With the doldrums of the international break in full swing, we thought it a good time to start reviewing Everton’s big summer signings. All eight of the first teamers have put in enough of a shift to receive evaluations on their performances and team fit, even if the long-term future of most is not quite settled.
We’re grading three ways: stock up, stock down, or stock about the same. Let’s dive in.
Pickford’s arrival at Goodison was beset by questions about how much Everton had paid for him. As a result, the pressure has been on for him to justify it from day one. It would be foolish to suggest that has happened but there have certainly been plenty of positives.
Dominant in the air, a decent shot stopper and a superb distributor, the young goalkeeper has gone a long way to impressing the watching Evertonians.
Some may question the number of goals he has conceded but that has largely been down to the shambolic defending in front of him than goalkeeping errors. In front of a better defence, Pickford would look even better than he has.
It will take a while before his lofty transfer fee is repaid but given his young age that looks certain to happen before too long. Everton did well to move quickly to secure his signature.
— Sean Lunt / @sean_lunt
Few supporters were complaining when Everton splashed out £25m on Michael Keane back in July and he has immediately filled a gaping hole in Everton’s backline.
Keane’s early performances suggested he was a shrewd acquisition, helping the Toffees keep four consecutive clean sheets as well as scoring at the other end against Hajduk split in the Europa League.
Unfortunately his form has tailed off in recent weeks in line with the team’s results. He certainly hasn't been the worst player during Everton’s poor run, and playing alongside a woefully out-of-touch Ashley Williams hasn’t helped.
It’s the responsibility of the senior players to demonstrate some leadership and guide the more inexperienced members of the squad through this tough period and Keane has been let down in that regard.
As a result I’m confident any struggles endured by Keane in recent weeks are merely a temporary blip and symptomatic of the team’s woes rather than any fundamental weaknesses in his game.
— Tom Mallows
One of Everton’s more unheralded signings, the Dutchman has arrived at Finch Farm and been just...fine. It’s still not clear whether or not Ronald Koeman wants to use a player in the position where Klaassen is best, and the nature of Everton usually chasing games means that Davy has not had a chance to get his footing.
Fleetingly, Klaassen has looked sharp. The 24 year old has an excellent football mind, and excels off the ball as well as with quick, one touch passes. He’s not been afforded the opportunities you’d expect a signing of his value to have, but Davy should come good in time. He’s too talented.
It’s hard to really determine what Evertonians were expecting from Wayne Rooney on his return to Goodison Park. The world class goal scorer once ranked as one of the world’s elite or an aging, slow, controversial character who would only serve to starve younger prospects of a chance in the first team. After the opening month or so it’s a little bit of both.
Rooney’s opening day goal against Stoke was the best moment of the season so far with pure jubilation from player and supporters and his opener at the Etihad was like Wayne Rooney circa 2008. He is technically still one of the best in the game, he works hard, is a leader and a terrific role model for younger players, if not off the pitch, but certainly on it.
The down side has been the fact he has looked off the pace in a number of games, struggling to keep up with the tempo of the game at times. His off pitch problems are well documented but at 31 years old the majority of Blues fans would have hoped them days were behind him, think again.
In the long run Wayne’s best position is deeper in midfield were he has the room to caress the ball about the field in his unique, brilliant style. If he can keep his fitness levels up and gets a bit of help with the managers tactics, optimistic I know, he should be a solid component of a growing side for the next few years at least.
— Callum Dumbell / @CalDumbell
Despite the value store price tag, Sandro Ramirez has arguably been Everton’s most disappointing acquisition. Billed as a David Villa-lite and expected to replace some of Romelu Lukaku’s goals, the Spaniard has not scored a single time, and I’m not sure he’s taken a single good touch, either.
Koeman has fiddled around with Sandro in the lineup, and that hasn’t helped - left wing, right wing, striker - but Ramirez frankly looks lost. If Everton are going to turn this season around, they need his goal contributions, and they need them quickly.
Sandro’s healthy now, and you can expect Koeman to keep running him out there to try and get the striker scoring, particularly against weaker teams, like Everton’s next opponent, Brighton.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's time at Everton can be summed up by a look at his numbers from the Burnley match.
In the opening 20 minutes of that match, during which he successfully drifted from his left-sided starting position into the center, he created three chances and had a shot on goal from inside the box. In the final half hour, during which Koeman assigned him a more central role, he created four chances.
In the 40 minutes in between, when he was forced to play more as a true winger on the left side, he completed only 10 of 16 passes, 0 of 4 crosses, no chances, and had zero shots on goal.
When Sigurdsson has been able to play in the center of the pitch, he's been the creative force Everton needs. He's definitely still struggling with the effects of having no real preseason at Swansea, and probably should have scored early against Burnley, but he's clearly capable of filling the No. 10 role that the Toffees desperately need.
But, Gylfi's not been particularly effective on the left (because that's not his natural position), and Koeman insists on playing him there anyway. His value to the team going forward will likely be intrinsically tied to whether or not Koeman figures out the Icelander should only play in the middle.
— Adam Braun / @abraun_15
While Everton fans initially remembered deadline day as one spent praying for a striker that never materialized, the under-the-radar signing of Nikola Vlasic may cause Toffees fans to forget who didn't show up to Finch Farm and remember the one who did.
Vlasic's signing may not have caused a big stir at the time, but he certainly is now. From his Europa League goal to infusing shiftiness into a side severely lacking it, Vlasic has been a welcome bright spot in an otherwise dreary start to the campaign.
Another young player in a side brimming with them, the Croatian national has shown glimpses of being one of the bargain buys of the summer. His composure and ability to create opportunities for himself and his teammates has come as a shock to those who thought it would take a lot longer for the youngster to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League, and his style of play will allow him to continue to improve at a steady rate.
If the first few months are any indication, the signing of Vlasic may just make fans remember deadline day 2017 as wildly successful instead of catastrophically disappointing.
— Brian Foley / @foleysthoughts
Woof. Where to begin?
Well, Cuco Martina hasn’t been as poor as Mason Holgate or Ashley Williams, so that’s something, I guess. Beyond that, there’s not much good to be found here. The Curacao native has suffered from Koeman insisting that the attack be run down Everton’s right flank, a role for which Martina is clearly overmatched.
In the right scenario as a depth defender, Cuco could be a useful player. He delivers the ball reasonably well, and is strong and quick. However, Martina’s decision making and positioning leaves a lot to be desired, and Everton fans continue to pine for the return of Seamus Coleman - with good reason.
Outside of Michael Keane and Leighton Baines, the entirety of the Blues’ defensive personnel has been mistake prone and generally bad this season. It will be a relief when Martina is returned to his proper home on the depth chart.
What grades would you give Everton’s summer signings? Perhaps a different conclusion for Wayne Rooney or Gylfi Sigurdsson? Sound off in the comments.