Everton seem to be on the cusp of a new beginning. Backed by British-Iranian Farhad Moshiri, the Toffees have done away with their penny-pinching approach and are unafraid to spend some serious money, whether it be on a new player or a new stadium.

Renowned for conducting their transfer business rather late, Everton were incredibly proactive during the early part of the summer, making six first-team signings by mid-July and selling coveted striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United in a deal that could be worth £90m ($117.2m).

Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney and Cuco Martina have all joined Ronald Koeman's squad, with more set to follow.

The arrival of Rooney predictably garnered the most hype, but it also divided Evertonians. Some believe his best days are truly behind him and that he is nothing but a spent force, while others think a return to his boyhood club will rejuvenate his ailing career.

The jury is still out on the rest of the recruits. Early signs are encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether the likes of Klaassen et al can help Everton gatecrash the fabled 'top six' and deliver much-needed silverware to Goodison Park.

Last season

Premier League: 7th

FA Cup: Third round

League Cup: Third round

Manager - Ronald Koeman

Former Southampton boss Koeman did what was expected of him last season. The Dutchman mopped up the mess left by the negligent Roberto Martinez, made Goodison Park a fortress again and helped Everton reclaim their status as 'the best of the rest'.

Now, the pressure is on. The Dutchman has been heavily backed in the transfer market this summer and will continue to spend between now and the end of the window, and Moshiri will want to see some return on his investment.

While the top six may still be out of reach, Koeman will have to at least shorten the gap between Everton and the likes of Arsenal while also improving his side's performances in the cup competitions. Though after the woeful showings last season, that should not prove too difficult.

Key player - Wayne Rooney

Who else?

Sentiment and nostalgia was the order of the day when Rooney returned to Everton, but Toffees supporters will not turn a blind eye to his poor performances simply because he is one of them.

Koeman is not a man for sentiment either, and will not be afraid to have Rooney sitting on the substitutes' bench if he fails to re-adapt to life on Merseyside. The former Manchester United icon showed signs of life during Everton's Europa League qualifiers against Ruzomberok but will need to prove the naysayers wrong and show that he can bring something other than commercial value to the Toffees. If he manages to do that, Koeman's men could flourish.


Everton have not yet secured a place in the Europa League group stage, but are already being billed as one of the favourites for the competition. Koeman is gradually building a squad that should be able to challenge both domestically and overseas, so it is vital that the Barcelona legend secures his side's passage into the nitty-gritty of Europe's second-tier competition and ensures that they live up to their contenders tag.

In the Premier League, seventh heaven may have been seen as progress last term, but Moshiri may not accept another season in the same position. The Toffees briefly threatened to break into the top four last season, and the Goodison faithful will be looking to witness a sustained attempt to reach the Champions League this season, especially if they strengthen their attack.

Prediction - 7th

The signings of Pickford, Keane and Sandro will prove beneficial both in the short and long-term, but the Toffees do not seem to have improved enough to leapfrog the likes of Manchester United for a top-six spot.

That may change if they manage to work wonders in what's left of the transfer window, but the lack of Lukaku up front and pace throughout the side could inhibit the Toffees during the campaign.

Everton have their eyes on the group stage of the Europa League Getty Images