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What went wrong at Everton?

The blues from Merseyside have been struggling since the departure of David Moyes. Here's an overview of their struggling journey until now

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature 26 Feb 2018, 11:02 IST
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Everton v West Ham United - Premier League
Wayne Rooney in Everton colours

After David Moyes moved to Old Trafford, the charge of the Blues was given to Roberto Martinez. Martinez was offered the job after Wigan Athletic had miraculously won the FA cup, despite getting relegated from the Premier League and the Latics decided to cut ties with him.

The Spaniard had a decent run with Everton in the following three seasons - a blend of cheap buys and on-loan players along with the early departures of key-players like Marouane Fellaini and Shane Duffy. Martinez’s appointment as the Belgium international manager helped Ronald Koeman seize the reins of the Merseyside.

Koeman had a decent first transfer window spending €54 million and retrieving it all courtesy John Stones’ transfer to Manchester City in 2016. Everton finished 7th in the Premier League that season. They had also progressed to the UEFA Europa qualifying rounds after Liverpool finished fifth and Manchester United defeated Ajax in the Europa finals to qualify directly to the UEFA Champions League.

In August 2017, augmented by Farhad Moshiri’s investments, Koeman appeared to have been given a license to spend big.And spend big, he did. In unbeleivable fashion, the toffees plummeted.

By the end of the ninth game week, Everton were tottering in the relegation zone with only two wins to their name. The Dutchman who went on to state that the failure to sign Olivier Giroud in the summer was the reason that led to a woeful start of the season.

Koeman's only proficient move in the summer ended up being the unification of an aging Wayne Rooney with his boyhood club.

The PL trend of sacking managers, which did not stop even ISL club ATK sack the former Manchester United and Tottenham legend Teddy Sheringham, motivated the Everton bosses to sack Koeman in October after losing to Arsenal two-five in the 9th game week.

The Dutchman made some peculiar signings and decisions. Why was Henry Onyekuru sent on-loan to RSC Anderlecht just after acquiring the rights to his services? Henry had been phenomenal for the Belgian defending Champions before his injury in late-December.

Here are a few players who were at Everton formerly (and some recruited by Koeman) and a look at how they have fared through the season.

Jordan Pickford

The former Sunderland goalkeeper has conceded 58 goals in 35 matches across competitions. Isn’t €28.5 million questionable for somebody who conceded five lesser goals in 33 starts last season?

Granted, Pickford has saved Everton the blues in a few games this season but given the perspective that Pep Guardiola brought Ederson Moraes in the same price bracket, a lot of questions remain unanswered.

Michael Keane

Keane’s failure to perform is one amongst the major reasons why Pickford has suffered in front of the net. He was significantly better at Burnley last year, where last year he was shortlisted for the PFA Young player of the year award.

Nikola Vlasic

The young Croatian has made only 9 starts for Everton this season across competitions, scoring two goals and assisting once. His price tag isn’t questionable as he is very raw but less game time is simply hampering the youngster’s overall development.

Ramiro Funes Mori

When he arrived at the Goodison, he was hailed (and known) as a player who could possibly end Everton’s defence problems, only to become a squad player in the long run. Not once did he start a game for Everton this season after undergoing a second operation on his knee and his return date is still unknown.

Oumar Niasse

Upon his arrival at Everton, Niasse started only twice between February and August in 2016. Following that, the Senegalese failed to impress his new boss, Koeman and was not considered good enough even for the squad.

In January 2016, he went to Hull City on-loan where he failed to adequately prove himself. Until Koeman was sacked, Niasse started only three games and scored thrice in the PL. The 27- year old now has 710 minutes in thirteen matches post-Koeman scoring 4 goals and providing three assists.

The arrival of Theo Walcott does complicate his position but considering his form, he is one of the few players who Everton cannot afford to fade away.

Davy Klaassen

A hefty €27 million player. After an exceptional season at Ajax last year, he was expected to reinforce Everton’s PL top four dreams. Contrary to all that, he has played only 13 matches across all competitions and is still yet to trouble the score sheet.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

One of the pimary reasons for the head coach being sacked. Koeman paid a whopping €49.4 million for the Iceland international, and he would have been better off setting it on fire.

Signing three number 10s (Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Rooney) is never a good idea. Scoring six times in thirty appearances is no big achievement for Sigurdsson, especially considering how lethal he was at Swansea.

We know that Everton has never been a team with much spending prowess before Moshiri. To achieve inpossible dreams, they have broken their banks to the fullest of their capability. Koeman made some glaring mistakes and his understanding of strategies and tacticshave been downright perplexing at times.

The big question that arose in early-December last year was the nonchalant appointment of Sam Allardyce. "Big" Sam has done no good in England apart from avoiding Sunderland's relegation and winning the one-off match between England and Slovakia in the World Cup Qualifiers (where Adam Lallana scored the winner) in 2016. But somehow, it has worked out for Everton.

With Everton in the relegation zone, eliminated out of EFL Cup early in the season and knocked out of the Europa League following a one-two loss at home against Lyon three days prior to Koeman’s departure, Sam had very little options to let Everton fetch a silverware to end their long drought.

Only the FA cup remained, but he couldn't capitalize on his chances, losing to Liverpool in the 3rd round. Since his arrival, the Toffees have won five games and drawn four including ties against Liverpool FC and Chelsea in the Premier League jumping to 9th position in the table.

With Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman returning from injury and acquiring reinforcements in Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott, Sam is aiming to finish within the Top 7 in the table.

Everton can now look forward to qualifying for the UEFA Europa League 2018/19. Being set to move to Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium in future, they would wish for fresh fortunes as well.

We all know Sam Allardyce is not the permanent head coach. For a better 2018/19, Everton would do well to let go Morgan Schneiderlin whose form has ranged from bad to worse and isn't a fans favourite.

A few of Koeman's acquirements need time to settle in too. They have various options for the position of the head coach available for them including the greats- Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Louis Van Gaal, Luis Enrique (provided they are interested in the job) and if not, they can turn to a new generation of managers and hope to strike gold.

What's the worst that could happen?

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