Everton 2017/18 Premier League Season Preview

Everton 2017/18 Premier League Season Preview

After three tumultuous years under Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman was appointed at Everton to steady the ship.  The Dutchman brought Everton from 11th place the last two seasons up to 7th last season and managed the Toffies to 14 more points than they won last season.

This season could prove to be tougher for Koeman.  He lost his star striker Romelu Lukaku this summer and has failed to truly replace him, despite spending quite a lot of money.

Lukaku was sold to Manchester United for £76m, according to Transfermarkt.com.  Everton have chosen to reinvest their Lukaku money along with their money from their new owner throughout the squad.  According to Transfermarkt, Everton spent £25.6m on both Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane, attempting to fix their big holes at centre-back and goalkeeper.  They also spent £24.3m on Davy Klaassen, £5.4m on Sandro Ramirez, and signed Wayne Rooney on a free transfer, though are paying him a reported £150,000 a week.

While the signings of Pickford and Keane plug big holes in the squad, Everton spent a lot of money on players that are unlikely to get them to the Champions League level they strive for.  Klaassen will either bench one of Idrissa Gueye or Morgan Schneiderlin, or be forced to take on a big creative role for Everton.  Considering he managed to create only 1.86 chances per 90 minutes in the Eredivise, a league known for it’s questionable defending, that’s probably not a role that suits him.  The Wayne Rooney transfer has a very good chance to be a disaster. The 31 year-old has been on the decline for years and now will be getting paid massive money, despite showing nothing to suggest he is worth anywhere near that much in the last three or four seasons.

Their business has been fine but not great so far and is leaving them short in the attack, both at striker and attacking midfield.  If their big attacking move this summer is splashing £50m on Gylfi Sigurdsson, then their summer takes a big hit.  While Sigurdsson is  decent player, he is at the tail end of his peak and has never been anything more than a Europa League level player at best.  He had 12 assists last season, but  disproportionate amount of his chances created were from set pieces, something that may not be repeatable, especially if Wayne Rooney takes some of the set pieces away from him.

Ultimately, Everton’s business has probably left them worse than at the start of the transfer window, but not too much worse.  The major criticisms of them are that they’re buying talent that lacks upside and not buying enough attacking talent, but their window should still keep them as one of if not the best non big six team in the league.  They have a very solid midfield and got a huge upgrade in goal this season.  Their defence has some holes, but Koeman is a good enough defensive coach to make up for those holes and be a good defensive team, though that could come through sacrificing some offensive output.

Everton shouldn’t finish outside of the top half this season, but it would be a pretty huge shock to see them finish any higher than seventh.  They’ve bought a lot of players that should keep them where they are.  That’s fine, but their lack of players with significant upside likely puts a cap on where they can finish, barring a self-destruction from one of the big six.  Everton were about as seventh as a team could be last season and they’ll probably finish there again this season.

Predicted Finish: Seventh