After Manchester United handed Everton a bad 4-0 hammering, Jose Mourinho came out and said that, after spending £140 million, a top-4 finish is “at least” what his opponents should be aiming for. Despite this, Koeman’s Toffees are languishing in the relegation zone, having lost three games in a row and picking up just 4 points in five game before saying that Mourinho’s claims are “unrealistic”.
Here’s my two cents on why the claims ARE realistic. The first major focal point of this discussion has to be Romelu Lukaku. He scored a mammoth 25 goals for Everton last season before departing for £90 million in the summer to their most recent opponents. This has left a giant gap in Everton’s tactics – lump it up to the big man was in constant usage last season – but also opened them up for a change in tack, something that fee could have been used to implicate. The replacements they signed up front have so far been lacklustre, the product has not been there.
Buying Sandro for £5.2 million looks like he could develop into a steal, but in the five appearances he has made this season he is yet to hit the back of the net. When I saw this signing I thought he would make a quality backup, a year earlier and he would have had Lukaku to learn from for a year to help his development and show him how to succeed in the Premier League. At this current point, however, he is not yet the man to lead Everton’s front line to glory and if he doesn’t score soon, his confidence could drop and we could see him go the same way as Oumar Niasse – Everton’s forgotten man who was minutes from slinking off to Palace in the background of all the deadline day deals.
Gylfi Sigurðsson for £45 million is a great buy for Everton and is a player who had been screaming for someone to come and get them ever since he joined Swansea again and started being one of the most productive players in the league. However, Sigurðsson is a classic number 10 (a bloody good one too!) and cannot possibly contribute the assists that he did without having a striker or somebody in front of him. Sure, he can bang in a free kick here and there but the end product is just not the same.
Coming in on a free but almost being the marquee signing of the summer for Everton, Wayne Rooney left a striker but returned a much different player. He has, however, shown for me the brightest spark for Everton so far this season, contributing their sole 2 league goals and getting himself in good positions against United too. Were it another striker, someone young and hungry and who wasn’t deprived of his shooting boots for a few years then they may have put a few more away.
I cannot end this summary without mentioning Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He has a great track record for a youngster up to this stage and, should he continue at this rate, I feel he can really go on to hit the heights with his speed and running skills developing all the time. I don’t feel right now is exactly his time to be a Harry Kane, a Romelu Lukaku or a Diego Costa as it were, but he has real potential and, being only 20, he could really go on to make something of himself – but give him games and a couple of years yet please Ron!
As it stands, Wayne is the man with the goals to his name this season, albeit only two, but will probably go on to get something in the 10-15 region I think. That, however, is still 10 or so less goals than Lukaku got last season and Everton will have to strive to fill that gap somewhere else. Maybe Gylfi, Calvert-Lewin or even a Tom Davies or Ademola Lookman could chip in with a couple more. The point is that, right now, Koeman has not replaced the guaranteed goals that Lukaku provided, but has the skeleton of a team that he could build together to become a real force – it’s just that he has to actually do it!
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