Even before the extended 2019-20 season went out with a whimper against Bournemouth, Carlo Ancelotti had already begun the exodus at Everton.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Oumar Niasse, Cuco Martina, Luke Garbutt, Maarten Stekelenburg and Leighton Baines have all left Goodison Park since the start of June as the Italian begins to trim a bloated squad. Djibril Sidibé also looks unlikely to have his loan deal from Monaco made permanent.
But who else could a Goodison departure this summer be on the cards for? We look at a number of Everton players who may well be playing their football elsewhere by the time the transfer window closes in early October.
It feels like once again, and perhaps justifiably, a season has ended with the majority of Evertonians hoping to never see a number of players in an Everton shirt again.
After his latest blunder against Bournemouth, letting Junior Stanislas’ effort slip through his hands for their third goal, the heat turned back up on Jordan Pickford, who had his worst of his three seasons between the sticks this year. There’s been talk of a move to Chelsea, but replacing one error-prone goalkeeper in Kepa Arrizabalaga for another seems rather counter-intuitive.
Personally, I don’t think Pickford is disastrous - his excellent save against Callum Wilson on Sunday proved that - but I just don’t think he’s good enough. That said, it feels like he’ll still start 2020-21 as Everton’s number one, for better or worse.
Ahead of Pickford, Yerry Mina continues to be linked with Valencia, which perhaps wouldn’t be the worst move despite an impressive season for the centre-half - when he’s made it on to the pitch, that is. Mina might be too injury-prone to rely on and with Jarrad Branthwaite and Lewis Gibson coming through, Everton may be willing to listen to offers for the Colombian.
In central midfield, you’d be hard-pressed to find any Evertonian who wants to keep Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Davies or Fabian Delph after all three of them suffered lamentable campaigns. Sigurdsson is 31 in September and looks finished at this level of football, as if his legs have given up on him after season after season of constant football. The question is, though, not only who would he still be an asset to, but who would be prepared to sign him on the sort of wages he’d command?
Davies’ time is probably up, though perhaps a good loan might help him find his feet as it previously did for the likes of Seamus Coleman, Mason Holgate and Leon Osman. As for Delph - well, the less said about his first season at Everton, the better. Maybe with Leeds United being promoted, they might be keen on taking back their former player, as Sheffield United did with Phil Jagielka after they came up last year. Either way, Everton should get rid.
Question marks also hang over the futures of wingers Bernard and Alex Iwobi (though, Iwobi patently is not a winger, despite playing wide for much of this term). The Brazilian has struggled for consistency in his end product throughout his time at Goodison and has now seemingly lost his place to youngster Anthony Gordon on the left flank. Given Everton signed him on a free transfer, any money made on Bernard stands as 100 per cent profit, and the club should easily find another wide man who could at least equal his three goals and two assists this season on a fraction of his reported £120,000-a-week salary. As with Sigurdsson, though, it may be arduous offloading him when he’s on such steep earnings.
The signing of Iwobi last summer from Arsenal for a reported £34 million must surely stand as one of the worst pieces of business Everton have done, and smacks more of a panic buy with every non-existent performance that passes. To an extent, it’s not his fault - to reiterate, he isn’t a winger - but like Bernard, he has desperately lacked conviction. If Ancelotti is to opt primarily for 4-4-2 again next term, it’s difficult to see where Iwobi fits into that system, either. Everton should probably bite the bullet and listen to offers.
Now for the ones which will be infuriatingly hard to move on. Yannick Bolasie, likeable as he is, surely has no way back at Goodison, but with one more year lift on his contract, a fourth loan of the 31-year-old’s Everton career seems more feasible than a summer sale.
It feels as if Everton are in similar take-what-you-can-get territory with Sandro Ramirez, Muhamed Besic and Matthew Pennington. Ramirez is another reportedly pocketing an eye-watering six-figure wage and will be difficult to shift permanently - the striker has netted just five goals in three loan spells since joining Everton.
Besic may be easier to sell, though the fact he was given a five-year deal in February 2016 becomes more baffling by the season. Pennington, now 25, evidently has no Everton future and has just returned from a second successive loan spell ending in relegation from the Championship, this time with Hull City. His deal also expires next June. Any takers will do.
Cenk Tosun may have been a more conceivable departure this summer had the striker not suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during his loan at Crystal Palace. As it is, with the Turk likely out until the winter, it’s hard to see why any club will come knocking for him now.
Jonjoe Kenny has returned from a pretty solid year with Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, despite their late-season freefall under David Wagner. Whether the German club want him back, or whether Everton see him as a realistic successor to Coleman at right-back, time will tell. With Sidibé seemingly out of the picture now, that will certainly open the door for Kenny; it’s a question of whether the club feel he’s good enough.
Moise Kean looked set to join Nikola Vlasic and Ademola Lookman as gifted youngsters driven away by Everton’s mismanagement, but a final-day goal and all-round impressive performance against AFC Bournemouth was a reminder of his prodigious talent. A return to Italy has been mooted - not least by his dad - and while his debut two-goal season in England was extremely forgettable, Everton should keep faith with the 20-year-old for now.
Of course, there’s the landfill loanees seemingly going nowhere fast by the looks of it. Kieran Dowell, Callum Connolly, Shani Tarashaj, Josh Bowler and Nathan Broadhead, for instance; all of whom will return from temporary spells away from Goodison to probably start looking for another.
Then there’s the midfield pair of Beni Baningime and Dennis Adeniran. Despite the former impressing when given a first-team berth by David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce in 2017-18, and the latter having roughly £4 million spent on him by Everton to Fulham in 2017, what hope is there for them if neither enjoyed a single minute of action after the Premier League’s restart, with Everton’s midfield as supine as it was?
Not nearly all of these players will depart Goodison for good this summer. Rarely, if ever, do we see overhauls of this magnitude in football, and the coronavirus pandemic has not only rendered the schedule even more hectic than before but may well have diminished Everton’s budget, too.
For a while, some, maybe most, of these will stick around, but other than a few exceptions, it’s hard to pinpoint many who could still have a long-term future at L4.