Everton Season Preview: Europe or Blues for Everton this year?

Naismith & Moyes: Proof only Scot's can make other Scot's smile!

Everton

Last season: 7th

Premier League champions odds: 250-1

The sight of David Moyes unveiling a new signing during the summer was almost as unlikely as  the sight of an unhappy face among the Olympic crowd in the last two weeks. This summer, though, that has changed as the Scotsman pounced on financially stricken Glasgow Rangers for the second time in six months to secure the signing of striker Steven Naismith.

If Naismith proves to be as successful as his former Rangers team-mate Nikica Jelavic turned out to be since arriving at Goodison Park in January – scoring 11 goals in 13 starts – then the blue half of Merseyside could justifiably harbour European dreams. The forward line at Everton was just one area that needed to be bolstered with a little more experience and Naismith will do this having played 200 SPL games north of the boarder and he versatility will be an asset as he can also play as a midfielder.

Following the arrival of Naismith, Moyes moved quickly and secured one of his priority in the transfer market by signing Steven Pienaar just 18 months after the South African had left Merseyside for North London.

Moyes had made no mistery that Pienaar’s arrival on loan from Spurs in January had lifted the team, as they drove to a respectable seventh-place finish, matching their 2010-11 effort on 38 games.

Significantly Everton, who have also lost Tim Cahill to New York Red Bulls for £1m and waved goodbye to his £55,000 per-week wage, will start the season without Jack Rodwell  after the teenager completed a £15m move to Manchester City yesterday.

Whether on a long-term future this will be Everton’s loss and City’s gain only time will tell, but for a club whose hands have recently been tied financially, £15m for a teenager of undoubted potential but relatively fragile hamstrings represents an excellent bit of business, at least as far as short-terms ambitions are concerned.

With a week to go before Everton begin their season against Manchester United on Monday, doubts still surround the future of two key elements of Everton’s back four – Leighton Baines and John Heitinga.

Does Heitenga in new kit photo shoot means he is staying?

Baines is no stranger to speculation following back-to-back impressive displays for Everton that have attracted the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United most recently, but a deal that at one stage seemed imminent has failed to materialise as yet. Dutchman Heitinga – the club’s player of the season last year – has attracted attention from a host of European clubs which has dampened, but the clubs willingness to sell him will be a worry to many of the Toffees fans.

These in’s and out’s will have a baring on how this season plays out for Everton, but the real acid test will be getting the most out of personnel already there. Moyes has developed a knack of promoting youngsters through the ranks and he’ll need them to step up to the plate this season and should Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman continue their development and realise their potential on a regular basis, then Everton might soon have a host of Premier League clubs knocking on the door – could this be Barkley’s season to shine?

With Cahill gone in midfield, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar will have to supplement the youth and guarantee the dynamism and combative approach that made the Aussie of the greatest servant of the club in the Premier League era. They will also have to hope they have enough depth at the back come September 1st or promising youngsters Luke Garbutt and Shane Duffy’s progression to the first team may be accelerated.

Everton finished a Merseyside derby away from another FA Cup final last season and while the majority of fans recognise the Scot on his merits for working with a threadbare budget, many feel that his first trophy with the club is overdue and needed. They may have lost that battle, but they won the war by finishing above their red neighbours – a feat that will need to be achieved again this season before the question arises ‘has Moyes taken Everton as far as he can?’.

For this reason expect Moyes to look to add a couple of faces from now until the end of August and, provided that Everton’s reputation for being notorious slow starters proves unfounded, then it could be a reasonably successful season for the Toffees.

Predicted Finish: 7th

What do you think Everton’s chance are this season? What have you thought about the clubs Transfer dealings? We want your opinion, so let us know below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook for a daily dose of football goodness…the Rascal way!

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  1. will day says:

    how can we take this seriously when the journalist doesn’t even know that David Moyes took everton to the F. A Cup final in 2009 which they lost 2 goals to 1 against Chelsea. Lazy journalism try doing a bit of research.

    • Rascal says:

      Thanks for the feedback, his typo has been corrected and he has been sentenced to a beating by football from the 6 yard line.

      More importantly, how do you fancy your chances this season?

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