Rodwell fears played down as squad prepare for pre-season

Jack Rodwell reacts to the news that Jay Bothroyd has been linked with a move to Goodison. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The Everton squad must have that 'end-of-holiday' feel today as they prepare to return to Finch Farm on Tuesday for pre-season training.

For the fans it should bring with it excitement ahead of the 'clean slate' a new season brings. Instead though morale among the supporters seems to be at its lowest in years – perhaps not since the chaotic 1997 close season, when at one stage we had no manager, no new kit and no principle shirt-sponsor (a chronic failure on all levels) has the fans been so pessimistic about our future.

Once again  it will be the same old names who will arrive, with no new faces to lift the gloom despite David Moyes' desire to get his 'business done early'.

Even the players themselves must be a little deflated as they know our weaknesses as much as we do – if we, to borrow another Moyes phrase, 'go with what we've got', then we will fall over the same old hurdles yet again.

In the club's defence the transfer market remains fairly static, with Newcastle and Sunderland  (flush with cash after big name January sales remember) champions Manchester United and Liverpool the obvious exceptions.

That's not to say players aren't available, with the financial fair play rules looming on the horizon a number of clubs are seeking to trim their squads. But with that comes a desire to get the best price possible, while on the other side of the negotiating table the buying clubs are playing hardball with wages, aware that every penny counts when it comes to passing UEFA's new test.

I have a feeling deals will go right up to deadline day again, which may make for exciting TV and send the internet into over-drive but it is not healthy for the clubs who will again have to integrate their new signings into the squad after the season has begun.

But even that still shouldn't disguise the poor financial situation the club finds itself in. With all the money pouring into the Premier League and the consistent top eight finishes Moyes guides the club too, they should at least be able to afford  the rumoured £4.5million down payment for Charles N'Zogbia. And when you see clubs like Stoke offering £12million for a defender it puts into sharp focus the constraints Moyes finds himself in, and makes you wonder how long he will put up with it.

Unfortunately it seems other clubs are aware of our desperation to generate funds, with Fenerbahce in particular haggling over a transfer fee for Joseph Yobo, hoping we will just take any offer purely to get some cash in. The Nigerian is expected to complete his move to Turkey this week and if the fee is the £4million suggested, then that would not be a bad compromise for a player approaching 30 and for whom we received a loan fee last summer.

Yakubu is also another player seemingly on his way out, though in this case it is the players wages that are the stumbling block. That seems to have ruled out Leicester City with rumours of a move to Turkey now emerging.

I hope (really hope!) that those two departures could kick start our spending, I'm sure Moyes has a few potential deals in the pipeline. It does seem though that the board can provide no extra cash of its own and player sales will make up Moyes' entire budget.

In amongst the gloom there is some good news this week. Phil Neville is set to sign a new two-year contract, ensuring he will end his career with the Blues – dispelling those Tottenham rumours. Young defender Eric Dier will spend another season on loan from Sporting Lisbon, I presume with a view to a permanent move. While reports in the Echo today also suggest Everton are not willing to sell Jack Rodwell - despite stories to the contrary over the weekend; nor does the youngster want a move.

The fear that Moyes will cash in on one of his saleable assets – namely Rodwell, Phil Jagielka, Marouane Fellaini or Leighton Baines – is a very real one as the club know they cannot refuse should a massive offer come in.

Hopefully should Arsenal sign Gary Cahill and Gael Clichy complete his move to Man City, that should rule out Jags and Baines leaving. The main worry is Fellaini, who has yet to sign a new deal, despite staying he wants to stay (for now).

Plenty to ponder then as we slowly build-up towards the new campaign. The past three summers have been tortuous so expectations regarding transfers are at an all time low, though at least we have some friendly matches coming up to keep us occupied.

We will be covering all of Everton's pre-season games, including the ones in the US. And should we by some miracle sign someone (for real money) we will bring you all the details.

Keep the faith.

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