Little old Everton are becoming important again

What a summer it has been so far…

I have followed Everton for as long as I can remember. During that time, the expectations for the season have always been the same; finish as high up the league as possible, and put together a decent cup run.

Why was this?

Well, its ‘little old Everton’, what more can they do?? That was always the view of the ‘experts’, who never really saw us being able to do anything more than that. As a fan, we always thought we could do more, and we always wanted more, but did we ever truly believe that it could happen?

This summer though, it finally feels like things are beginning to change. With the transfer business we have conducted, I have never felt such optimism around our club ahead of a new season. All Evertonians knew that this would be a massive summer for the future of our club, and whether we truly become one of the big hitters at the Premier League table again.

Looking back, last season was definitely a building block, with the likes of Gana Gueye, Schneiderlin, Williams and Bolasie coming in and giving fans a brief view of how Koeman wanted this team to play; solid, difficult to beat, very fast and skilful going forward; but this summer has taken this to the next level.

Jordan Pickford – One of the most talented young keepers this country has seen in many a year! A fantastic shot stopper, with the distribution ability that most midfielders would be proud of! He was by far and away Sunderland’s best player last season, and they would have been relegated much sooner if it wasn’t for him. With his ability, we could easily win us 10 points a season. A keeper for the next decade?? I think so…

Michael Keane – A classy defender who has complete confidence in his own ability! A similar player to John Stones but, in my view, much better at defending! He will be the perfect partner for Ashley Williams this season, and I can see many a clean sheet in the future!

Davy Klassen – A centre midfielder that will also give us 10 to 15 goals a season, which we have greatly missed since the Ozzy Superman moved on. I watched him during the Europa League last season and he was head and shoulders above anyone else in the Ajax team, and will give us something different. His energy, his eye for a pass, his leadership, he will be the perfect spoil for Schneiderlin and Gueye.

Henry Onyekuru – Worth signing just to piss West Ham fans off! A player that looks like he can be big hitter for us in the future.

Sandro – The player I know least about, but a player that really caught my attention in the U21’s this summer. A hard worker built in the Jamie Vardy mould that will chase lost causes, and an absolute steal for the money we paid for him. Can he fill the void left by Lukaku, we’ll have to wait and see.

Wayne Rooney – What can I say about this man that hasn’t already been said! He has won everything that can be won in club football, and will bring a winning mentality to our dressing room. He will be massive influence on some of our younger players who will see his desire to be the best on a day to day basis. And he is a blue, what more needs to be said!

It looks like this won’t be the last business we do this summer, with Koeman and Walsh still looking to strengthen in key areas. For me, I don’t think we should be spending money on a GK. Both Stek and Joel are good enough to be a backup, so I don’t think that is a worry for this season!

For me, another Centre Half is a must, with Funes Mori likely to be moved out, and Jags not being the player he once was. VVD has been linked, and that would be an amazing signing, but I don’t see this happening. For me, I would go back to United and take Chris Smalling from them. With the signing of Lindelof, and Eric Bailly looking like he is Mourinho’s first choice, I can see Smalling moving on, and he would be a great addition to the squad.

The Gylfi Sigurdsson deal also looks like it is still in the pipeline, however Swansea appear to be playing hardball. He is quality player, a set piece wizard, but I wouldn’t go much over the £30 million mark for him. If that deal doesn’t come off, I would look at Lanzini from West Ham. He was their best player last season in a very average team, so a move to us could take him to the next level.

Another striker also needs to be high up the list. I’ve never been Olivier Giroud’s biggest fan, but he scores goals consistently in the Premier League, and would be a decent replacement for Lukaku. However, my choice would be Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. I have always been a big fan of his, and he is such a natural finisher.

Before I finish, I just want to make a quick reference to Lukaku, now that the whole saga is over. He is by far and away the best striker I have ever seen at our club, and probably the best striker that we have had since Graeme Sharpe. How will ‘little old Everton’ get on without him?? A lot of so called ‘experts’ are saying we will really struggle without him, with relegation even being mentioned by one of two. For me, we’ll do what Everton continue to do; progress, move forward and prove people wrong.

So, what should be expect from this season?? Top 6?? Top 4?? Whatever it is, I can’t wait to watch it unfold…

Chris Pickles

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisPickles24

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