Normality has resumed at Everton this season after a turbulent 14/15 campaign. Fortunately, your FM save will have a lot better chance of succeeding with a push for Europe than either Moyes or Martinez have done.
Both these managers have faced their critics from an expectant Goodison faithful and you may well face the same, with fans wanting to see the club compete with the big boys, despite a budget more fitting of the bottom half.
Fortunately, the Everton squad is filled with talent and you have the brilliant from three of Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barkley at your disposal. The biggest problem you are likely to face is these players pushing for a transfer if you can’t provide Champions League football.
You’ll start your save with a budget of £0, thanks to a rather stingy board, but you should be able to raise a bit of money through your sales. The wage budget isn’t too generous either, so the first window might have to be a quite one.
Premier League: As ever, the board would like to see the Toffees make the Euro Cup qualification places. However, some saves they will be slightly more lenient and accept a top half finish, this largely depends on the update that you are using on your save.
FA Cup: Progress to the sixth round will be enough for the board to be happy. A cup run might not do too much for you financially, but there’s no better way to keep the fans on side.
Capital One Cup: The secondary domestic competition won’t bother the board too much. However, a trophy can always be a nice cheer-up for the fans.
Alberto Aquilani: Buying an ex-Red might be an unpopular move, but Aquilani is often available on a cut price deal during each save. His exquisite passing ability from deep, or closer to the striker, makes him an ideal player to slip in Deulofeu and Lukaku. Aquilani’s game would fit alongside the industry of McCarthy.
Jordan Rhodes: Rhodes will be quite a costly addition to your squad, but Blackburn’s main marksman is a reliable finisher and would provide excellent competition for Romelu Lukaku. The Scot has no issues with making the step up to the Premiership and has intelligent off the ball movement that suits Everton’s attacking midfield talent.
Fran Villalba: He might only be 17, but Villalba is an absolutely must-buy. The Spanish playmaker becomes an excellent number ten and will be one of the best chance creators in the league. If Ross Barkley pushes for a move, you can be sure that Villalba will be ready to fill in the attacking midfield role within a couple of seasons.
Steven Pienaar: Pienaar’s injury concerns on FM are just too serious to ignore. He begins your save with an injury and, despite his intelligent game, Pienaar struggles to compete with Mirallas and Deulofeu for game time. We would advise that it makes more sense to give his minutes to a younger player and hope to make yourself some room to manoeuvre by freeing up Pienaar’s wages.
Arouna Kone: Romelu Lukaku’s brilliance really does show up the inadequacies of Arouna Kone. Kone might be an acceptable option for a bottom half club, but you are going to need to upgrade your backup centre forward if you envisage a push for European football.
Leighton Baines: This probably won’t be a popular decision, but with the presence of Galloway and Oviedo, selling Baines makes a lot of sense. The England international still has exceptional crossing, but his age and value mean that a sale would be a lucrative option. A serious injury can as good as end Baines’ career as first-choice for you and its definitely better to cash in on his talents whilst you can.
Ryan Ledson: Ledson is the latest midfield talent to come out of Everton’s academy and he becomes a wonderful central midfield playmaker. His passing will reach ratings that you would associate with Xabi Alonso and Ledson can also operate in a deeper role and look to dictate tempo. You may look to loan Ledson in your first season, but he will quickly become a key player.
Brendan Galloway: Galloway begins the game as a centre-back who can cover at left-back, but you might want to look to train the youngster as a full-back due to the quality of John Stones and Funes Mori. You can choose to cash in on Galloway after a couple of seasons and expect to receive around £10 million, but his potential makes it well worth your while developing your defensive around him and Stones.
Tyias Browning: Browning, like Galloway, can cover at centre-back and full-back. This young toffee represents England are under 20 level and has a strong potential on FM. The strengths of Browning and Galloway might make you consider whether to use them as first-team members to replace Jagielka and Baines.