With a strong 2017 in the rear-view mirror, Everton will head into the summer transfer window full of confidence. And so will the fan base.
After last year’s summer proved to be something of a let-down, there is now an expectation that Ronald Koeman, Steve Walsh and Farhad Moshiri will provide a spectacle.
Big name signings at big prices are expected to arrive through the doors at Goodison Park because it would be a clear sign of the new ambition at the club.
However, fans must be patient in their desire for sweeping change. Whether they like it or not, Everton are not yet at the stage to compete with the big boys for signings.
Virgil Van Dijk is a perfect example. The Dutchman is looking likely to be hot property this year, with every man and his dog seemingly keen on his signature.
Among them are reportedly Everton, with Koeman having had him at Southampton. The two also share an agent, further strengthening hopes.
The fact is, though, the Blues are likely to be at the bottom of his list. Most of the clubs interested can offer Champions League football and much bigger wages to boot.
While it would be foolish to completely rule Everton out, the ambition is certainly there these days; it would take some convincing to tempt Van Dijk to Merseyside. The same can be said of a number of players.
That is why at this moment in time, the likes of Michael Keane make an ideal signing. He’s a young, upcoming defender who has been excellent for Burnley this year.
He’s not top-tier, in any regard, but it’s that level that Everton will be competing at in the summer transfer window.
The same can be said of the likes of Kieran Trippier and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Not big name signings but both would improve the current Blues squad too. That is the point.
Walsh and Koeman must build a squad that is capable of breaking through that glass ceiling into the top four. These players help towards that goal.
When the Blues compete in the Europa League next season and hopefully compete for a top four place next season, it will show that times have changed.
First, though, they need to make the signings to help bridge the gap between seventh place and fourth place. It’s only three places but in reality, it’s a chasm.
Until then, Evertonians must be patient in their expectations. Ambition is perfectly fine but it must be tempered, expecting big name signings will only cause disappointment.