Everton are spending money but does that mean they can break into the allusive top four?
Everton have spent near to £100 million on players to improve their first team. The signings of Pickford, Klaassen, Keane and Rooney are all signings that are looking to place themselves in Ronald Koeman’s best XI.
The funding of these transfers has been debated by many throughout the football community with some saying Everton now have the money to pay high wages and massive transfer fees.
Others say that this injection of money has come from the selling of striker Romelu Lukaku and in fact Everton’s net spend is now almost £0.
Time will tell whether Everton will actually be a big spending club as the transfer window has not even reached it’s final month yet and still Everton continually being linked with striker to replace the Belgium international.
Olivier Giroud and most recently former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke have come under the radar of Everton’s scouts.
Everton will need a striker with the clinical edge of Lukaku and Giroud can be that man to fill the void. In fact Giroud had the second best minutes to goal ratio last season in the Premier League with Lukaku being in 4th place himself.
Although Lukaku was Everton’s top goalscorer last season, his common image that is portrayed through the media is that he is a flat track bully – he tends to only score goals against the lesser clubs in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that is presence is more than enough to scare and opposition defender away which is something that perhaps Giroud does not have and might need in order to succeed at Everton and propel them to the top four.
Lukaku’s pace is also another factor that is effective for Everton, they do tend to play on the counter attack and with a striker like Giroud, will they be able to play the same way? I think not.
Another factor that will affect Everton’s top four ambitions is the Europa League. They first have to qualify for it but should they pass into the group stage, reaching the top four can be difficult.
Everton may have to choose a pathway in order to try and gain a Champions League spot. They could choose the Europa League root, like how Manchester United did it last season or there is the league root and not care about the Europa League.
No team has of yet managed to successfully juggle the league and Europa League to gain a Champions League spot in the top four.
The hassle of playing Thursday nights and then Sunday should not be any different then playing Wednesday-Saturday in the Champions League but the stereotypical image of the Europa League has been founded.
An added incentive of that Champions League spot for winning the Europa League has given the trophy its prestigious status back with not more English teams looking to win it, as proved with Manchester United winning it last year and Liverpool reaching the final the previous.
The main solution to the Europa League will be squad depth and Everton should be spending the money to increase their squad with more quality signings that will be able to not hinder the teams performance when required to play, there can be no doubt why Everton cannot go for the Europa League crown whilst gaining a respectable league position.
Everton are one of the sides in the Premier League where teams do not like to travel to. Goodison Park is an intimidating place for any side which in fact many of the top six sides struggle to gain a result from and usually just take a point.
Last Season Everton, at Goodison, only lost twice to the top six, drawing two and winning two. Although that could be better, it is still a good collection of points against the best sides in the league.
Everton’s problem is the away matches against the big teams. In order to gain a top four spot, you must be able to win crucial matches against top and lesser teams when applicable.
Everton did not win away from home against any of the top six teams – losing four and drawing two – in order for them to break into the top four they must be able to perform on the big stage.
An example is Liverpool, they picked up 20 points against the top six last season which ultimately propelled them into the top four and although they should have done better against the smaller teams, you will always find a loss against one of the smaller teams in the league.
Overall, do I think that Everton can break into the top four? Not yet at least. Everton have almost come into the money riches too late and if this happened a few years earlier then perhaps it could have been a different story.
There is a huge gulf in class and unless Koeman and other can develop the talent Everton have got, I do not see Everton in Europe’s elite in the coming years.