How do we get into a stable midtable position by February 2024?

by   |   17/07/2023  26 Comments  [Jump to last]

With the knowledge that the club will find it very difficult because of poor contracts and transfers and bad decisions from previous years by upper management, what do supporters feel we need to finally stabilize us by February 2024 to avoid fighting against relegation?

Looking at the present squad of players, we need to sell but the problem will be other clubs know we need money and will go for the lowest price they can, and going the other way, knowing we want a player, they will want as much as they can. 

Going on today's players in a 4-3-3 formation:

Our goalkeeper Pickford is strong but the back-up is weak.

Article continues below video content

The back 4 of Patterson, Branthwaite, Tarkowski and Mykolenko may work out and have cover for injuries with Coleman, Holgate, Keane and Young. A couple of players could be sold to raise money for other areas.

Midfield is definitely an area where we can improve on the likes of Gbamin and Gomes if we can sell them. Dele Alli will not feature until he is better but there are no guarantees of the outcome; this leaves Doucoure, Onana, Iwobi, Gueye, and Garner. Depending on formation, this could be the strength of the team.

The forward line is again the problem as today we have McNiel,  Calvert-Lewin (if fit), Maupay (should be sold), Gray (who is reputed to be sold), and Cannon. They will be dependent on the midfield and, to me, this seems the weakest part of the team; if any transfer fees are available, this is where we should concentrate on spending.

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Reader Comments (26)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 18/07/2023 at 11:32:41
Bill (O/P) The squad certainly looks very depressing at the moment, surely it can only be improved for the opening game of the season and in Dyche we have a good solid manager who got us out of a big mess last season and if, what a big word that is, he can rustle together a few decent players, Dominic stays fit and a striker is brought in to share the load then we should be at least safe from the worry, strife and fretting of last season. I don't think we can expect anymore than that.
Eddie Dunn
2 Posted 18/07/2023 at 11:38:17
I honestly think that if we don't keep Dom fit, we will be scrapping for those one-nil wins to keep us out of the bottom three yet again. We have little quality and even though Dyche can bring organisation and fight to the group, we need quality.
If we don't sign a striker, then I fear a repeat of last season.
Sean Roe
3 Posted 18/07/2023 at 11:41:49
I can't see anything other than a long hard slog unfortunately. If Calvert-Lewin stays fit, we get a large slice of luck and we don't suffer from too many injuries, I think we can finish between 11th and 14th. More likely it will be 15th to 17th, although everybody else has improved their squads.
Jim Lloyd
4 Posted 18/07/2023 at 12:27:22
It's like Dave says, "If" – and that's the nub of the conundrum. Can we get a goalscorer in and one or two decent tradesmen who can do a decent job in the team?

One possible dream of a bonus is that Dele can become the player everyone knows he once was. I know the most important thing is that he finds himself and can bury his demons. I just hope he can enjoy getting back to his best with us. What an improvement to the team that a happy Dele Alli would make to all of us... and himself.

I wonder if we have enough to see if Vardi would fancy a stint with us?

My view is, if we have to sell to buy, then Onana would be the option to get us the most cash, even though the clubs would know we're desperate for money, so will probably wait until towards the end of the transfer window.

I'd hoped that Gray would stay but, if his contract is up next season, we could perhaps benefit by selling him now, as long as any incoming funds could see us strengthen the squad a bit.

Whichever way it turns out, our top priority is to get away asap from the relegation places... and stay away. It's going to a massive bonus if we manage to get somewhere around 11th.

Laurie Hartley
5 Posted 18/07/2023 at 12:44:01
Bill (OP),

I think the answer to your question is quite straight-forward – we have to sign a back-up goal scorer. It would be great to have Calvert-Lewin fit for a full season but we said that last pre-season. We need to find a player who is capable of getting us 10 to 15 goals.

That however is not so straight-forward because it appears we don't have much in the way of a transfer budget.

There have been rumblings in the press about Vardy. In my opinion a reasonable solution in our current situation however my wild card would still be Morelos who is a free agent, needs a club, and is only 27.

After reading the Esk's latest article I am convinced we have to sell to buy if we want any further additions… so shopping in the jumble sale it is.

Jim Lloyd
6 Posted 18/07/2023 at 12:52:15
I know others will be looking at both of them, Laurie. But it just might be possible with luck, money and a fair wind from France, that we could get them both, Laurie.

Ray Jacques
7 Posted 18/07/2023 at 12:55:15
If we are safe with 6 games to go, then I will be 'happy'.
I do not see anything better than this, to be honest.
Rennie Smith
8 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:07:31
I completely forgot Gomes would be returning after his loan, but I'm not sure he's a Dyche-style player, so I doubt if he'll be around for long.

I'm already smelling the desperation for Calvert-Lewin to be fit and scoring, but he's not even fit enough to play the friendlies yet, even though he's been working on his own back at Finch Farm since the end of last season. But signing a decent, reliable striker with money is hard enough, never mind when you're skint. Simms has gone so do they look at Cannon, but who knows whether he can step up?

In defence, it will be interesting to see what happens with Branthwaite. Again, who knows whether he's good enough after his spell in Holland? Generally, you'd like to ease the younger players in behind the first 11, unless you're a freak like Rooney, and I don't think Dyche is the kind to chuck them in the deep end. So there's not much point in putting them in best 11s.

It's not particularly inspiring confidence at the moment, but that's okay, we need a reset on where we are as a club as Dyche said straight after the last game. I think a midtable finish would be a monumental achievement, I just hope they don't brick it again early doors and bin off Dyche before Christmas. I'm not saying he's my ideal manager, but he might be ideal for the current situation.

Kevin Prytherch
9 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:08:01
It depends on injuries.

We showed in the second half of last season that we can get enough points per game to be a comfortable mid-table team, the only major difference this season is not having Mina. However, Patterson and Garner are another year older and more experienced than at the start of last season.

At this point, with Dyche here, I'm not worried about relegation – however, we're only 3 or 4 injuries in key positions off barely being able to field a team, so either reinforcements – or faith in some youngsters, is vital.

Sam Hoare
10 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:12:45
Some links with Iheanacho. Probably wouldn't be popular with those who just take one look at how many goals he's scored but I actually think it could be a good move for £8M.

He's a creative forward and has mostly been in and out of the team at Leicester and Man City. Despite that, he's managed a goal every 194 minutes.

It's likely gonna be slightly less glamorous players like this and Elanga but so long as they have talent and suit Dyche ball, it's fine by me.

Paul Ferry
11 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:31:47
Interesting story in the Athletic about our/Dyche's approach to pre-season.

Bill Gall
12 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:33:08

I don't believe we need to sell the likes of Onana, this will weaken where our strength is in the midfield, and it seems he appears to be content to be here. At the moment, our dreams seem to be nightmares…


To me, the forward line is definitely the weakest part of the team, and has to be strengthened even if Calvert-Lewin gets fit. It is an area that we need another quality player in; it is one area of the team that seems to suffer the most with an injury. Amazing the difference when Richarlison left.

Kunal Desai
13 Posted 18/07/2023 at 13:46:49
Probably have to agree with Ray #8.

Progress this season would be ensuring Premier League survival with 4-6 games to spare.

Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 18/07/2023 at 14:10:25
Kevin @10, first sentence. I agree it definitely depends on injuries, imo mate.

I still expect some wheeling and dealing. I expect Gray will leave, and also a few players who have been surplus to requirements for a long time now, so it's also going to be about how prudent we are going to be in the transfer market.

The name of the game has got to be professionalism, because I believe any team that is ultra professional, will always find a way to get into the top half of the table in England.

Gary Brown
15 Posted 18/07/2023 at 14:14:30
By restarting “sack the board” and everyone getting behind it properly. We seem to have settled for the heads of a couple of pawns, and a stadium loan. Nil Satis?
James Flynn
16 Posted 18/07/2023 at 16:03:53
We get to a stable mid-table position by knocking a dozen goals off our last season's GA of 57.

I want more goals, too. Still, the ancient sports tradition of "If they can't score, they can't beat you" applies as ever.

I expect Dyche will be placing a big emphasis on getting the GA down just as much (or more) than adding firepower.

That's the path to mid-table and away from relegation threat this season. Low GA and "enough" goal-scoring.

Jay Harris
17 Posted 18/07/2023 at 16:07:45
It seems the real problem is attracting the players we want and need so we're having to go to 4th- or 5th-choice players because of the financial situation and our current standing in world football.

Thanks to Dumb and Dumbe,r we are seen as a basket case by most in the game.

Jack Convery
18 Posted 18/07/2023 at 16:58:20
With less than a month before the Premier League starts, we have a painfully thin squad. My fear is that we will leave it until the last minute to stock up on players. A couple of transfers in, plus a couple of loans and possibly one or two free transfers.

The free transfers, if they arrive, will be totally under-cooked when it comes to fitness and, as we all know, trying to get fit and up to speed without a full pre-season behind you is not good. We need the players in, now, not at 10:59 on transfer deadline day.

Let's for once, have the squad in place for the opening game versus Fulham.

If we have to sell to raise funds, do it now.

Lee Courtliff
19 Posted 18/07/2023 at 17:13:27
If Dyche continues his usual ways, then any loan players will be nothing but substitutes anyway. In his near 10 years at Burnley, I'm struggling to think of a single loan player he used consistently. And we know he doesn't like making subs anyway.

I'm hoping for a Moyes-era-type season. Small squad, which the manager prefers, and zero expectation besides survival. This kind of situation suits managers like Moyes and Dyche right down to the ground!

If he gets us fit, well drilled at set pieces and we have (finally) some better look with injuries then I think we'll be fine for a mid-table finish. That's the best we can expect for the foreseeable.

This is what I keep telling myself, anyway!

Bill Watson
20 Posted 18/07/2023 at 17:24:42
I think everyone agrees we need at least one competent striker. If possible, I'd like to see the back of Maupay and I'd take a decent offer for Gray, who's a 1 in 6 games player, at best.

Defensively we don't look too bad but my guess is that Young will be a starter, probably at the expense of Mykolenko.

Dupont Koo
21 Posted 19/07/2023 at 00:35:20
The article by the Esk showed us a financial projection of our horrifying financial situation: to an extent that even if we keep selling the Crown Jewels in our squad (Pickford for £70MM? Onana for £50MM? How about Gray for £30MM?) and replenish the squad via Free Transfers & Loans, it would only represent throwing money into a deep Black Hole. (Worse than that, we don't even know if there are any silly money in the market to pay us those prices)

My best hope is that we can upgrade the edges: if some teams out there get an injury crisis closer to August 31st and decide to get most (if not all) of the salaries of Gomes, Gbamin, Keane & Holgate (that is a reported £360K/week collectively and we haven't even got to Dele's £100K/week) off our hands, then we can get into the loan markets for cheaper back-ups.

I agreed with some of you that Dyche prefers rolling out a small and cohesive lineup and would only use Loan Signings to fill out the bench. So, we are basically going through the Pre-Yakubu period of Moyes' reign once again (McNeil is the Rolls Royce version of Kevin Kilbane by the way!).

Ideally, if we can be safe with 5 league games to play &/or finish higher than 15th, I'll be very happy.

Thanks to Liar Bill, I have to settle with this expectation that is the Polar Opposite to our NSNO motto.

Jamie Sweet
22 Posted 19/07/2023 at 02:05:07
I've just seen some young lad called Simms scored a brace inside half an hour for Coventry City today. Could be worth a look to add some depth to our forward line?
Tony Everan
23 Posted 19/07/2023 at 10:58:44
Bill, it won’t be broadcasted, but this is the question that Moshiri must ask of his DoF and manager. He must respect their answers and back them up to the limit of what is possible. Failure to do so would be catastrophic, for Everton football club and for his investment.

There will be a discrepancy between what we need and what we can can get with our threadbare finances.

There’s no question we need a back up striker, would anyone on here bet their house on DCL playing 20+ league games? More importantly would Dyche, Thelwell or Moshiri? Cannon is a young player I really like, Dyche will be assessing him closely. But I still think Dyche will sign someone like Weghorst for more experienced cover. It would be great to see Cannon take his chance this season.

Gray looks like he will be sold. So also there no question we need goals from a right sided forward. Same again, Stan Mills is a player who looks like he can make the step up, another who will be closely assessed. The Gnonto pursuit suggests he’s deemed not ready yet and will probably get a good loan.

Also, If we sign El Bilal Toure and Willy Gnonto do we have to sell Onana? That opens up a new debate.

Whilst all the talk is about goals into the team, and rightly so, it should not be forgotten for one second the stability that Mina brought to the team whenever he played. It was tragic for us he was so blighted with injuries. I mean he made us look a better composed and organised unit, even without proper full backs or striker .

Our performance stats were hugely better when Mina was in the team. It’s got to sound alarm bells and air raid sirens about making sure this centre back composure and quality is replicated.

As the other two positions, Dyche will be looking and assessing very closely Jarrad Branthwaite. He’s very young but has the composure,quality and stature required.

I still think Dyche will be weary of his inexperience and will be reluctant to put all his eggs in the Branthwaite basket. Though I’m sure he will get his opportunities to stamp his authority and claim the position.

Keane, Holgate and Godfrey don’t fit the bill for this role so two of them will be sold and I fully expect Dyche to sign a CB he’s had his eyes on long term. I think Dyche will see this signing as only a few mm down the ladder of his priorities.

Derek Thomas
24 Posted 19/07/2023 at 22:48:53
How; Hope that Dyche & Thelwell pull some rabbits out of the transfer hat and we get lucky.
To help that along, I'm sure that Dyche will be applying the Arnold Palmer(?sources vary) method of ensuring 'Luck'...The more and harder I practice the lucker I seem to get.
Kevin Molloy
25 Posted 29/07/2023 at 13:21:32
historically, the way we usually find ourselves comfortably mid table by February is when we unexpectedly found ourselves top just before Christmas.
Otherwise, it's a dogfight all the way.
Barry Rathbone
26 Posted 29/07/2023 at 13:57:22
Whoever plays - play to their strengths.

If Dyche can get a genuine team spirit going and the best out of what he has consistently, we have as good a shout as any. Prayers will be needed to avoid a multiple injury scenario and if answered anything is possible.

Leicester won the title on this foundation..

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