After being one of the Premier League’s biggest spenders during the summer, many Everton fans expected to see their team challenging for Europe this season. However, after five games it couldn’t be more different, and they currently occupy one of the relegation places with just four points. Only three teams in the top flight spent more money than the Toffees and with transfer fees reaching an estimated £145 million, their supporters should see instant results.
One of the longest transfer sagas of the window involved the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City for around £50 million. The Icelandic midfielder has largely failed to impress on Merseyside so far, and Ronald Koeman will still expect a lot from him. They also spent a combined £60 million on deals for English youngsters, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane. Both players have plenty to offer, but so far they have struggled for Everton. The return of Wayne Rooney to Goodison Park hasn’t proved fruitful as of yet as his off-the-field actions have overshadowed his contributions on the pitch. The former England captain accepted a two-year driving ban this week after drunk driving.
One area that the Toffees didn’t strengthen that they intended to was in the attacking third. The departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United opened up a huge gap in the striker position, one that they largely failed to fill. Sandro Ramirez did sign from Malaga, but the 22-year-old has far too much pressure on his shoulders in his first Premier League campaign. The lack of a quality centre-forward has shown in their first games as only Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than the two Everton have managed in the top flight.
Despite their poor start, it hasn’t exactly been easy for Koeman’s side as they have had arguably the hardest start in the league. They have already faced the early pace-setters, Manchester City and United, as well as last season’s top two, Chelsea and Tottenham. They are also fighting in Europe as they look to qualify from their group in the Europa League. Although, like their league start, they are already up against it after an abysmal 3-0 loss to Atalanta in the first group match.
When a new wealthy owner comes into a new side and makes big-money signings, it is bound to take some time for the new additions to gel. in that respect it can be seen as a positive that they have got some of the toughest fixtures of the campaign out of the way already. Their next three matches need to improve though and with Bournemouth, Burnley and Brighton in those games, there really aren’t any excuses for Koeman to start a run of form.
These fixtures along with the next three or four after them will make or break Everton’s season, and if they still find themselves in the drop zone after 10 games, they could be in for a tough campaign. The next few games for the Toffees are vital, and they need at least seven points from the next three. Goals are just as important, two goals in five games isn’t good enough, and it needs to drastically improve if Everton want to qualify for European football again.