With great spending comes great expectations.
Everton went out and rebuilt the spine of the squad this summer, picking up over half a dozen new players as Ronald Koeman went about building up the Toffees to suit his vision.
Keeping that in mind, we asked the writers at Royal Blue Mersey to chime in with their answers to this question -
Which Everton player will be under the most pressure to perform this season?
Jordan Pickford. Given his fee and the nature of his position, Pickford will have unreasonably high expectations placed on him this season. Goalkeepers will always get the bulk of the blame when a goal is scored and typically least amount of praise in the even of a clean sheet. At 23 years old, Pickford is still a ways away from the typical goalkeeper prime years. Everyone would do well to be patient, let him make mistakes and develop.
Brian L -
It has to be Pickford, his price is astronomical for a goalkeeper and with last year's goalie performances fans will expect him to be the best keeper since Tim Howard, and arguably more. If he doesn't do well it will just highlight what looks like several holes in the squad. Oh and his preseason performances don't help, they've just raised expectations since he's been one of the truly great players in preseason.
I'll preface this by saying that if Gylfi Sigurdsson comes to Everton, it'll be him by a country mile -- the anticipation and price tag associated with the move will put immense pressure on the Icelander. That said, if Everton winds up with no Gylfi, the pressure will be on whoever fills in for Seamus Coleman at right-back. Koeman's setup puts a ton of attacking impetus on the full-backs, so it will fall to one of Cuco Martina, Mason Holgate, and Jonjoe Kenny to fill in for the Irishman until his return. If they fail, it could mean the failure of Everton's entire attacking plan.
Jordan Pickford - with that price tag there will always be pressure on the lad and his every mistake will no doubt be over scrutinised, he needs a good start to season and his confidence should grow.
If he somehow stays, Ross Barkley. I'm tempted to say Rooney but I don't actually think most of us expect that much from him. Perhaps Davy Klaassen is the answer, as he's tasked with both filling a gaping creative hole and scoring some goals to make up for Lukaku's departure. He's also 24, entering what are typically the prime years of players in his position. Michael Keane comes to mind as well, given his hype and the ages of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka.
Michael Keane is going to be expected to do a lot this season. Forget the amount of money it took to pry him from Burnley for a minute. He is the only healthy Everton defender anywhere close to the prime of his career as the start of the league season looms. Unless something drastic changes, he will have a centerback partner about a decade older than him all season while also building chemistry with other new teammates, including a young goalkeeper.
At the same time, given his size and strength, Keane could very well be Everton's biggest goal-scoring threat on set pieces from distance, especially corners. That's a lot of pressure on a 24-year-old who will also be looking to make some good final impressions in the run-up to next summer's World Cup.
Brian F -
I think Jordan Pickford will be under the most pressure to perform by the general public. While he is a young keeper, he is an incredibly expensive one, and for the price we paid for him people will expect him to wins us a few games. If he has an uneven season his price tag could look bad for Everton. Don't worry, I have confidence it won't.
It would be extremely easy to say Wayne Rooney but I don't think that's the case. In fact, I think the majority of people are expecting Rooney to fail. Sandro Ramirez is the man I think the real pressure will be on. He has arrived to great fanfare and people will be hoping he can replace Romelu Lukaku's goals.
It's Wayne Rooney for me. The fans may not be expecting much, however all signs point to Ronald Koeman having Rooney as one of the first names on his team sheet, and that may be a real problem. Rooney scored the one screamer in preseason, but beyond that has looked off the pace.
Rooney's wages are reportedly high, and his presence in the dressing room is immense. If he doesn't contribute in a meaningful way this season, there will be serious introspection amongst the club and its supporters.
Jordan Pickford. He's the only guy with "record" next to his signing. A lot of balls went past him last year, and conventional wisdom says it wasn't his fault, but if a £30m keeper has a few gaffs early on his season could turn into a mess in a hurry. You spend Buffon-like money on a kid, he better be worth it.
If we ever complete the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson it will undoubtedly be him! People are annoyed that this has dragged out for so long regardless of the reason why.
But for now, I'd have to say Sandro Ramirez. Koeman has said he would rather have five or six players score 10 goals than Lukaku score 25. I'd tend to agree but I'm only allowed to pick one person so I've chosen Sandro as he will be the forward player expected mostly to fill the void left by Lukaku.
If the Gylfi Sigurdsson gets finally pushed through then it would have to be him, since he will be expected to be creator-in-chief for an astronomical pricetag, with his every misplaced pass microscopically examined and with a knowing ‘tsk tsk’ proclaimed not good enough.
Alternatively, Morgan Schneiderlin is going to feel the heat this year too. With the midfield off chasing goals or the ball, he is going to be expected to play sole protector for the defence. Last season any mistakes were given a mulligan considering he hadn’t played the first half of the year, but he will have no such excuses this year.