I’m sure many fans of Everton, and of Premier League football, will agree when I say that Everton have a brilliant footballing ethos. With relatively limited funds, having only spent £ 1.5 million on players this season, Everton have managed to be consistently placed in the in the top ten over the last four seasons. They enjoyed good seasons in 2007/08 and 2008/09 as they were placed fifth consecutively. Despite this good run, their form slumped last season resulting in them finishing eighth overall. This is perhaps because of a lack of investment in players – now don’t everyone shout at once!
Everton have a wonderful young talent coming through, with the likes of Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman really impressing this season. Unfortunately, it has become necessary to bring in some very special overseas talent if you want to succeed in the Premier League. With the speculated transfer of Rodwell to Manchester United for £25 million, we may see some additional funds being thrown into the pot this summer.
Undoubtedly, I’m sure most fans will have a rough idea of where it is most likely to be spent. One stand out problem this season has been Everton’s scoring power – or the lack of it. Despite being ranked ninth in the league, their goals-for stat puts them below newly promoted teams such as Blackpool, West Brom and Newcastle. Everton suffer because they only have two recognised strikers: Saha and Beckford, both of whom have been out of form this season despite a late spree from the Frenchman over the last few months.
Saha has failed to recover the consistent form ended last season, scoring only five goals in the league so far. Beckford has also been similarly poor, scoring only six goals. A new striker seems to be in order, one that is rapidly taking the shape of Michael Owen – don’t everyone celebrate at once!
Although depressing for some hardcore fans, Owen – whose interests lie more with horse racing than football – would certainly add experience to the already ageing strike force. Everton should perhaps focus on finding fresh talent up front and several players in foreign leagues have stood out this season; Palermo’s Cavani, 24, has twenty goals in twenty-nine appearances in Serie A, Moussa Sow of Lille, 25, valued at £8 million, has eighteen goals in twenty-seven appearances in Ligue 1, or could Everton invest in Lorient’s Gameiro, 23, also of Ligue 1, who has scored sixteen goals in twenty-five appearances. There is clearly some young talent to be had, should Moyes decide to invigorate a stagnating strike force
Another serious issue is Everton’s small squad size of only nineteen players – the smallest in the league. This has many disadvantages for a team. For one, the bench can become very weak, especially if some key players pick up injuries. This has already happened to Everton this season, with key midfielder Arteta missing much of the season’s beginning, and more recently Marouane Fellaini declared injured for the rest of the campaign. Everton need to invest in some utility players to secure the bench, and to provide squad depth. If untreated this problem could see them imitate rivals Liverpool, another team that has suffered in terms of depth of squad.
If Everton hope to challenge for a top six place this season, their primary focus should be to spend more money in bringing fresh talent. A new striker is needed to help match the fire power of already established top end teams. Moyes also needs to add depth; tired players become fatigued and injured. With Everton being such a wonderful example of footballing spirit, in would be a shame to see them struggle next season.