Can big signings make the Toffee’s sweet again?

Last season was a difficult one for Everton and new boss Ronald Koeman. Although they finished higher than the previous season, seventh place is not a good finish for the toffees and their new boss. Romelu Lukaku carried them all season scoring 25 goals in the league. Koeman is a quality manager and it’s only a matter of time before he has Everton firing again. He has certainly come out of the blocks this summer in terms of signing good quality players. If rumours are to be believed they are closing in on former player and teenage sensation Wayne Rooney as well as Olivier Giroud to replace Lukaku who it seems is almost certain to leave Goodison Park.

Everton first moved for English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who had a wonderful season last year even though his team, Sunderland, were relegated to the Championship. A signing which immediately strengthens the Everton side. There is no doubt now that they have one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. Pickford perfrommed brilliantly in the under 21 Euro’s over the summer, where England reached the semi final stage. Pickford played in 29 of Sunderland’s largely ill fated premier league games and stood out making numerous saves in what seemed like every game. Even though he only kept four league clean sheets he finished second in the total saves statistics for the year. He made 135 saves, only six short of the top spot. Everton’s highest keeper on the list is Joel Robles who made only 54. Pickford is a huge upgrade on any goalkeeper Everton currently have and at 23 he has lots of time to improve.

They then swooped for Ajax star and captain Davy Klaassen soon after. They splashed out £24 million on the Dutch central midfielder. His preferred position is in an attacking midfield area however, he can play deeper though. The scary prospect here is that Klaassen often operates in a position similar to Ross Barkley, another player that is rumoured to be wanting a move away from Merseyside. Perhaps Klaassen will play deeper and Barkley will stay, that would be a fantastic outcome for fans of the Toffee’s. Klaassen performed well at Ajax who had a relatively good year. Reaching the Europa League final was a great achievement for the Dutch club and their captain was key in that success. All in all Klaassen played 50 times for his former club scoring 20 and creating 12 goals. If he can adapt to British football quickly he could make a flying start which would be important if Everton are hoping for a good year.

There was a little bit of time in-between the first two signings and the next two, but the second pair were like the first, in quick succession. Both Michael Keane and Sandro Ramirez joined in a hectic couple of days for Everton. Keane was heavily linked with rivals Liverpool as it became more and more apparent that the former Manchester United defender would leave Burnley. He had a great year at Burnley where he helped them achieve Premier League survival. He was key in doing so playing in 35 games in the Premier League for the Turf Moor team. In that time Keane helped Burnley to ten clean sheets, had a tackle success rate of 86% and made 260 clearances. He will bolster the Everton defence who have not recovered from the sale of John Stones to Manchester City. Keane, still only 24, will bring an experienced and dependable presence to Everton’s defence.

Sandro was heavily tipped to join Atletico Madrid this summer. However, the Spanish giants were hit with a transfer ban and the Spanish under 21 international was forced to look elsewhere for his move away from Malaga. His release clause meant that the ex Barcelona striker was an absolute bargain for anybody interested. Everton were clearly the most interested as they moved for the striker and have now confirmed him as a member of their squad. His preference is to play as a central striker but he can play on either flank. He scored an impressive 16 goals in 31 games for Malaga last season also offering 5 assists. At 21 he still has a lot to learn, especially coming to English football. The signs are all good at the moment though as he obviously has the ability. He may take some time to get used to the style of football here, but when he does he could score buckets of goals.

Everton have shown their intent with this flurry of signings. They have signed quality players who are still have a lot of years in-front of them. However, they all have experience at a high standard. It may take Koeman a little bit of time to gel the team together, but when it clicks Everton are going to be a tough team to stop. If rumours are true and they add experience and more goals to the squad the seventh place finish of last season can be improved upon. 

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Alan Brown

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