As we move further into the summer transfer window, Everton’s roster for the upcoming season is beginning to take shape. There have been a number of high-profile additions to the team, but in this article, we are going to look at the departures and how that will affect the team moving forward.
There were a number of players who became free agents in the last month, many of them, with the exception of Arouna Kone, had little to no time with the first team. With that in mind we will be focusing on three players who have seen their fair share of time on the pitch for Everton over the past few season.
A last minute addition prior to the start of this past season, Valencia ended up being one of the last additions to Everton’s roster before the season began. The move, a season long loan from West Ham, was met with confusion and disappointment by many as it was expected that Everton would be making more of a splash in the transfer market.
Valencia had mixed results with the team, mostly coming on as a substitute, but still starting across the front line as needed. He never had much of an impact for the team and while he did score a few goals, it never seemed as though he could be a player to be relied on. While it will be unfortunate to loss more depth at his position, his £14.5 million price tag didn’t help and Everton can likely pick up a similar player for a lower price or promote from within.
Kone was one of several players who followed Roberto Martinez to Everton from Wigan. Along with James McCarthy and Joel Robles, the trio were expected to be a big part of Martinez’s vision for Everton. Unfortunately for Kone, he missed his first season with a knee injury and failed to play much of a role in any of the subsequent seasons. With the exception of his hat trick against Sunderland, Kone’s tenure with Everton was disappointing.
With Kone’s departure and the likely departure of Romelu Lukaku, Everton will be very short staffed at the striker position and will need to replace a lot of goals.
The big Belgian has been absolutely crucial for Everton during his time here. It wasn’t long ago that the likes of Nikica Jelavic was leading the front line for Everton. While Lukaku has had his down moments, he has certainly shown what a team like Everton can do with a top quality striker.
Unfortunately, Everton have become too reliant on Lukaku over the last four seasons. When Lukaku has been out or not firing on all cylinders, Everton have struggled mightily to get reliable scoring from other players. During his time with the club Lukaku has scored 71 goals in 133 appearances across all competitions. This will not be easy production to replace. Currently, Everton seem to be taking a “goals by committee” approach in their transfer dealings.
While a Lukaku transfer has not been confirmed yet, the player seems intent on leaving Everton this summer. The consolation prize will be a large one though as Everton appear set to possibly receive a record-setting transfer fee for the striker.
I must admit, I am bitter at the way Lukaku is leaving the club, but there was always a feeling that his ambitions never quite synced up with Everton’s ability to meet them as a club.
Out of all the likely and confirmed departures, Ross Barkley leaving Everton would hurt the most. As a boyhood Evertonian and graduate of the academy, it’s unfortunate to see Barkley’s career with the club come to such an unceremonious end. After failing to impress in his numerous loan stints under David Moyes, it was Roberto Martinez who gave Barkley his first real shot with the first team. Barkley was massively impressive in the 2013-14 season, notching six goals and helping lead Everton to a place in the Europa League.
His subsequent seasons with the club have been plagued with inconsistencies. He could be downright brilliant some weeks and infuriatingly inexperienced in others. Despite his issues, Barkley always seemed to improve from season to season and appeared to finally hit his stride half way through this past season.
Not suited to playing a traditional number 10 role, Barkley seemed to flourish out on the wing under Ronald Koeman. With free reign to cut inside, Barkley was a key contributor for Everton this past year. Unfortunately, as contract talks stalled and Koeman issued an ultimatum on signing an extension, Barkley appears set to exit the club.
Fortunately, With Davy Klaassen already signed on, Gylfi Sigurdsson hopefully on the way and Tom Davies on the squad, Everton should be set in the middle of the park for years to come.
On Sunday evening, Deulofeu’s former team, FC Barcelona, made a surprising move by exercising their buy-back option on the winger to the tune of £10.5 million. Fresh off of a very solid season with Serie A outfit AC Milan, Deulofeu was reportedly keen to return to Italy as a part of their long-term plans. Instead he will likely be heading back to Barcelona where he will have to work his way past the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar if he wants to start.
There are certainly mixed feelings and opinions when it comes to Deulofeu’s departure. My feeling about the player was always that there appeared to be more potential than actual results. He could thrill you in one match and then disappear for the subsequent five. This move will also provide no help to Everton’s diminishing number of wide players. Currently the team has Kevin Mirallas, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman and Aaron Lennon. The numbers are there to fill out the squad, but I wonder if that group of players can bring Everton to the next level.
While there has been no chatter about Robles leaving the club, the recent addition of Jordan Pickford may make Robles reconsider his future with Everton. His tenure with the Toffees has been a mixed bag since he took over the starting goalkeeper position form Tim Howard in the 2015-16. Ever since he joined the club, Robles has never been fully trusted by either Koeman or Martinez to be the starting keeper. He’s done a decent job for the team, but in the past two season’s he’s been shaky enough that he’s had to share games with either Maarten Stekelenburg or Howard.
It’s certainly possible that Robles may want to stick around to back up Pickford, but at this point in his career, it wouldn’t be surprising if he chose to look elsewhere for a starting gig.