The summer is always a good time to level set expectations among the Everton fanbase, as we look forward to another season. There has been some frantic activity in the transfer market in the recent weeks, with Allan already announced and Abdoulaye Doucoure and superstar James Rodriguez waiting in the wings.
We asked the crew here at Royal Blue Mersey some questions about what they are expecting this coming season, as well as what the expectation are of two key people in the Club - Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands.
What are your expectations of Everton in terms of a Premier League table finish, as well as performance in the Cups next season?
Trent: With a well organized midfield and adjusted backline we can be challenging for a European position. With consistent scoring and creativity, challenging for the League Cup and FA Cup as well.
Matthew: The bare minimum I expect, assuming we eventually sign some players, is a top 8 finish in the Premier League and a serious cup run. The EFL Cup should be among Everton’s top priorities this year. This trophy drought cannot afford to go on another season.
Pete: Same as the last 5 years really... break into the top 6/7, at least push for a Champions League spot and be competitive until the end of the season. Winning the FA Cup would be alright, too.
Zach: It’s really hard to say until the window shakes out a little more, but if James Rodriguez and at least one (preferably two) of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Rafinha show up I think Europe is the bare minimum. Carlo has, I believe, won four domestic cups in his career? So I would hope that with no European competition to worry about I would like to see a deep domestic cup run also.
Brian L: With the assumption that we don’t see a drastic change in quality of transfers my expectations are a high end of 7th with finishes more likely to come in the 9-11th range. Cups I can see maybe 2-3 wins a year before bowing out to bigger sides. There just isn’t enough quality in the squad right now for expectations to be much higher.
Tom: At the very least, they should be pushing for a top eight finish and set a platform for further improvement in the coming seasons. In terms of the cups, I want them to have a real good go at them, it’s been far too long without a trophy to cheer. I’d happily swap a mid-table finish if it meant we could end that long wait for silverware.
Pat: With Carlo’s first (somewhat) full pre-season in charge as well as a revamped midfield, I think we should have no problem finishing top-7. Cup-wise, I believe this is our best shot to win some silverware, given that some top clubs may be barred from competing due to Europa/Champions League fixtures.
Calvin: Top 7, and a trophy. Same as it has been for years now.
Who is one player you are hoping will make big strides in his development this coming season?
Trent: Alex Iwobi
Matthew: Mason Holgate. Really kicked on after breaking into the side in late October last season; long may that continue.
Pete: Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He made a big leap last year, but if he can also improve with the ball at his feet in front of goal, he could become a top class player. Seems to have a great attitude, so you never know.
Zach: Anthony Gordon. The kid looked really confident last year but we have of course seen these false dawns before (Tom Davies); would love to see him grow into a consistent and reliable wide player this season.
Brian L: Anthony Gordon. While wingers can be a bit “plug and play” on the pitch, a dominant winger, especially if only one fullback gets forward well, can really stress a defense. I’m also curious because we’ve heard so much about players like Gordon in the past, but few ever seem to make the jump to even where Gordon is.
Tom: Anthony Gordon. There’s several, but I’d love to see him establish himself in the first team. It’s always great to see a home-grown talent break through and his performances during the lockdown suggest he has a real chance of becoming a Premier League player.
Pat: Anthony Gordon. Due to Bernard’s inconsistency, I think Gordon can absolutely use this opportunity he’s been given to shine.
Calvin: Moise Kean. A lot of people have been talking about Gordon, but if Kean kicks on and contributes double-digit goals, that will be a goalscoring spark that we have been missing off the bench for years now.
Would you like to see Marcel Brands’ contract extended beyond this year or should we move on?
Trent: Depends on this transfer window, and his ability to work with Carlo
Matthew: Judge Brands in February, after this season’s two windows have passed, then ask me. As of right now, I’m leaning towards keeping faith with Brands; he’s had more hits than misses at a club that isn’t exactly renowned for being tranquil and functional.
Pete: Yeah. I don’t buy into this blame Brands idea. We need consistency and stability at our club. Aside from perhaps Iwobi, I don’t think he’s made any genuinely bad signings. Obviously a big summer ahead first though.
Zach: No, for the simple fact that I don’t think he was brought in to recruit the same kind of player that Carlo needs in his project and I don’t think anyone listens to Marcel anyway.
Brian L: The relationship between Brands and Ancelotti is going to define Everton for the next 5 plus years. I really don’t care if Brands stays or goes, as long as whatever decision is made maximizes the performance on the pitch. We just don’t know enough about the roles of both to definitively say if Brands should stay or not. Most of our guesses about what Brands is responsible for in the transfer window are just that, guesses.
Tom: Yes, he needs to stay 100%. I don’t think we can underestimate the mess the squad was in when Brands arrived after the chaotic Koeman/Walsh years, so he has been operating with one hand behind his back for most of that time. Not all of his signings have worked out, but he has a better hit rate than his predecessor plus, I feel he will only truly be able to operate freely in the market when a lot of the deadwood is cleared, which is likely to be next summer.
Pat: He started off being a godsend, but has been a bit quiet ever since, however, it’s tough to see how much work he’s really doing behind the scenes; if we can get some solid signings in, I say extend.
Calvin: As others have mentioned, hard to know what is really going on in the workings of the club and how much he impacts that. He’s doing a thankless task really clearing out the deadwood, then watching the Kia Joorabchian-Farhad Moshiri pivot making big splashes in the window - would love to be a fly in the wall on some of the Board conversations. Ultimately, I think he and Ancelotti can have some synergy and build a truly lasting legacy at the Blues.
When Carlo Ancelotti’s contract ends in 2025, what are you hoping he would have achieved at Everton in that timeframe?
Trent: Everton should be a consistent top six challenging club by the time Don Carlo’s contract ends; organizing and developing us must be considered his legacy, while some silverware would buy him further time to do so.
Matthew: Champions League qualification and at least one trophy. If you’re going to appoint big, forgive us fans for hoping/expecting big.
Pete: Assuming European dominance is off the cards... I’d hope he introduces a stronger mentality into the team, makes us a consistent top 6 side again (ideally with a Champions League qualification or two), have had some good European nights before we leave Goodison and an FA Cup.
Zach: Consistent European qualification and at least one trophy.
Brian L: I’d like to see Everton stabilizing around 7th or better, but more importantly I want to see the talent level at the club improve to the point where 7th is a baseline and we are really pushing for more. On the Cup front I’d love to win a trophy, but I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation right now.
Tom: It would be huge shame if we did not end up winning a trophy while under the stewardship of one of the most successful managers in modern football. But, at the very least, I hope the team is regularly competing for the top six and in Europe, with a much more settled and balanced squad, playing in their new ultra-modern stadium on the banks of the royal blue Mersey.
Pat: At minimum, a trophy. It’s been far too long and with the player quality and board backing we have, it’s a must at this point.
Calvin: A trophy to bring back to Goodison Park, no less - before we leave ‘The Grand Old Lady’ forever she deserves to see some silverware again like in her storied history. Some European nights before that departure would be most welcome too.