Everton manager Ronald Koeman says the Toffees need to strengthen their squad during the summer months and is preparing to compete with the big clubs in Europe in order to capture the players he wants.

Koeman is set to guide Everton into the Europa League and is aware that he has to increase his playing staff if the Merseysiders are to mount a serious challenge on both domestic and European fronts.

The former Southampton manager has collated a list of targets along with the Blues hierarchy, and while they may have to go toe-to-toe with some of Europe's elite in order to bring in the players they desire, Koeman, who remain tight-lipped over Everton's interest in Burnley defender Michael Keane, thinks some may be swayed by the ''interesting project'' already under way at Goodison Park.

"We try to have a really strong squad for next season to play in Europe and the weekends," the Everton boss said in his press conference ahead of side's trip to West Ham United.

"We know now that at least we finish seventh and that normally means European qualification. But we know that we have to be prepared in the number of players to battle in all the competitions but that's really a challenge. I'm not afraid for that because that's what everybody really likes to have.

"It's a really interesting process for players, but we know we'll have competition to bigger clubs and that makes things difficult, but the direction Everton is going in makes it a really interesting project.

Ronald Koeman
Koeman is set to spend heavily this summer Reuters

"I know what we like to do but we will wait if it's possible, but of course we did a session this morning with 17 players, most teams have 24, 25, 26. I'm not that manager to have that number of players because it;s difficult to keep the spirit in all the players without any possibility to start.

"Jonjoe Kenny will be on the bench on Saturday and will play tomorrow for the Under-23s, if he plays the whole 90 minutes he will still be on the bench. Maybe it's a risk, but that's how i like to work."

Everton's squad is somewhat stretched at the moment due to the long-term injuries suffered by Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori and Yannick Bolasie, and Koeman is not sure if midfielder James McCarthy will feature again this season.

James McCarthy
McCarthy has only completed 90 minutes twice this season Reuters

The Irishman has suffered a number of muscle problems this season and Koeman is unsure if he will be able to reach an adequate physical level, though he is pleased with the progress Muhamed Besic, another long-term injury victim, is currently making.

"He is (James McCarthy) still working separately from the group," Koeman added. "We know that Enner Valencia is not available [due to the loan agreement with West Ham]. With four weeks to go, I don't think if he will be at a good physical level.

"We will wait, it's not the first time he's been out, we need to wait and see how he recovers. [Muhamed] Besic will play his second game tonight in the Under-23s. He's working hard, close to be back."