Everton should have made a move for Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud earlier in the summer transfer window and should not have allowed Romelu Lukaku leave for Manchester United until they had drafted in an adequate replacement, according to former Toffees defender Michael Ball.
Ronald Koeman's squad was strengthened heavily during the summer but the Merseysiders' transfer window ended in somewhat disappointing fashion as they failed to sign a powerful forward and a left-sided central defender, much to the frustration of the former Southampton boss.
Giroud was believed to be Koeman's top striking target, but the 30-year-old opted to stay and fight for his place at Arsenal despite being given the opportunity to leave by manager Arsene Wenger.
Ball, who spent five years at Goodison between 1996 and 2001, thinks Everton missed a trick by not submitting an offer for the £25m-rated France international while he was on holiday and in turn allowing him to settle back into life in north London, and is disappointed that the Toffees hierarchy allowed their pursuit to drag on, wasting valuable time that could have been used on other targets.
"With the transfer window now having slammed shut it was disappointing that we didn't get the striker that Ronald Koeman said we needed and if, as we've been told, Everton were in for Olivier Giroud then letting that drag out has probably cost us," Ball wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
"If Everton put a bid in while he's on the beach in his flip flops and Arsenal accept it, he'd feel that he wasn't wanted and would come to Goodison.
"When you're away on holiday you can forget what it's like to be at a club. As soon we got into pre-season then he'd be feeling at home again. Giroud got his opportunity and scored in the first game of the season against Leicester.
"After that Arsene Wenger told him he could stay if he wanted and he felt loved again and was ready to fight for his place. Allowing Giroud to get settled back in ensured Everton missed out but I feel we could have got him if we'd have acted quicker."
Everton were remarkably busy during the summer transfer window, signing 14 players including Under-23 recruits and shipping out 12 stars either permanently or on loan. Koeman was very much in the midst of squad upheaval during the summer months, but Ball does not think the club should have let Lukaku leave with no successor lined up for the Belgium international, who scored 87 goals during his four seasons on Merseyside.
"Obviously it was a busy time and they were getting the likes of Wayne Rooney in plus a lot of others but they knew there was going to be a big hole at centre-forward with Romelu Lukaku going and in hindsight we probably shouldn't have let Rom go until we'd brought a replacement in." Ball said.