Everton legend Kevin Ratcliffe thinks his former side need to rid themselves of a whole host of players in the summer and has criticised the troubled Toffees for failing to find an adequate replacement for Gareth Barry, who joined West Bromwich Albion last summer.

Everton have spent over £200m in the last 12 months but find themselves in a worse position than the one they were in last season, when they qualified for the Europa League after finishing seventh.

The Toffees were hoping to kick on and close the gap between them and the fabled top six under Ronald Koeman, but a cack-handed summer recruitment overseen by the Dutchman and director of football Steve Walsh has seen them lose their 'best of the rest' moniker and become absorbed in a relegation battle that has seemingly enveloped over half of the Premier League.

Many baffling decisions were made during a flurry of transfer activity, but Ratcliffe, who skippered Everton during the most successful period of the club's history, thinks his former side were daft to let Barry join West Brom and still need to find a replacement for the Premier League's record appearance holder as well as new clubs for a number of high-earning duds - Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen have been heavily linked with January exits.

"Either way, it looks as though Everton need a big clear out and need to start again," Ratcliffe wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.

"For a start, the club have not replaced Gareth Barry. They spent £150m in the summer yet find themselves in a position where they need to replace a player who had been deemed surplus to requirements.

"Given how much Everton spent in the summer their performances this season have nowhere been good enough and the number of poor buys the club have made recently are out-weighing the good ones.

"I was also never comfortable with how we seemed the only club in for certain players yet we still paid big fees for them and some of the signings don't appear to have grasped what it means to play at this club and the expectations that go with it.

"The expectations are massive. I'm also left wondering if in the club's pursuit of trying to attract better players they have ran into a problem.

"Everton have smashed their wage structure in the past 18 months but when those players on the big weekly wages are not performing – or not even in the squad – and those on lesser contracts are playing well, it can create resentment within the squad."

It remains to be seen if Everton will replace Barry, who will return to Merseyside on Saturday (27 January) as West Brom travel to take on Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round, but Sam Allardyce's side are expected to spend heavily yet again as they look to get out of the unruly mess they put themselves in.

Gareth Barry and Morgan Schneiderlin
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