At one point during the closing stages of last season, Everton were sitting in fourth place and looked set to replace Arsenal as the last English team in the Champions League.
It wasn’t meant to be, a sudden run of poor form saw the Gunners leapfrog the Toffees and the Roberto Martinez’s men had to settle for fifth.
Everton can however improve next season with a smart summer transfer splurge, and we now take a look into Group F, which only Argentina managed to get thru into the quarter-finals.
But along the way, were there any players which impressed before being knocked out of the competition? Nigeria were also extremely competent against the French in the last-sixteen… could Everton look to sign one of their stars?
Here are SIX WORLD CUP STARS Everton should sign from Group F.
Emenike has been banging in the goals for some time but his all round play during Nigeria’s run into the World Cup last sixteen has really brought the 27-year-old into the limelight.
The Nigerian is a strong striker capable of holding up the ball as well as beating his marker to the goal, but most impressive of all is his keen eye for the pass which saw him supply two assists in the World Cup.
Chelsea are already looking to sign the striker, but if Emenike is looking for regular playing time, Everton may be the best destination for his aspirations.
Everton are extremely keen to resign defensive midfielder Gareth Barry, but if they are unsuccessful, should turn to Argentina and Lazio’s Lucas Biglia.
The 28-year-old a strong tackler and an adequate passer, abilities required to be the team’s anchorman. His physicality will also match the Premier League’s style of play, and will easily adapt with coach Roberto Martinez also a Spanish speaker.
The Toffees can snap him up for about £8million, but it may increase with his contract due to expire all the way in 2018.
Everton’s other big loss is that of Romelu Lukaku, who returned to Chelsea and without the Belgian last season the Toffees struggled to score.
Roberto Martinez should then make a bid for VfB Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic, who did manage to get his name on the World Cup score-sheet and with a proven two consecutive double-digit seasons seems like an adequate replacement.
Now his fourth season with Stuttgart, Ibisevic could leave if Everton make a bid of around £10million.
Don’t let Dejagah’s choice to play for Asian side Iran fool you, the Fulham man has played for Germany in all Youth levels and impressed while doing so. The right winger is quick and good on the ball, but more importantly tracks back well, contributing to the team’s defence.
With Fulham relegated, Everton should make a swoop for the Iranian star. Mirallas is definitely the Toffees’ number one attacking outlet with Lukaku’s departure, but with Dejagah also an option Everton will be a tough opponent to face.
Martinez should be able to lure the player over from Fulham for only £3million.
If Everton are keener in signing a more balanced midfielder, then Enzo Perez from Benfica could be a viable option.
Perez is an all-action midfielder capable of scoring goals and contributing defensively, but he does however receive his fair share of bookings. Everton do however need a player of his ilk, with their attempts to sign Jack Rodwell still rather unsuccessful.
Martinez could attempt to lure over the Argentine, but will have to cough up at least £12million to sign the Europa League finalist.
Hoffenheim captain Sejad Salihovic is one of the most versatile players in his team. Not only can he fill any position down the left flank, but he has performed admirably when utilized in the middle. Now in his eight season with the German club, the Bosnian could be lured for a bigger challenge.
Not only does Salihovic manage to keep possession well and track back, but the midfielder chips in with several goals and assists. Last season, in 30 total appearances, he scored 11 goals and gave six assists.
With the Toffees main attacking threat out of the picture, Everton need some goals and Salihovic could definitely chip in a few.