Two consecutive poor seasons with bottom half finishes for Everton have shown that the squad has plenty of weaknesses across the board. Once new manager Ronald Koeman was appointed, fans believed that he would immediately start bringing in new faces to overhaul the team, backed by a £100m transfer war chest from new owner Farhad Moshiri.
However, this offseason so far has been underwhelming on that front, with goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye the only signings so far. The last few friendly games the Toffees played showed that Everton were far from a finished product and with the season beginning in just a matter of days, Koeman still has a lot of work to do.
So we asked the writers here at Royal Blue Mersey - "What position(s) is/are Everton's weakest right now?"
Sean - The goalkeeper position is easily the weakest at this moment in time.
In fact, I’m very surprised at our lack of movement to improve that area. Joel Robles did well last season when he was brought in, but I think he’s proven now that he’s no more than a number two. He’s certainly not good enough for a side who have desires on the top six or beyond.
I echo those sentiments with Stekelenburg. He’s a number two at best. Unfortunately there’s no way for us to get around this other than spending an exorbitant fee for a new man, which I fear we won’t do.
Mike - Goalkeeper, center back, central midfield.
Goalie I think we're stuck with Stekelenburg for now so the best thing to do is improve what's in front of him, wherein I do think Ashley Williams would be a decent addition. I also like what I've seen out of Mason Holgate there and agree with others in that a 3-5-2 plays to our current CBs strengths perhaps better than the 4-2-3-1.
At center mid we have a super old Gareth Barry, an injured Muhamed Besic, a mysterious James McCarthy, an irrelevant Darron Gibson, and then Ross Barkley and Gueye, who I quite like for different reasons. It's been a while since I've seen Everton dominate the center of the park on a consistent basis, and while Gueye could help there, I think we still need reinforcements of the creative/technical type in there.
Brian - The weakest has to be right back by default.
If Seamus Coleman gets hurt the club doesn't have many options. The only realistic option is to slide John Stones out wide and that doesn't inspire confidence in anyone. Add in Coleman's average play last season and even the starting lineup is suspect. It will be surprising and rather worrying if management doesn't bring in at least a backup this window, otherwise a single injury could derail an entire campaign.
In terms of of positions where we actually have bodies, defensive midfield is our weakest. The pairing of Barry and McCarthy just hasn't worked. Gibson is often injured and now Besic is out for 6-12 months. That's not enough for the most critical position on the field. There has to be an upgrade, frankly just healthy bodies that can run is enough.
Tom - The team needs strengthening pretty much everywhere right now so it’s hard to pin down one position.
A new goalkeeper is certainly required as neither Robles nor Stekelenberg look like solid long-term options. A lot also rests on the futures of Stones and Lukaku. If either (or both) leave then that would leave the side desperately short in both defence and attack. Williams would be a decent replacement for Stones but I’m not convinced there is a striker out there good enough (and available) to replace Lukaku.
Ryan - The weakest position at the moment is goalkeeper.
With Tim Howard's move back to MLS, after a not-so-stellar year, leaving Robles and new signee Stekelenburg to battle for the position I think it's understandable that fans are nervous. Robles is still young and has time to turn into a true number one but his lack of confidence and mental mistakes are still a concern. Stekelenburg has big-time experience that comes with a long resume but I just don't know if he is an every-match player in the Premier League.
Though chatter of bringing in a new keeper has been minimal, I would like to see something (other than Stekelenburg) done in this window. Koeman understandable has been linked to a number of Southampton players so it's not a stretch to think that Fraser Forster could come to Merseyside. Forster, 28 is still young, has experience and still shows a certain amount of upside. I also believe that he could be brought in at a favorable price; however the longer the club waits to address the situation in goal, the higher the price will be.
The other position of concern is center back where captain Phil Jagielka is aging and starting to struggle with injuries, John Stones seems to be ready to take his talents to the northwest, and Ramiro Funes Mori is still learning how to be a proper Premier League back. The future seems set for the fullbacks but the center lacks a combination of experience and depth. The club have been rumored to be interested in Swansea's Williams and Southampton's Jose Fonte among others. If Stones truly does leave Merseyside, Koeman will definitely need to bring in one or two additional players who can immediately step in and contribute.
Adam - I think you could probably make an argument that the team's weakest position is winger or forward (due to the team's lack of depth there) or in goal, with neither Joel nor Stekelenburg having impressive resumes.
But, I think that things are even bleaker at center-back. Jagielka is returning from injury, Funes Mori is unpredictable, and Stones may well be out the door by the end of the summer. Even if Stones stays, there's a real risk that he won't be particularly engaged at Everton, and the team doesn't have enough depth in the center of defense to keep a passenger at the position.
There are multiple youngsters who may be ready to take on an expanded role (Brendan Galloway, Tyias Browning, and Holgate come to mind), but if this is a team legitimately committed to making a top-six push, the Toffees cannot rely on these players to play significant minutes against top opposition.
Everton has been regularly linked with Williams, a solid, experienced, no-nonsense defender who would be a perfect fit to help fill out the team's need at center-back. He would fill in the team's depth chart in the present, a definite need -- not to mention his presence as a mentor to the team's young defenders could pay off big time in the long run.
Without bringing Williams, or another experienced defender in, we are one injury to Jagielka away from having a regular center-back pairing of Funes Mori and Stones, which was generally catastrophic last season. If Stones leaves, an injury to the skipper would give Everton a center-back pairing of Funes Mori and... Galloway? Browning? Holgate? That's not good enough for a team trying to make its way up the table.
Calvin - Attacking midfield seems to be the problem area for me.
Right now we are almost entirely dependent on Barkley for creative input. While Barry is still good for picking out a good deep pass, when the Toffees are in possession it is mostly Barkley’s responsibility to circulate the ball. When Barkley is flat, Lukaku doesn’t get the service he craves and he loses interest, and the Blues are toothless in attack.
This team is crying out for a forward-minded midfielder of the Juan Mata ilk who can take a game by the scruff of the neck. Players like that are not easy to come by in the transfer market, and when they do, they cost a ton. Which is why Everton signing a player like James Rodriguez or Julian Draxler would be a statement of intent - to the fans it shows aspiration, to the squad it shows they need to pull up their socks, and most importantly to footballers elsewhere it shows Everton is a desirable destination.
Weigh in with your opinions as well in the comments below, we’d like to hear what your thoughts are on Everton’s weakest position right now.
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