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Everton’s spending set to continue as optimism soars ahead of new season

The majority of the first-team squad reported back for pre-season training today ahead of one of the most eagerly awaited campaigns in years

Optimism has rarely been higher among Evertonians as preparations for the 2017-18 season formally begin at USM Finch Farm.

You probably have to go back to the glory days of the mid-80s to find such excitement amongst Toffees fans about an upcoming season.

After a decade of decline in the 90s and ‘just getting by’ in the 00s, there’s a real feeling that Everton are on the verge of something special.

Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen and Henry Onyekuru are already through the door, with Sandro and Michael Keane to follow imminently.

It means the Toffees have already spent in excess of £60m this summer alone and more than any other Premier League since the turn of the year - with the promise of even more to follow.

It’s a far cry from just a few years ago when we went two years and four successive transfer windows without spending any money on a first-team player.

It’s not just the money spent that’s so exciting though, it’s the players we’ve spent it on.

Every signing so far this summer was the standout player at their club last season. Everton are ruthlessly swooping in and plucking the best talent from rival clubs.

The speed and efficiency of Everton’s moves in the transfer market has also been impressive.

Evertonians are used to their side scrambling around for players at the end of the transfer window, not the start.

Conspiracy theorists blamed the first installment of Premier League TV money only arriving in August or a desire of the club to save wages by signing players late.

Either way such rapid transfer business is extremely rare. In fact (as pointed out by Sky Sports statistician Matt Cheetham) Everton have failed to sign a player by the end of June in eight of the last 10 transfer windows.

One of those years was 2010-11, when Everton brought in the illustrious quartet of Jermaine Beckford Magaye Gueye, Joao Silva and Jan Mucha.

How times change.

Back to matters on the pitch and the bulk of Everton’s squad will undergo fitness tests at USM Finch Farm today before pre-season training begins in earnest.

Ross Barkley was among the players to report for duty as speculation continues over his future at the club.

It was also great to see Aaron Lennon return to training after he took time out to recover from a stress-related illness last season.

The players will continue to train at Finch Farm this week before flying to Tanzania for their first friendly of the summer against Gor Mahia FC on July 13.

Players who were involved for their countries, including new signings Pickford and Klaassen, have been given extra time off.

They are likely to return to training on Monday July 10 ahead of a training camp in the Netherlands the following week.