Everton have underachieved this season, it’s as simple as that.
But, one bad season these days is a big deal in football, and for the Toffees, it could cost them one of their biggest players.
Romelu Lukaku has made it extremely clear that he wants to be playing in the Champions League in years to come and it’s clear at this moment in time, Everton aren’t going to provide him with that chance.
Many of the Goodison Park faithful have grown frustrated with how things have panned out of late, and understandably so. The Merseysiders are lost in the middle of the Premier League table, a whopping 13 points off fourth place. They’ve managed just four wins in their last 16 league games and the pressure has begun to grow on Roberto Martinez, who at one point, couldn’t do a thing wrong on banks of the River Mersey.
Yet that’s how quickly things change, and Everton’s Belgian striker wants more… and he’s got every right to.
An upcoming FA Cup semi-final will do little to quell Lukaku’s taste for Champions League football, something he experienced whilst playing at Chelsea. He’s coming into his peak years and it really is now or never. As much as Everton offered him a route out off Stamford Bridge when it wasn’t going too well, he owes them little on the pitch, and with the Blues once again lurking, as well as Manchester United, he has escape routes.
Despite doing well in the cup competitions, Everton’s worrying league form raises questions about the quality of players all over the pitch, and certain individuals should be doing better than they are.
They could, realistically, be West Ham this term – chasing Europe in a season when qualification is achievable thanks to poor seasons from some of the Premier League’s giants.
For the Toffees, a bottom half finish will be a huge disappointment.
Despite 18 League goals from Lukaku, it’s been a retched campaign.
They’ve won just four out of 16 in front of their own fans, with only a spiralling Crystal Palace and doomed Aston Villa taking fewer points. That is worrying and when you say it so plainly, it’s relegation form.
Defensive frailties have cost the Toffees dearly and with the likes of John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines all available, they should be far higher up the table.
Ross Barkley, Lukaku and Stones can only get Everton so far, and other squad members need to step up. They’ve got the depth, but Martinez needs to find a way to get that little bit extra out of his players.
But is it too little too late? In terms of keeping Lukaku, maybe!