On the back of an impressive season, this summer looks to be one of the biggest in Everton’s recent history. Under the guidance of Roberto Martinez – who during a different season may well have been manager of the year – the Toffees narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification while playing a brand of football that was made even sweeter for their fans by David Moyes’ failings at Manchester United.
Since 2013/14 closed, a number of names have been linked with switches to Goodison Park, with released Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o a somewhat surprise inclusion. The Cameroonian – once the highest paid player on the planet – is thought to be keen to stay in English football after one season with the Blues, and Martinez is rumoured to be ready to bow to his demands with a short-term contract.
Eto’o would certainly add goals and experience to Everton’s ranks, but it’s fair to say that more bodies will be needed in the blue half of Merseyside to cope with continental action. Here are six more players we think may follow Eto’o to Everton…
Half man, half force of nature. Lukaku was an absolute colossus for Everton last season during his loan spell from Chelsea, netting an impressive 15 goals in the Premier League.
But since the season close he has returned to west London, and hinted that Champions League football is what he’s after as the Blues plot his sale. But despite his reputation, offers have not been forthcoming, which leaves the door ajar for another season – or even a permanent transfer – at Everton. Martinez certainly has a good relationship with Lukaku, which may allow him to get the youngster back to Goodison Park.
After breaking through at Everton, Rodwell left for Manchester City in 2012 in what has proven to be an unsuccessful switch. The 23-year-old made just one Premier League start for the champions last season, and looks likely to have even less of a role next term with Fernando having already arrived to compliment Yaya Toure and Fernandinho.
Everton are understood to have had a loan offer rejected for Rodwell in January, but a permanent bid this time around is likely to be more fruitful, with the youngster ready to get his career back on track after an injury ravaged few years.
Fiery, temperamental and spiky. Cerci has had a turbulent career, but boy is he talented. The 26-year-old was a member of Italy’s World Cup squad on the back of a fine season with Torino, but don’t let the Azzurri’s woes fool you, he’s a fine player.
Most comfortable in the hole behind the main striker, Cerci uses his vision and eye for goal to help his fellow attackers, which was evident with his 13 strikes and 10 assists in Serie A last term. Torino are understood to be willing to sell for around £15m, which could make the silky forward a tempting risk for Martinez.
With just a year left on his contract at Crystal Palace, Bolasie is attracting plenty of attention. Everton are among the pack of chasing teams, with Martinez keen to add to his attacking ranks to boost his side’s chances of coping with Europa League and domestic action next season.
A little on the raw side, the DR Congo international has bags of pace and potential, and may well be a diamond in the rough for the Toffees. Palace are desperate to keep the 25-year-old, but a cut-price sale may make more sense than the possibility of losing him for free in a year’s time.
Three goals in three group games for Ecuador at the World Cup were not enough to haul his nation into the last 16, but Valencia could well benefit from the showings he produced in Brazil. The burly striker has shot onto the radars of clubs across Europe, with Everton being mentioned as a potential Premier League destination.
Currently plying his trade in Mexico with Pachuca, Valencia is likely to be available for a reasonable price and will be tempted by a switch to football’s dominant continent. If Everton needed any more encouragement, Jackson Martinez also starred in Mexican football before joining Porto…
Traore arrived on loan in January with a burgeoning reputation, but the Toffees’ battle to prise him from West Ham’s grasp ended in disappointment. The giant Ivorian only made one outing for the Merseysiders, but he did manage to find the back of the net, as a hamstring injury plagued his season.
Traore has since returned to Monaco – whom he only signed for from Anzhi Makhachkala earlier this year – but the French side are said to be considering letting him head away on loan again. Everton are discussing a deal with them, and could get the 23-year-old back to Goodison Park.