Premier League

3 Areas Everton must improve to progress under Silva

 • by Mark Ritson
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Everton were one of the biggest spenders last summer under former boss Ronald Koeman, but underperformed last season despite an eighth-place finish.

Koeman was sacked at the end of October following a humbling 5-2 home defeat to Arsenal, Sam Allardyce came in and steadied the ship – but his style of play ultimately cost him his position, too.

Everton have got some exciting players but they nowhere near showed their true potential at times.  

An eighth-place finish is by no means a poor end result, but they were 14 points off Arsenal in sixth and should have accumulated more than the 49 with the talent at their disposal.

Under new boss Marco Silva, they have a manager who likes to play entertaining football and he possesses the ability to take the current crop of players forward.

But he will need to bring in a few more additions this summer, that’s for sure.  

Here, Football Whispers takes a look at the three key areas the Toffees need to strengthen in the next couple of months. 

An attacking midfielder or second striker

Wayne Rooney‘s return was hit and miss throughout last season, and fans saw inconsistency from the 32-year-old.

He did end up as the Toffees’ top goal-scorer with 11 strikes, but the last of those came on December 18 versus Swansea City. He looks set to leave this month with a mover to Major League Soccer franchise DC United on the card, so the club need to think about replacing him.  
Everton also shelled out £45 million for Gylfi Sigurðsson and got just five goals and three assists in return. That’s not enough for that sort of money though, in mitigation, the Icelander was shunted all over the place in an attempt to accommodate Rooney before seeing his season ended early by injury.

Everton No.10s Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson both underwhelmed last season

Cenk Tosun showed glimpses of what he can do in attack towards the end of the campaign, but perhaps he needs someone to thread that killer pass into feet a bit more often, or even a strike partner.  

Everton have wide players in Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie, and in total last season the team produced 629 crosses, which amounts to 16.55 per match. But that is the fourth-fewest per 90 average the Premier League which suggests the club’s forwards aren’t getting enough service. 

Now, they just need someone who can make the difference to Tosun, alongside or behind him.  

In Spain, Marca say Sporting Lisbon forward Bast Dost is the subject of Everton transfer rumours. The Netherlands international scored 30 goals in 39 games in all competitions last season. 

The 29-year-old has only played in one of Europe’s top five leagues once prior, though, and struggled in a four-year spell with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg before moving to Sporting in 2016.

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye

Someone to partner Idrissa Gueye

Gueye was an unsung hero last season. He does a lot of the dirty work, there’s a lot of running involved and he puts his foot in. And the statistics back it up.

Everton won possession in the middle third 22.78 times per 90 last season and Gueye was an influential figure making 3.81 tackles per 90 – the fourth-most of any midfielder in the Premier League.

With the ball the Senegalese produced the most accurate passes (1,327) and had the most touches (2,103) of any Toffees player. His Player Persona radar, exclusive to Football Whispers, shows defending to be the biggest part of his game though build-up passing also ranks highly in terms of his characteristics.

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye's player persona

But now he needs someone to perhaps take the workload off him. Everton have an option in Morgan Schneiderlin, but fans have not seen the best of Frenchman in the 18 months since he moved from Manchester United and last November he found himself on the back pages for the wrong reasons after a training ground bust-up with Kevin Miralles

Everton held onto possession for average time of 8.32 seconds last season, only the 14th-longest in the top flight, so they need someone who can retain the ball alongside Gueye; someone who is a lot smarter and can release a crucial pass to the forward players.

That man could be Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho, who been a Manchester United transfer target in the past. It is believed Everton are hoping to come to an agreement to take the 26-year-old to Goodison Park.

A left-back for the future

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Leighton Baines has been a tremendous player for the Toffees, but he turns 34 later this year. 

That’s not say he should be dropped, but in fact needs a bit of competition and perhaps needs to be managed carefully now he’s coming towards his mid-30s. 

Cuco Martina is one those players who will do a job at left-back, if required. But the former Southampton defender is very much a right-sided full-back by trade and a proper left-back alternative must be sought – especially if Baines joins LA Galaxy, as is being reported by the Daily Mirror

Silva needs to bring in a naturally left-footed player who already has experience under their belt but is also potentially for the future and can challenge Baines next season. 

One man who has previously been linked is Bayern Munich man Juan Bernat, who is also a Schalke transfer target.   

However, a player who has huge potential and wouldn’t command a big transfer fee is Bristol City‘s Joe Bryan, linked with Everton earlier this year and is also now a Burnley transfer target.  

Bryan has become one of the best left-backs in the Championship and is destined to play in the Premier League sooner rather than later. 

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