The Blues have shown glimpses of what they can look like under the Dutch boss but have yet to find their consistency in the Premier League. With Koeman reportedly being set for a busy January window, we take a look at some key positions Everton have to improve.
Koeman’s side have already made a number of moves in the window, signing young talents like Ademola Lookman but will also need to add more established players like Morgan Schneiderlin to their squad if they want to progress this season.
Everton’s need for a true number one has been something they’ve been searching for, for a couple of windows now. Tim Howard departed for the MLS and he could have and should have been replaced by a top quality shot stopper.
Maarten Stekelenburg started life at Goodison Park really well and won Everton a couple of games by himself but he has been poor since.
Joel Robles has proven that he can be called upon when necessary and has probably found himself unlucky at times to not be Everton’s first choice. The Spaniard is a solid back-up ‘keeper but can be inconsistent.
His performance against Leicester City on Boxing Day is something he needs to show more of. He was dominating in the air and showcased a swagger about his game that hasn’t been shown in a long time. He may find himself on the chopping block if Everton can get a deal done.
The Toffees have been linked with Jordan Pickford of Sunderland and there is definite from their side but the England international’s knee injury and the Black Cats fight against survival will likely keep him in the North East until the summer.
The Toffees wouldn’t need to sign a winger during this transfer window if not for the horrific injury that will keep Yannick Bolasie out for 12 months. The Blues spent big on the Congolese winger in the Summer, making him the second most expensive transfer in club history.
The former Crystal Palace man had struck up a good partnership with Romelu Lukaku and while his play at times could be frustrating, he was always an attacking threat.
There is also the lingering question of whether or not Koeman rates Gerard Deulofeu. The Spaniard certainly has talent but since his injury last season, he has been ineffective at best. Koeman deployed Deulofeu as a forward during pre-season and spoke highly of him but has allowed the former Barcelona wonder kid to slip out of plans, relegated to the bench and sometimes even out of the squad altogether.
Kevin Mirallas and Aaron Lennon have been ineffective at best. Mirallas is better suited to buzzing around the striker while Lennon works hard but lacks a consistent end product.
Ademola Lookman has been signed from Charlton Athletic and has the ability to play as a winger, but similarly to Mirallas, his most effective role looks to be playing closer to the striker, in this case, Romelu Lukaku.
Manchester United’s Memphis Depay has also been linked with a move but that now seems unlikely with interest from Lyon and other European clubs.
For a number of windows, Everton have been searching for somebody who can adequately be a backup option to Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has never had any true competition during his time on Merseyside and it’s something that would benefit him and his team.
Arouna Kone has shown in glimpses that he can be the perfect foil alongside Lukaku but his inability to stay fit has hampered his chances while Oumar Niasse, who has joined Hull City on loan, has been an unmitigated disaster since signing last January. It’s not Niasse’s fault, he didn’t sanction his transfer, but his good attitude off the field doesn’t translate to talent on it.
Enner Valencia has shown what Everton could use in the forward areas. The Ecuadorian international has provided energy and guile in recent weeks but lacks the quality needed to truly challenge Lukaku or replace him if called upon.
Add in the fact that West Ham United may look to recall the forward if they are unable to sign another striker and Everton have to add another forward this window.
Koeman’s side have once again been linked with Manolo Gabbiadini but a deal is unlikely. Instead, the Blues have turned their attention to Ishak Belfodil of Standard Liege. The 25-year-old forward doesn’t have the greatest goal return but he matches the energy of Valencia and brings an aerial aspect that Everton desperately need.
Everton have targets of European Football and this season, that can be achieved by being the ‘best of the rest’ in the Premier League. Any chance at silverware is effectively over, they’re not winning the league, so the attention and focus has to change to achieving the best possible league finish.
To achieve that, they’ll have to address plenty of issues by getting out their chequebook and spending the money that was available during the summer.