From afar Everton looks well placed to make a challenge for the top-six of the Premier League in the new season. The Toffees are still one of the biggest clubs in the English game when it comes to winning trophies.
However, years of poor management on and off the field has left the Merseysider’s in limbo in recent years.
A mixed summer in 2017
The summer of 2017 was when Everton starting spending money likely a drunken sailor on leave. The Toffees had for so long had been skint, without much money to invest in players. However, that made them shrewd in the transfer market.
That shrewdness went out of the window in the summer of 2017. Then boss Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh were not kids in a sweet shop. Unfortunately, some of the sweets they bought in that summer were bad, and one was even out of date (Wayne Rooney).
The other players who arrived that summer were Cuco Martina, Davy Klaassen, Sandro, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Nikola Vlasic and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The summer really did produce a mixed success rate for the Toffees.
Pickford, Keane and Sigurdsson are all now crucial players for Everton after terrible starts. Klaassen and Sandro were just downright disasters. The former joined Werder Bremen last summer taking a massive loss. Meanwhile, Sandro has struggled and has been sent out on numerous loan spells in his native Spain.
That summer spending has now caused a massive problem for Everton. They now have a big wage bill, with players that are nowhere near good enough to help the Toffees move in the right direction.
Silva and Brands sorting out the mess
Last summer Marco Silva arrived as Everton boss. The Portuguese boss endured a slightly inconsistent debut campaign on Merseyside. However, a positive run of form towards the end of the campaign has convinced Everton that he is moving the team in the right direction.
Director of football Marcel Brands also arrived at the club last summer. The Dutchman impressed in his first summer transfer window. He brought in the likes of Lucas Digne, Richarlison and Bernard on a permanent basis, while Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes both arrived on loan.
All four players were big successes with Everton. The only summer signing from last season who is still yet to convince is Colombian centre-back, Yerry Mina.
Brands not only impressed in the transfer market, but the Dutchman also said the right things and had an aura of knowing exactly what he is doing. The partnership of Brands and Silva seem to be quietly moving the Toffees in the right direction.
Everton could be top six contenders
If Everton can add some quality players in key areas, then there is no reason why the Toffees cannot mount a challenge for a top-six place next season. They are current outsiders to grab a top-six spot, though.
However, before they bring in quality players there are a number of players that need to move on this summer. Veteran centre-back Ashley Williams has already left the club as a free agent.
The likes of Kevin Mirallas, Nikola Vlasic, Yannick Bolasie, Mohamed Besic and Maarten Stekelenburg could all follow the Welshman through the exit door this summer.
For years Everton have underachieved as a football club. Maybe this summer could be the one where the Toffees shed themselves of a whole lot of deadwood and bring in the quality needed to be fighting toe-to-toe with the so-called ‘Big six’.
Can Everton challenge for a top-six spot next season?