Five potential transfer targets for Everton this summer
Despite missing out on the Champions League, Everton fans were hugely satisfied with the club’s 2013/14 campaign. The Toffees’ fifth place finish saw them accrue their highest ever Premier League points tally, secure Europa League football for the first time in four years and included memorable wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United (twice).
May 22nd, 2014
This was all achieved using Roberto Martinez’s footballing philosophy, a style of football not seen at Goodison since the mid-1980s, reviving the club’s much loved nick name ‘The School of Science’.
But how do you follow that?
With the added burden of European football as well as raised expectations, next season will be a huge challenge for Martinez’ men and new signings will be needed in certain areas.
The defence looks fairly well covered, with the emergence of John Stones offering competition to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin. The Toffees also have an array of attacking midfielders, including Kevin Mirallas, Aiden McGeady and Ross Barkley. Goalkeeper Tim Howard shows no signs of declining as a goalkeeper while Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are two of the finest full-backs in the division.
However, with Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku leaving after their loan spells ended, the side definitely needs strengthening up front and in defensive midfield.
At this time of the year it is easy to play fantasy football and pluck all manner of glamorous names out of the air. And while I still cling to the faint hope that a superstar signing is in the offing, the following list of transfer targets come with a heavy dose of realism.
These five faces, some very familiar, some not, could bolster the Goodison squad ahead of next campaign and – crucially – are all realistically within the club’s reach.
1) Wilfried Bony
With Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea after his season-long loan, Everton are on the lookout for a powerful striker to replace him. Bony looks a perfect fit on paper after bagging 25 goals in his debut season for Swansea City and possessing similar attributes to the departing Lukaku. The Swans may struggle to keep hold of the Ivory Coast international this summer but at a valuation of in excess of £18million and reported interest from Champions League sides, Martinez would have to be at his persuasive best to lure Bony to Merseyside.
2) Jack Rodwell
Rodwell has endured a miserable two years at the Etihad Stadium since swelling the Everton coffers with £12million back in 2012. The 23-year-old has continued to battle with hamstring injuries that dogged his career at Everton, and even when fit he struggled to break into City’s expensively assembled midfield. If (and it’s a big if) he can prove his fitness to the Everton medical team then a return to the club on a cut-price deal may suit all parties.
3) Gareth Barry
The Manchester City man proved to be an inspired loan signing and alongside James McCarthy formed the bedrock of Everton’s midfield last season, providing an almost impregnable screen in front of the back four. The former Aston Villa man is now out of contract and considering his options, with a move to the MLS mooted. If Everton can tie him down to at least a one-year deal his impact both on the field and on the younger players in the squad would be invaluable.
4) James Milner
Manchester City look set to offload a number of squad players this summer in order to raise transfer funds in the wake of their punishment for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. England man James Milner looks like one of those who may leave in search of regular first-team football. Hard-working, versatile and with an eye for a pass, Milner would suit the style of football Everton play. At £10million he may also be affordable, though the lack of Champions League football at Goodison next year may see him look elsewhere.
5) Lacina Traore
The 6ft 7in striker actually spent the second half of last season on loan at Goodison – though you wouldn’t know it. Traore joined from Monaco in January but had to wait until mid-February to make his debut, scoring within five minutes against Swansea in the FA Cup. However, he suffered a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury the following week and did not play until a cameo substitute appearance on the final day of the season. Martinez rates him highly though and the word is another loan deal could be in place should he prove his fitness over the summer.