Everton will be hoping the tactical nous of Ronald Koeman and the investment of Farhad Moshiri can take the club into a new era that sees them regularly competing for Champions League qualification in the Premier League – if not more.
But amid a period of such widespread change at Goodison Park, a little continuity could go a long way to smoothing over the transition process. With that in mind, we asked Everton fans earlier this week to vote for which former chargers they’d like to see Koeman bring back to the club during the summer transfer window.
The results of our exclusive poll are now in, so here’s a rundown of the former stars who made the top three – which rather surprisingly didn’t include Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini and Manchester City defender John Stones.
Steven Naismith may be struggling for game-time in the Championship with Norwich this season but it seems a fair number of Everton fans would have him back at Goodison Park. The Scotland international enjoyed a solid spell on Merseyside, notching up 18 goals in 103 Premier League appearances after arriving on a free from Rangers, despite not always being a regular in the starting XI. Back to the matter of his Canaries career, Naismith will be hoping the recent change in management will give it a new lease of life.
A somewhat surprising choice in second place, it seems sentiment has ruled over logic for this shock selection. Yakubu bordered upon lethal during his spells with Everton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Blackburn – but now aged 34, the former Nigerian international is currently searching for his first goal at Coventry City after joining the League One side in January. In fact, he’s scored just four league goals since the start of 2014. Hardly the ideal replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
The one that got away, it’s hard to believe Everton once let a World Cup-winning centre-back leave Goodison Park for a nominal fee. Indeed, after making a solitary appearance in the UEFA Cup, Shkodran Mustafi departed for Sampdoria, where he went on to earn a move to Valencia, a place in the German national team and consequently the 2014 World Cup title. He’s now at Arsenal and although it’s not been a great season for the Gunners, the 24-year-old has already proved himself to be a solid addition to their defence.