Connect in the back of the net

Ronald Koeman has done a super job in bringing Everton from finishing a disappointing 11th in the Premier League in 2016, to 7th at the end of this season-in his first year in charge.

Although 8 points behind Manchester United, they were 15 points ahead of 8th place Southampton. This suggests the three; nearly four tiers of competition that exists in England’s top division.

But if Everton hope to take that next step and challenge for a top 4 position next season, they need stability first. That will only happen if they keep their stars.

Let’s be honest- Everton, like Tottenham Hotspurs have been a selling a club to the big guns for decades. This trend has definitely lessened for the Londoners in recent years, now the same must happen for the Toffees.

They need to make a statement of stability.

Here are some key personnel that need to stay in order for Everton to maintain their progress.

 

Romelu Lukaku

Jose Mourinho is a firm admirer not to mention Jose’s former club Chelsea.

This is largely down to the fact that Lukaku has found his best form with Everton; finishing the season with 25 goals second only to Harry Kane. Such statistics stand out a mile for a team that only finished in 7th place.

The Belgian powerhouse could also command a much bigger salary if he went elsewhere. His agents phone is likely to be busy this summer.

The question is, does Lukaku believe in Everton’s future enough to stay?

 

Ross Barkley

Barkley burst onto the scene in the 2013, as a young powerful and dynamic midfielder in the mould of Paul Gascoigne. Then his career stalled due to the medial collateral ligament injury he sustained at the start of the 2013/2014 season.

Ross may not quite have reached his heights as yet, but he has shown some more promise and a sign of maturity in the past season. Still only 23, some of the clubs have all shown an interest in the young star.

Everton would demand a big fee for a talent with so much of his career ahead of him.

Barkley himself will eventually need to prove himself on a bigger stage, and even risk becoming a squad player at a larger club.

Is he willing to do that? Would Everton be willing to let him go?

 

Ronald Koeman

The recent appointment of Ernesto Valverde as head coach of Barcelona will be cause for many Evertonians to let out a huge sigh of relief.

Considering his decorated playing career with the Catalan giants, Koeman is considered a potential managerial candidate someday, a position no doubt the Dutchman secretly covets.

And Ronald has an impressive CV too. He has managed Ajax, Benfica, PSV and even been an assistant at the Camp Nou, not to mention the Dutch national team.

Koeman also has 8 managerial medals; which is 8 more than Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino . Everton will need to match Koeman’s accomplishments with some ambition in the transfer market.

 

Develop Goodison Park

Another factor, which is likely to become more of an issue in the next few years, is Goodison Park. It’s simply not modern enough or big enough anymore.

Chelsea has the same problem with Stamford Bridge, but they have Roman Abramovich’s riches to provide finances when it matters. Everton don’t have this luxury.

Their red Merseyside neighbours; Liverpool have upscaled Anfield, and Tottenham are moving to a brand new 60,000 capacity stadium next year. The Etihad stadium now boasts over 50,000 seats. West Ham take in nearly 60,000 fans a week now thanks to their move to London Stadium. Even newly promoted Newcastle United have a larger more modern home in St James’ Park.

Goodison, with its 40,000 capacity needs more.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright needs to show a vision of his club’s future similar to that of Daniel Levy at Spurs.

He must modernize the club in the future, but right now, to even maintain momentum in the present, those key three men must stay at the club.

 

Written by Nicholas Behan

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