Everton head into Saturday's (13 August) 2016/17 opening Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur with doubts surrounding the availability of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker, who continues to be linked with a lucrative return to former club Chelsea, needed three stitches to a heel injury sustained during the second half of a 1-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Espanyol at Goodison Park last weekend.
New manager Ronald Koeman initially appeared to dismiss any notion that he could be in danger of missing the visit of Spurs, although that stance seems to have changed over the course of the last few days.
"Romelu Lukaku is doubtful for the weekend because of the cut he got against Espanyol," he was quoted as saying by the Toffees' official website at a pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon. "We also have [right-back] Seamus Coleman doubtful with an ankle injury."
Everton lost centre-back John Stones to Manchester City in a deal worth an initial £47.5m ($61.5m) earlier this week, but quickly offset that departure by securing the signing of Ashley Williams from Swansea City.
The Wales captain has begun training with his new teammates at Finch Farm, although he will not make his debut against Tottenham. Koeman, who would not be drawn on the respective pursuits of Sunderland's Lamine Kone and Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, also revealed that young defender Matthew Pennington is set for an extended lay-off after surgery.
"Matthew has an injury from the last few weeks," he added. "It is his hamstring. He will be out for several months. It happened when we were in Germany and the best way to make it better was by an operation."
Koeman admits he is hoping to add three or four more players before the transfer deadline to supplement the arrivals of Maarten Stekelenburg, Idrissa Gueye and Williams, with Leicester recruitment guru Steve Walsh now firmly in place as director of football. He further confirmed that Oumar Niasse, who only arrived from Lokomotiv Moscow last summer as Everton's third costliest signing of all time, essentially has no future at the club. Captain Phil Jagielka, though, will not be allowed to leave amid reported interest from former manager David Moyes at Sunderland.
"Phil Jagielka is the captain of the team. We don't have too many centre backs. We need four so there is no way he can leave the club."