Evertonians will be hoping that the arrival of a new manager sees a change in their fortunes. Ronald Koeman arrives with pedigree of success in both England and Holland, the Dutchman is a class act on and off the touchline.
His pragmatism will be welcomed to the club, too, after the idealistic mistakes of Roberto Martinez left the Toffees briefly flirting with relegation.
This season will be a huge one for the club. They have lost John Stones, Romelu Lukaku keeps gazing dreamily at other clubs and the squad needs several additions if they are yet to become top half regulars under Koeman. The right man is at the helm, that’s for sure, but work is to be done.
Whether additions are made or not, Everton do have a squad that should see them at least tussle with Stoke City and Southampton in the mid-table battleground.
These THREE will be key if they are to conquer the Premier League no-mans-land…
It was quite a surprise that so few clubs seemed to show much interest in Idrissa Gueye this summer. The midfielder was one of the few bright lights in an abysmal season for Aston Villa last time around.
With Gareth Barry now a true veteran, Besic injured and James McCarthy short of form, Gueye was an astute addition. The numbers don’t lie, only N’golo Kante averaged more interceptions and tackles per match than Gueye, he’s a ball-winner, a hard-worker and will add an extra tonne of energy to the Toffees’ midfield.
For those tough away games, particularly, Gueye’s performances in the centre of midfield will be absolutely vital.
With Koeman already hinting at playing Deulofeu as a centre forward if Romelu Lukaku is unavailable, the Spaniard seems higher in the pecking order that he was under Roberto Martinez.
As his game continues to be blighted by an inconsistent end product, Deulofeu must take advantage of all of his talents this season.
The sparkling toes of the Spanish winger make well get fans off seats, but they are not giving enough to the team, as his decision-making and final ball often leave plenty to be desired.
It is time to come of age for Gerard Deulofeu.
After spending much of the European Championships nicely warming the bench for when Dele Alli was substituted, Ross Barkley has an enormous season in front of him. Easily eclipsed by the Tottenham man during the last campaign, Barkley has stagnated relatively over the previous couple of seasons.
Koeman is likely to give him a new lease of life and it will be interesting to see if the Dutchman looks to use Barkley in a deeper role. Allowing him to break the lines and attack the ball from deep, more like Lampard, than his current role that has often seen him isolated and too far up the pitch.
If Everton are going to have a successful season, Ross Barkley must begin to develop into the player that everyone thought he already would be by now.