With the January transfer window getting closer and closer, questions at Everton press conferences have turned towards what Sam Allardyce is planning to do to strengthen the squad and trim the fat, so to speak.
The Blues take on Swansea City on Monday but Big Sam’s pre-match presser was held early this morning, and he expounded on what he is thinking for the transfer window.
“The squad is 32 players. It’s big, massive. Only 25 can be registered. Within those 32 there’s a considerable amount of young talent which we’ll have to sit down and make a decision on in the weeks going into January.
“Would it be an opportunity for a loan or are they valuable to the first team squad and can play a part in it? We may have that decision in January on a week-to-week basis because we don’t know what’s going to happen when there’s other actions from other football clubs outside of Everton.”
He was also asked on how the recruitment process would work with him, Director of Football Steve Walsh and the major shareholders of the club.
“Pretty well I would think. There’s a huge amount of data has been gathered and collected - availability, what he does, his price, what length of contract, does he or doesn’t he want to come?
“That process is already in place with Steve (Walsh), we’ll communicate with the owners, and whatever decision is made we’ll move on with it, whatever we do.
“It’s a collective final decision. Can we tick all the boxes? Do we go down this route and down this line?”
When asked if there was a list that they would be working off?
“I think the answer to that is probably yes.
“But in my experience, the window becomes very difficult, but very interesting. All of a sudden one pops up from another area you never expected you thought might not be available, you look at what you have in your database, do your research, you never thought that player would come along and you realise that player would be very interesting.”
Allardyce also commented on the future of Ross Barkley and the January window as a whole.
“No links as far as I’m aware of with Chelsea. If there was to be contact, that would be between us, top to bottom, it would be about making the right decision for Everton.
“If Ross isn’t interested in staying at Everton - I don’t know whether he is or isn’t, at the moment - it would be sensible to consider whatever offers there are in January.
“But at this moment, we’re speculating because there are no offers on the table to consider. Ross is recovering from an injury, I’m more interested in him being fit and available as an Everton player.
“We’ll deal with what comes in the January transfer window. Now is the hardest time of the year for managers and football clubs and players because of speculation.
“Speculation sometimes creates an uncertainty, players read they maybe moving somewhere else or the manager’s decided to let him go, and all of a sudden they are uncertain about their future.
“It’s only speculation but it puts doubt in their mind, and you have to reassure them that’s not the case.
“The January window is a difficult time because we’re in a very good frame of mind at the moment, and that could create doubt in some of the players.”