Carlo Ancelotti has said he believes Everton have addressed a top priority over the summer in signing three midfielders in Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré and James Rodriguez.
Everton’s midfield was painfully weak at times in a trying 2019-20 campaign, but speaking at the unveiling of Rodriguez on Thursday, the Italian said he is pleased with the progress the club have made so far in improving the squad:
“We are happy to have these players. The club did a fantastic job because they were the priority for us. Now we are working to have a good season and be competitive in all competitions. I think the squad has improved.
“The market is going to close on 5 October and if there is an opportunity [to sign more players], we can look. But honestly, I’m happy with the squad right now.
“The players are happy to come here now and they are going to use their quality for the team and the club.
“We want to fight for the fourth position in the Premier League and reach Europe next season. We have this ambition, and I think we can achieve it.
“I know the passion our supporters have for us. They are really excited [by the signings]; they want to have a club that is competitive in the Premier League. We can satisfy that desire this season; we will do our best for this.”
The signing of Rodriguez sees the Colombian again reunite with Ancelotti, who signed him at Real Madrid in 2014 and then on loan at Bayern Munich in 2017.
And the 29-year-old said he looks back on his time with the Italian fondly, and believes that, with Ancelotti’s trust and confidence, he can rediscover his best form and be successful at Everton:
“We [Ancelotti and Rodriguez] had a good year together. I have come here to this top club to achieve big things. I think this club means business.
“I always want to achieve more and more in my life, every day. I really want to do well in this league. I have a manager who knows me and I know him. All things are positive to work out well.
“Everton is a club that means business; there are some serious-minded people who want to achieve things and we want to win trophies. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s a long-term plan.”
Meanwhile, Ancelotti took this press conference as an opportunity to provide a squad update ahead of Sunday’s curtain-raiser at Tottenham.
André Gomes and Yerry Mina are both fit to play, despite reports that Gomes is dropped out of the Portugal squad early through injury, and after Mina had been ruled out of the end of last season and both pre-season matches against Blackpool and Preston.
But Mason Holgate, who was substituted off with injury in the 2-0 win over Preston and left Goodison Park on crutches, will not have recovered from a suspected toe problem in time to face Spurs.
Fabian Delph, meanwhile, will be checked tomorrow, added Ancelotti:
“Holgate is out, Mina I think is available, Gomes is available. They are going to check Delph tomorrow.
“I think the physical condition of the team is quite good; not at the top because pre-season was quite short.”