren’t they getting a mention.

A skewed logic pervades Evertonia. Whilst many of us felt the last manager held back this group of players, they were still able to push hard at the glass ceiling on a regular basis. Surely a decent manager would make our challenge even stronger? ... right?

OK we fell a little short last season, but the understanding between the players and the manager has developed still further, surely that and a few decent signings should give us cause for optimism?

I donÂ’t understand your point, Kevin. If you are a massive fan of Martinez and the "positivity he brings" why are you so negative?

I donÂ’t get all this talking down of our squad in order to lower expectations and remove any pressure on the manager. DidnÂ’t we just rid ourselves of that mindset? Surely we should be challenging him to prove he has what it takes?

We must have the most miserable happy clappers in football.

Ray Roche
46 Posted 15/07/2014 at 07:35:43
Darren, "OK we fell a little short last season,".

Correct, and why? Because of insufficient investment in the team BEFORE the season began. IÂ’ve said before that the points dropped against inferior opposition and before our loan signings (plus McCarthy) resulted in enough dropped points to ensure that we would always struggle to make 4th, despite being in that position towards the run in. We had no room to manoeuvre.

Unless/until Kenwright getÂ’s his arse in gear and Martinez brings in the players he has "identified" as being what is needed to push us on again, we shall continue to see the dismay and frustration evident in these posts.

Matt Traynor
47 Posted 15/07/2014 at 08:19:25
Ray #46 I would add that a too-quiet January, seeing Jelavic and Heitinga leave, and only bringing in McGeady, was also a contributing factor. As it has been in seasons previous. Forget the excuses about January not being a good time to buy etc – there’s plenty of examples of good players moving in the mid-season transfer windows, either on loan or permanently.

I wouldnÂ’t wait for Kenwright to "get his arse in gear" either. Until someone offers the asking price, which gives him and cohorts a whacking great profit for no investment, heÂ’ll continue to do what heÂ’s done since heÂ’s been on the board.

Ralph Basnett
48 Posted 15/07/2014 at 08:29:25
Does not bringing the new signings in until the dong strikes 12, saving enough money on their salaries to justify not getting 4th?

Last year, Spurs spent early as they knew Bale was going; ditto them over the park... but we have known how little or lot we have and therefore should have brought players in earlier; if they are undecided (or waiting for better offers), then they are obviously not right for us.

Last season we dallied and had poor results against beatable teams; this time around, it will be a draw away to Leicester followed by home defeats to two of our rivals if players are not bought in now and given them time to gel.

Same old, same old Everton. Cheers Bill!!!

Phil Sammon
49 Posted 15/07/2014 at 09:00:41
What do people think of McGeady? I havenÂ’t seen much of him other than his short time in an Everton shirt. I love watching him though. IÂ’ve never seen a player so tricky with a ball at his feet. His impact and effectiveness is obviously a whole other matter... but he really puts a smile on my face.
Ray Roche
50 Posted 15/07/2014 at 09:04:10
Agreed, Matt, we often seem to miss the boat in January as well, but the dropped points against WBA, Norwich and Cardiff in our first three games – that’s 6 points – were very costly, in my opinion.

Kenwright? He doesnÂ’t want to sell; he only wants someone thick enough to invest while he stays in power.

Andrew Ellams
51 Posted 15/07/2014 at 09:13:46
Phil, I donÂ’t think we have seen enough of McGeady yet to make any Yes or No decisions but I do think he at least needs some serious competition to keep him interested... as does Mirallas.
Phil Walling
52 Posted 15/07/2014 at 09:37:07
I think everyone agrees we had a good season last time round. The Roberto factor had much to do with this with many of our lads playing out of their skins for the new manager.

Whilst Kevin’s assessment of individual strengths – and weaknesses – is accurate enough, it ignores this factor. Obviously ’when they’ve heard it all before’, the efficacy of the manager’s positivity wanes a little and that is why it is vital to constantly freshen up the squad with new faces.

So where we finish next season will depend on the ability of the manager to attract reinforcements and the will of the Board to back him in this task.

Not allowed to say ’seventhish’ – so how about ’just a couple of places below last season’ as my forecast finish.

Dave Roberts
53 Posted 15/07/2014 at 09:53:35
Just a couple of points to demonstrate what I think of the original post....

Â’Kone. No. Yet to see him play a few games to pass judgementÂ’.

So why pass judgement then?

Â’Naismith. No. DoesnÂ’t possess enough pace to worry PL defencesÂ’.

I remember him worrying a few last season!

If I had had a computer in 1984, I could have done a similar exercise with regard to that squad and would probably have decided there was nothing doing for us. But there was never a clearer case of the overall total being greater than the sum of the teamÂ’s individual parts.

Mike Gwyer
54 Posted 15/07/2014 at 10:06:48

Everyone from the media to every club in the UK, we can probably include most of the clubs in Europe, are fully aware that Everton need a striker. A striker who will bag around 20 goals a season and cost upwards of 㾻 to 20 million. They all know that BK will, at some time in the next 6 weeks, have to put his hands into the very, very deep pockets belonging to Everton FC and purchase a striker.

It would also seem to me that the Lukaku transfer has not yet begun... but, when it does, Everton will be at the very front of the queue. For me this is nailed on. Chelsea may want future promises from Everton (actually I feel this is a cert) regarding one or two of our players (and we all know who these two players are) but I do feel that Chelsea will be happier selling Lukaku to us rather than to Spurs, Arsenal or the RS.

Everton donÂ’t spend big money, full stop. So bagging a 㿀M player is going to take time. It is funny though that we are playing Chelsea, at home, on the 30th August. The Special One would be more than happy to let Lukaku go, post playing Everton at Goodison and BK would have about 24 hours of Sky transfer deadline day. It all makes sense.

Paul Andrews
55 Posted 15/07/2014 at 13:56:40
Dave Roberts,

Good post mate.

Southall – playing at Bury maybe take a chance.
Gary Stevens – Good full back; yes.
Derek Mountfield – 㿏,000 buy... probably not as we are often told you need to spend massively on players.
Kevin Ratcliffe – played left back earlier, thought not good enough to play centre half.
John Bailey – hic.
Trevor Steven – YES!
Peter Reid – knees are shot; borrow 㿨,000 off the bank but as we know only multi million £££a count.
Paul Bracewell – YES!
Kevin Sheedy – can’t get a game for Liverpool; worth a chance.
Graeme Sharp – YES!
Andy Gray – definitely not, needs regular cortisone injections: Finished.

Etc, etc.

Phil Roberts
56 Posted 15/07/2014 at 14:24:58
Amazing thing about that team in 84-85 – average age was just under 24½.

Oldest – Andy Gray at a shade under 30 at the end of the season. Not one player aged over 30 ever got a game, mind you, until the last two games of the season when it really was the reserves, there were none under 20 either.

How long could they have stayed together and dominated? No IÂ’m not bitter.

Thomas Lennon
57 Posted 15/07/2014 at 14:34:21
The World Cup Final on Sunday was one of the first times I have seen a keeper remind me of Southall – strikers running at him missed, came out and dominated his area for crosses, caught and quickly threw the ball half the length of the pitch to start an attack, outrageous confidence. Southall would have been comfortable in that game.

If anyone is too young to have seen Southall play, that display from Neuer had a lot in common with Southall’s display in ’95 and many more – and he was approaching the end of his career then!

So teams playing as one mean a lot, but great keepers win trophies.

Phil Roberts
58 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:03:57
Reason NS threw the ball out. For a while he has a bad groin and couldnÂ’t kick. That is why he had to develop his throwing.
Anthony Flack
59 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:20:01
Fuck me (sorry for the expletive). I am off work poorly for about the second time in 24 years. I was feeling better... then read this. Kevin, please never volunteer for the Samaritans.

The sentiment is that negative and bad, I was sorely tempted to hit the "flag this comment" button.....

Editors, seriously this is garbage.

Tony Doran
60 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:37:19
So you write off Distin on a presumption mistakes will creep into his game? What a dreadful post. ItÂ’s the sum of the parts my friend, who knows what will happen.
Anthony Flack
61 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:42:06
Sorry, I am not trying to rile the author or editors, just disappointed by the article.
Michael Kenrick
62 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:37:20
Anthony, flack seems to be all you can throw, when the OP has more than a grain of truth to it that sadly underlines our predicament against the monied teams — and yet, at the same time, it puts into sharp relief the brilliant work Roberto Martinez achieved in getting so much out of the squad last season.

As others have noted, the flaw is missing the Â’teamÂ’ aspect that was absent in the question Kevin posed. A number of comments (if you had taken any time to read them) bring this out very well.

If you're disappointed with the article, then best to offer a proper rebuttal (as others have), or just step away from the keyboard. No doubt youÂ’ll completely understand if we donÂ’t publish your next effort because we think it was Â’garbageÂ’.

Andrew Clare
63 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:47:44
Often itÂ’s just about getting the right blend of players together and I am sure that this what Roberto is going to do.

An astute manager will be able to put a top team together without spending a fortune. Roberto will do this. I am confident on the evidence of last season that we have nothing to worry about.

Some very good posts on here by the way.

Steavey Buckley
64 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:57:28
Who is going, coming and staying will depend largely how the pre-season goes. So expect transfer deals right up to when the transfer window closes on the 1st September.
Paul Andrews
65 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:06:48
Kevin Tully is one of the more positive posters on TW. Unlike one or two very negative contributors.

You can be certain he posted the article in the correct manner.

Anthony Flack
66 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:08:59
Ouch ouch ouch. I was not trying to throw anything, or get into a row, this sentiment I think I tried to communicate on my second post.

Michael your retort lacks a bit of style and is not what I expect. I am an avid and loyal user.

Kevin, I suspect I should apologise as it is unkind and unfair for me to label your efforts as garbage. They are certainly greater than mine. This is I think the point the Editor makes. Hopefully no harm done.

Dave Southword
67 Posted 15/07/2014 at 15:49:09
ItÂ’s probably worth pointing out that there are plenty of players in the top 4 clubs that one might regard as not up to scratch either.

Can anyone name LiverpoolÂ’s 4th choice centreback? Is he a massive upgrade on Alcaraz?

Reserve wingers... Moses was at Liverpool and contributed less than McGeady.

Is Gary Cahill vastly superior to Jags?

Who thinks Glen Johnson is a Champions League quality fullback?

Etc, etc. On top of which, add that we most definitely have a Champions League quality manager I wouldnÂ’t be too worried. New faces on the way as well!

Sam Hoare
68 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:06:57
Kevin this is the same squad that Moyes assembled that managed to finish in top 7 or so consistently plus the likes of Barkley, Stones, McCarthy and Barry who you rate as top 4 players. Plus we have a manager who you clearly rate considerably higher than you did Moyes so why is it that you think they are not capable of going one better than he did?

It feels a little like some of those who lambasted Moyes for not breaking the glass ceiling are all too soon prepared to accept the same thing from Martinez and are already out to make excuses for it.

It will of course be very hard to get top 4 due mainly to the financial gulf which is much more likely to be shown up in a league as opposed to a cup competition due to the number of games. However we cannot and must not write it off yet, otherwise whatÂ’s the point.

Kevin Tully
69 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:21:48
IÂ’ve got to be honest and say the OP was partly down to reading a few other fan forums over the past months or so (none half as good as ToffeeWeb, and all heavily edited) and making an effort to take the blue-tinted glasses off.

It wasnÂ’t a piece trying to be purposely provocative for the sake of it, more letÂ’s try and evaluate our squad against the top 4 plus Man Utd, as other fans may look at our squad.

ItÂ’s alright for us to try and make a case that Osman or Pienaar can take us to the Champions League, but really, can they?

Just to make my position clear, I am really hopeful we can bridge the financial gap that exists, and I always start every season honestly believing we can do it. I think if anyone can take us to the promised land, Martinez can. Even if we donÂ’t manage to have a great season, I am looking forward to witnessing some beautiful football, and fantastic goals.

As far as any insults go, they were expected (and forgotten) as I was criticising our team. Onwards and upwards Blues!

David Ellis
70 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:52:18
Kevin – it was a good OP and its a good thread.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
71 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:54:39
Sorry to have slapped you down there, Anthony, but your post was poor and offered nothing to the discussion. The final line was quite unnecessary as I hope you now accept, but required a response; thanks for the apology.
Jim Knightley
72 Posted 15/07/2014 at 16:35:28
I really do not think we will make top four. We were 7? points off fourth last season, and have European football to contend with now. I also think the top four and Man Utd will be stronger.

That said, I think this player rating exercise is perhaps a little reductive. Firstly, it is necessarily subjective. I don't see how Stones is rated as a top four player, or even Barkley at the moment, as both, whilst blessed with brilliant potential and ability, were very inconsistent last season. Is this exercise mean't to judge potential, or ability now? Similarly, what constitutes 'top four' ability? Howard on the other hand had a great season, and a great world cup. How many of the top four goalies were better than Howard last season? Mignolet certainty wasn't, nor Hart.

We could repeat this exercise with other squads. Are Mignolet, Flanagan or Johnson top four players? (let alone their squad). Did Hart perform like a top four player? What about Man City's left backs or central defenders?

I think we have a very good team, especially in terms of our defensive players. I think our back four, Barry and McCarthy are good enough as a unit to get top four. Similarly Stones, if he continues like he is, and Oviedo, can mature into brilliant players. I think the issue is with the attacking players. At the moment, I would see our first choice 4 as Pienaar, Barkley, Mirallas and Kone.

I'd see Arsenal's as Cazorla, Ozil, and two of Sanchez/Giroud/Walcott. Man City could use two strikers, probably Aguero and Dzeko, alongside Silva and Nasri or push Yaya up.

Liverpool's is the weakest of the four with Suarez's exit, but they still boast Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana (I believe he will displace Coutinho) and probably Markovic or the new striker they will add to the team.

Chelski will rotate a little, but could potentially use Hazard, Fabregas, Oscar and Costa. (Although I think that Fabregas will sometimes appear next to Matic, Oscar will play through the centre where is better, and Salah will fight for the right hand side with other players.)

This is our big issue. Barkley, for all his potential brilliance, did not score and assist enough in his role behind the striker. He needs to improve (and will). Mirallas is very effective but a little inconsistent. Pienaar is a better squad player than starter, as is Kone.

I also think that the top sides have far more depth in this areas, with the exception of Liverpool perhaps. Arsenal can call on Podolski, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky etc. Man City can use Negredo, Jovetic, Navas etc whilst Chelsea have a lot of midfield options even if they lack depth up front. Man Utd similarly have Van Persie, Rooney, Kagawa and Mata fighting for various roles, and will strengthen before this window is out.

I believe that the depth, winning mentality, Thursday football, and a lack of talent in attacking areas will ultimately cost us. I think we will probably finish behind high spending Liverpool and Man Utd sides.

We really need to concentrate on improving, and supplementing the attacking players in this window. The striker is the most obvious issue, and I think Lukaku is the most likely/exciting arrival, with Hernandez also a viable option perhaps.

We need to add creativity and a talented left sided player, and I think our transfer funds need to be used to address these areas. Loans could supplement the squad in readiness for a draining Europa league campaign and injuries.

But, whatever way I look at it, we look much better than 18 months ago. We've sold brilliantly, and got rid of a lot of high earners. Oviedo, Stones, Barkley and Coleman have all come on massively, and that is thanks to the transfer policy of Moyes and the development skills of Martinez. We can look forward to a good run in the Europa League, I expect, and will hopefully better represent ourselves in cup competitions this year (particularly the League Cup).

I don't think we should look at Champions League as a realistic option, but see where we are come December. Europa League football offers a means to increase our Uefa coefficient anyway, which will aid us if we get back into the Champions League in the near future. Whilst Europa is a drain, I also think that multiple European clubs have illustrated that it offers a good foundation for future Champions League football.

I want to see us continue the work of last season this, and in particular, to continue bringing down the age of the squad. I'm a big fan of what Moyes achieved on a shoestring, but the squad he left was too old, whilst I do not believe that he had the ability to mature youths in the way that Martinez does. If we manage to bring in Lukaku, Besic and one or two other youngsters, I think that we will go a long way to constructing one of the most talented younger squads in the league.

Phil Walling
73 Posted 15/07/2014 at 17:48:58
Sorry to be controversial yet again but seeing the comments of Jim above re. Barkley, I have to say that all last season, I held the view that Fellaini had been a much better 'striker support' player than Barkley appeared to be.

Don't get me wrong, the lad has great potential and will grow into the role ( and the 㿈M might come in handy if RM ever sees it ! ) but player for player Felli was better in the role.

Ray Said
74 Posted 15/07/2014 at 17:48:06
ToffeeWebbers will recall how often Brian Clough filled his Forest team with players who would not have been first choice for his rivals yet his teams won everything. He was a team builder who knew exactly how he wanted to play and bought his players for their strengths and then built the team to cover weaknesses. For example, John Robertson on the left wing didnt like tracking back so Clough had Frank Clark playing behind him to cover. He had one centre back, Larry Lloyd, who liked to head and kick everything that moved and another centre back, Kenny Burns, who would cover behind Lloyd.

His teams were greater than the individual parts and I cant think of one player who looked better playing for other teams when they left Forest.

I think Martinez is capable of 'doing a Clough' with this team by adding just a couple of key players to the mix.

Paul Andrews
75 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:04:47
Phil,

Fellaini divides opinion,or did do before his performances last season.
Ross is 20 years of age,just starting his career.
If you give 18 Premier clubs a choice of a free signing between the two,how many clubs do you think would choose Fellaini?

Paul Andrews
76 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:04:47
Phil,

Fellaini divides opinion,or did do before his performances last season.
Ross is 20 years of age,just starting his career.
If you give 18 Premier clubs a choice of a free signing between the two,how many clubs do you think would choose Fellaini?

Wayne Smyth
77 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:03:51
Phil, I'd agree that in terms of goals scored and assists Fellaini might have been more effective.

Question is, would Felliani have been as effective under Martinez as he was under Moyes? I'd wager probably not. We did very well getting the fee we did and I wouldn't have him back because I think he is a liability in many respects.

I think the most important thing is the medium to long term with Barkley. Personally I'd like to see him played alongside McCarthy and have someone with more flair played in the hole, as I wonder exactly how creative he can become(i.e. probably not creative enough for most of us).

Barkley has the ability to run from deep with pace and would provide a bit more craft and attacking threat than playing with 2 defensive mids which is often not necessary.

John Raftery
78 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:02:05
Phil (73) I agree Fellaini always provided more assists and goals than Barkley did last season. Ross showed he can score spectacular goals and make some tremendous runs with the ball at his feet. He now needs to improve his passing and link up better with his team mates. There is no reason why he cannot do this if he stays focused (and stays with us).

Peter (32) if you are still on this thread, the reunion meeting is now scheduled for Friday 12th September from 4 p.m. Venue as previously mentioned. All our glasses will be full!

Phil Walling
79 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:32:18
I'm willing Barks to 'come through' and next season will be the crucial one. Businesswise, I'd take 㿊M if such an offer comes in.
Bobby Thomas
80 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:41:52
Phil #79

30 million for 20 year old Ross Barkley?

A decade after we got shafted on the 㿅 million Rooney deal?

After a period of billions of pounds flowing into the game and the biggest tv deal ever?

In the era a kid left back goes for 㿊m, a 26 year old Llallana costs 㿆m, Fellaini costs 㿇m, Mata's 㿖m and pick any of Spurs lot last season?

㿊 million for Ross would nearly be as bad as the Rooney deal.

Paul Andrews
81 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:51:20
Phil,

That type of business if carried out,will be indicative of why we will fall short of the Champions League positions

Colin Glassar
82 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:48:56
Ray Said, great post. You don't need a team of superstars to win the league, you need a team of players who understand what their roles are and will die for each other on the pitch.

Spurs and the RS will continue their scattergun approach buying anyone available and united are in transition. City, Arsenal and Chelsea look nailed on for the top 3 slots but 4th, IMO, will be up for grabs.

Our season will depend on who we buy (Lukaku is now 1/2 to sign for us) and will the squad remain relatively healthy compared to others. Last season I predicted a top 4 finish, this season I'm not so sure but anything is possible in football.

Matthew Roberts
83 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:09:29
30 million for Ross would be a disaster for us. This kid is being hyped up as the new Gazza! The media themselves have put an extra 20 mill on him. He’s 20, English and for us could be a marketing man’s gold! If he goes for less than 60 I will be disappointed, particularly in today’s prices where you can get 35 mill for a big lump like Carroll.
Ray Roche
84 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:00:31
Bobby, spot on.

Jim Knightley@72
Another good post, and I'm sure you know that the winners of the Europa League 2015 will gain entry into the Champions League. This is great if a club who entered the EL win it, but not so good if a club that is knocked out of the CL and parachutes into the EL go on to win the EL. In short, that is just another way of giving more cash to the already wealthy members of the Top 4 club.

Actually, and this is the stuff of wet dreams, if we won the Europa League, and the RS finished 4th, would they be dropped form the CL due to England having 4 entry's into the CL with us and the top 3? Please God.....

Rob Halligan
85 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:12:19
I agree with what you say Colin about not needing a team of super stars to win the league, look at Atletico Madrid last season who won La Liga. Their best known player, Diego Costa has finally signed for Chelsea. Be interesting to see how atletico fare next season.
On a slightly different note, Chelsea, manure, the shite and arsenal have so far spent 𧶏m between them. Billy boy better hurry up and pull his finger out.
Christopher Kelly
86 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:20:47
Martin you’re missing the point. Atletico plays for each other. That can not be underestimated. We have no hope other than that
Brian Harrison
87 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:33:16
Sadly money will usually dictate where clubs will finish in the league, yes there will always be exceptions but to expect us to always out perform far richer clubs is asking a lot. We have just seen Man Utd strike an eye watering deal with Addidas, getting 𧾦 million over 10 years, when you add there training kit deal with EON and there deal with Chrysler that amounts to 𧵋 million per year. To give some sort of perspective that is Spurs total turnover for the year including gate receipts and Sky money.

This deal also gives them a massive advantages over Chelsea and Man City who through the FFP cant possibly compete.

Phil Walling
88 Posted 15/07/2014 at 19:18:07
But he ain't the new Gazza, is he really. He makes the occasional good run and fires off a snorter.

He's another Oxcham, Wiltshire or Walcott who JUST might prove to be better. For certain he ain't another Rooney, so get real.

How many mega-deals does BB need to make before our club is debt free. We must be well on the way to stability. One more deal would fix it.

Raymond Fox
89 Posted 15/07/2014 at 18:23:51
To repeat myself, I think that Kev's assessment is fair, in fact if anything it flatters 1 or 2 of our players!

At this stage of their careers Coleman and Baines would be 1st choices for top 4 teams.
Barkley would be 1st choice 50% of the time, prob sub the other 50%.
McCarthy is difficult to place, wouldn't be a regular in the majority of the teams but would get some games.
Stones is not quite there yet, maybe subs bench.
Mirallas would get some games, maybe 25% of matches.

The bookies who make impartial judgements, agree with Phil, and have us as 7th choice in the betting behind the usual suspects.
I happen to agree that 7th is our likely finishing position, why, because at the moment our team is weaker with the loss of Lukaku and Del Boy (obviously this can all change and we may even end up with a stronger team) + lets not underestimate the strain on our resources that the Euro Comp. will prob. place on the team, in the shape of possible tiredness and extra injuries. ( Darren 45, you've conveniently forgot this last point when comparing this season with last + do you think Utd will be as bad?)

I'm not trying to belittle our players its my honest appraisal of their abilities.
Lets enjoy the season come what may, I don't imagine we will be biting our nails too much like the majority of the supporters in the Prem.

Paul Andrews
92 Posted 15/07/2014 at 20:16:31
"One more deal would fix it"

Haha can't fuckin breath here.

Patrick Murphy
93 Posted 15/07/2014 at 20:16:25
Barkley hasn't even made 50 appearances for Everton FC, yet some would like the club to cash in on one of our — in my opinion — most valuable assets. For God's sake, the game is about money for sure, but not at the expense of dismantling what has been built.

Barkley should be the fulcrum of Everton FC for the next five years as a younger set of players start to stake their claim for a first-team place. We need the experience of the older players to guide them and keep them honest, but if we sell the talented youngster... well, we might as well pack it all in.

Everton FC could argue with some validity that they had to sell Wayne Rooney as it would have been too expensive to keep him — even if he had wanted to stay. There is no such pressure to do the same with Barkley and so what if he doesn't fulfill his potential, I would far rather see him fail at Goodison than be successful elsewhere!

Duncan McDine
94 Posted 15/07/2014 at 20:31:37
Phil, I hope your "one more deal" comment was sarcasm at its best, especially as it may have almost killed the unsuspecting Paul Andrews!

Back in the Moyes era, I’d have possibly agreed with your idea of selling him for big bucks, but that’s been our philosophy for far too long. Now, I want to see what might happen if we keep our best players... it’s an untried tactic for BK, but it might just work!

Patrick Murphy
95 Posted 15/07/2014 at 20:42:34
Duncan isn't that the cry of the desperate gambler? - "One more deal and I'll be a rich beyond my wildest dreams."
Wayne Smyth
96 Posted 15/07/2014 at 21:02:21
Phil, I think Barkley has the potential to be better than Rooney. Rooney came into our first team at a time when our squad was devoid of talent and got his exposure at an earlier age and Rooney hasn't fulfilled his potential compared to what we were expecting.

Barkley had to fight to get into a better team, fight a broken leg at a critical point in his development, and then fight OFM who loved nothing better than leaving him in the reserves for 6 months every time he gave the ball away. Last season was his first proper season under a manager who believed in him and he scored some incredible goals.

If you don't think this kid can be better than Rooney is go back and view the quality of the strikes he scored and look at his composure under pressure.

Gazza was also a player who spectacularly failed to live up to his promise. Barkley seems to have his head screwed on more than Gazza and Rooney ever did, and this is the main reason he could be better than both.

I think in Stones and Barkley we have the two most gifted English players in that age group and personally I'd love to see Martinez bring in more quality players in that age group such as Besic and Lukaku and build a team capable of more effectively challenging for the top 4 in a few years time.

Paul Andrews
97 Posted 15/07/2014 at 21:36:29
㿊 million for the best young English talent in the Prem? You would be giving him away.

I firmly believe Barkley will be the best player in his position in the Prem in 18 months to 2 years.

Phil Walling
98 Posted 15/07/2014 at 23:09:21
Let's hope so, Paul... (as long as he's playing for us!)
Paul Andrews
99 Posted 15/07/2014 at 23:16:32
If he's not, it's because Mr Chairman has cashed in.

Again.

Phil Walling
100 Posted 16/07/2014 at 05:30:39
.....or because Mr Barkley wants to fill his pockets. The players do have a say, you know!
Anthony Flack
101 Posted 16/07/2014 at 08:28:43
After a previous ham-fisted lurch into this post, I decided to have another go. I have read through the body of posts so hope I am not repeating other sentiments.

I think most agree last season was great with a surge of optimism and a marked change in how we are viewed by other teams, emerging from being difficult to beat (as under Moyes) to a team praised for it style and approach. Relative to the top 4, we fell short in the main down to not quite having enough in the tanks relative to the top 4. Southampton sticks in my mind as the best indicator of that. Therefore is the squad for this season is thin and unlikely to challenge in the same way?

At the same time, I remember purring with pleasure at certain times last season, thinking that (with the exception of Man City), if given the chance, 6 or 7 of our team would get into the Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea side. I include Distin, Coleman, Barkley, McCarthy, Lukaku, Baines and maybe at a stretch Mirallas.

Seasons tend to be complex and ebb and flow: Spurs bombed; Arsenal dipped then came back strong; Liverpool unfortunately flew out of the blocks after that terrible night at Anfield and thankfully did not win it. Man Utd benefited from our old bosses charms and talents. I think this season will ebb and flow in different ways: Europe will have a big impact on us and I think Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea will carry on in a similar vein with the odd wobble but resources, management, and experience count, and will fill 3 of the top 5. I do not think Spurs will flourish – perhaps the odd exciting spike, driven forward by a desperate media – but I think they will finish below us.

So, as I ramble on, my view is that it is between us, Man Utd and Liverpool for 4th, which is going to be incredibly difficult, without serious additions to the squad. This of course is part of the point originally made.

Paul Andrews
102 Posted 16/07/2014 at 09:27:01
Phil Walling,

When it comes to outgoing transfers, the players can't get a word in edgeways.

Witness the blatant way he put Fellaini in the shop window in early Martinez press conferences.

Jim Lloyd
103 Posted 16/07/2014 at 09:46:37
I think Kevin is right in what he's posted. It doesn't mean that we are a team of no-marks as one poster put it; it means we have players that the teams who are our competitors would not buy. That is true and it's highly unlikely we would buy them, if we were a rich club with a load of top class players.

It just shows how much of a mountain we have to climb to get into the top four. It isn't being critical of how we performed last season, or hopefully how we will this season; if we get Lukaku permanently and a couple of other young, hungry players, then who knows?

I can't believe that someone is seriously suggesting we sell Ross Barkley. If we can keep him and Stonesy and bring in a few more young, quality players, and introduce some of the good players we have in the youth academy, then we'll definitely be on a long-term improvement path.

Harold Matthews
104 Posted 16/07/2014 at 19:52:09
Nice one KT. Got everyone buzzing. The Jim Knightley rival line-ups are pretty scary but I think we'll do OK.

As others have pointed out. Martinez is all about teamwork and team spirit. That's why he's reluctant to give permanent contracts to people he doesn't know. All for one and one for all. No prima donnas. No troublemakers. An ex player, he knows what's what.

Rich teams don't scare him. He'll plan for..and expect, 3 points every time. It's his way.

Other teams fear us and they should. On our day we can produce great stuff.

Harold Matthews
105 Posted 17/07/2014 at 07:48:29
Just gone 8am here in Hoylake. On my way to The Open. The course is 200 yards away. Should pick up a free goodie bag with water etc. Don't fancy paying ١ a bottle inside. Lovely sunny morning, very slight breeze.

Had a small bet on Henrik Stenson but the easy conditions might see an outsider shooting low. Thunderstorms forecast for the weekend but they never linger long over Hoylake. The winds will vary with the tide.

John Daly is staying next door. I told the landlady he was a big fella so she's given him an extra thick mattress.

Ray Roche
106 Posted 17/07/2014 at 09:20:09
You're a lucky lad, Harold.
Michael Brooks
107 Posted 17/07/2014 at 10:00:15
All our so-called competitors for the top 4 have spent big and look like they will continue, Everton may not stand still and could very well bring in a number of players, no more Wigan players fingers crossed.

However, what most have you seem to have forgotten after a very good season under Martinez, who I didn't rate. Everton's biggest problem is still there and looks like he will be for years to come, KENWRIGHT!!!

Jim Knightley
108 Posted 17/07/2014 at 11:38:42
I've got a feeling they changed that rule now Ray. I'm pretty sure all 5 would go into the Champions League in that scenario (unfortunately).

With respect to Barkley: valuing him in comparison to other select players is a little reductive, as other great youngsters have gone for around the 㿊mil mark or less. Goetze went for slightly over 㿊mil, and had achieved more than Barkley at that point. Thiago went for a little over 㿀mil, Isco and Hazard for around 30mil, and Kroos is moving for 㿀mil, even if specific circumstances surround that deal.

I've tried to select highly talented younger midfielders as a means to provoke a good price comparison: I could have pointed to the lower fees of Sturridge, Michu, Cazorla etc. I think 㿊mil at the moment is not unrealistic, because Barkley has only had one good but inconsistent season in the Premier League where, for all his ability, he has hogged the ball too much, and utterly failed to create as he should.

That said, I would not sell for 㿊mill at the moment. He lost a season because of his injury, and I hope that he can mature into the player we all hope he will be.

As other posters have mentioned, his nationality will benefit us if we are forced to sell at a later date. He is a natural football, and could become one of the league's best. But I think it's a big 'could', and last season despite all of his brilliance, he did not score and assist (especially) enough. Hopefully he will push on this season, along with our other talented youngsters.

Tony Pickering
109 Posted 17/07/2014 at 12:01:48
As regards CL dreams, I think Ray is right and the they put a maximum of four clubs from any one country. Not completely certain but came across the rules whilst checking how we could make the Europa a few months back.

My 10p worth on the thread title? Not very likely I fear. Probably sixth or seventh. Settle for that with a cup of any sort attached.

Love to see us in top four, but sadly, no matter how much more enjoyable last season, was I can't see us getting there. I would be one very happy bloke to be proved totally, utterly and stupidly wrong.

Jim Knightley
110 Posted 17/07/2014 at 12:38:39
Check these articles re. the 4 team limit. They also suggest that the Europa League winner will get automatic entry into the Champions League group stages:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/champions-league/10076205/England-could-be-awarded-five-spots-in-the-Champions-League-from-2015.html

http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11945/8730422/uefa-open-to-champions-league-including-five-english-teams

Tony Pickering
111 Posted 17/07/2014 at 13:16:28
Cheers Jim, take your word for what they say. Maybe the stuff I saw related to this coming year as that is what I was interested in at the time. I did find the EL winner bit at the time, so perhaps I misread it - think it was the UEFA site somewhere.

Whatever, the idea of kicking the RS out is certainly beguiling. (still a tad optimistic I fear, but lovely thought just the same!)

Jim Knightley
112 Posted 17/07/2014 at 13:50:53
Getting into the Champions League at the expense of Liverpool is certainly an optimistic thought worth having! There is one incredibly unlikely scenario which could still bring it about - If a team from the Premier League wins the Champions League but finishes outside the top four in the same season in which a team wins the Europa league and also finishes outside the top four. The chances are so minimal that's not worth discussing, but it does not seem to have been clarified in the few reports i've read. However, if it ever happens in any league it will be the Premier League given the strength in depth of our top six/seven clubs.

Whatever the future brings, the Champions League place prize for the Europa League makes the competition even more interesting. I think the initial stages will be as much about maintaining league form as the competition itself, given the probably straightforward nature of the initial group stage. But post-xmas it will be heat up, and we will need a big squad for the demands of league football, hopeful cup progression and Europe.

I'm a little ahead of myself though: It's only been 4 days since the World Cup ended, and I expect we will see at least 5 new Everton signings before then.

Karl Parsons
113 Posted 18/07/2014 at 22:04:58
I confess to not reading all the way thru this thread, so apologies if I have repeated the thoughts of someone else but I TOTALLY disagree with Kevin's observations.

To fragment the talent individually and base the assumptions on a figure is nonsense. Football is a team game so the collective is bigger than the sum of the parts.

Because we have a superb manager, a team spirit most admire and the passion of our fans behind us individual inadequacies can be carried by the intangible, as we have proved consistently.

Do I think we will win the league. No, Reality check over.

Nevertheless onward Evertonians!


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