With just four games remaining in the Premier League, and with Europa League qualification still uncertain, Everton will be eyeing up potential transfer targets in the summer.
Director of football Marcel Brands spoke earlier this month, confirming that the club have already drawn up their key targets for when the transfer window reopens.
As the Liverpool Echo reported in early April, Brands said:
Now, on April 2, the players are already decided. We’ve done a lot of work on that and let’s see what is possible and what we can do but the positions and names are ready.
With that in mind, we’ve been wondering what exactly those positions are.
With just a handful of games to go, we’ve looked at which specific areas Everton could do with strengthening, and what the club need to accomplish in the summer window to ensure the squad begin next season in the strongest possible position.
Jordan Pickford, occasional blip and all, is undeniably the first-choice goalkeeper for Everton, and while his position isn’t being questioned, that of his understudy Maarten Stekelenburg is.
When Pickford fails to perform, the England international should feel his back-up breathing down his neck, putting pressure on him to perform. At Goodison Park however, this isn’t the case.
Dutchman Stekelenburg isn’t close to displacing or challenging Pickford, and Everton could do with signing someone to increase competition and depth of quality in that department.
For much of the 2018/19 season, Everton’s first-choice right-back has been very unclear. Seamus Coleman and Jonjoe Kenny have both started for Marco Silva, and with one aging, and the other’s long-term future uncertain, a new quality option would be useful.
Everton have a different situation on the left-hand side, with Lucas Digne the clear undisputed first-choice in his position. However, with Leighton Baines’ contract set to expire this summer, another left-sided option will be necessary, unless the former England international is offered an extension.
Phil Jagielka is out of contract at the end of the season, Kurt Zouma is set to rejoin Chelsea following the expiry of his loan deal, and Yerry Mina’s impact has been questionable.
We’ll see how Everton’s pursuit of a centre-half changes in the coming months. Should Jagielka sign on, or Zouma return on a permanent deal, the immediacy decreases. However, the club can’t ever have enough top talent at the back.
Similarly with Kurt Zouma, Andre Gomes could well leave Goodison Park for good at the end of the season, as much as we hope that isn’t the case. Idrissa Gueye also wants to go, so we can expect to see plentiful change.
For both defensive options, and for those more creative players, Everton could always look to increase squad depth.
Frankly, Everton’s consistency on who to field out wide this season has been all over the place. More so than a lack of numbers, Everton are suffering from a lack of quality.
Theo Walcott will surely be sold, and Bernard should be playing centrally. With that in mind, and with Henry Onyekuru’s future not certain, wide options are always useful signings.
The Obvious One.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has ironed out a little niche for himself toward the back end of this season, but for the majority, Everton haven’t had a stable front-man.
Whether Cenk Tosun goes or stays, and whether Oumar Niasse goes or stays, the club desperately need better options up front.