Everton will hope to bounce back from a disappointing league campaign last term. Getty Images

Though the summer has represented a period of upheaval at Goodison Park, few supporters would deny a root and branch review was required after a campaign where Roberto Martinez failed to harness the undeniable talent available to him.

The Spaniard was sacked prior to the final game of the season, to be replaced by Ronald Koeman in a shrewd move from chairman Bill Kenwright and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

A far cry from the rubble of a squad Koeman inherited at Southampton, the Dutchman's work this summer has been low-key. Maarten Stekelenburg joins from Fulham despite having looked uncertain in the Premier League, but the most impressive addition comes in the form of Ashley Williams from Swansea City.

The Wales captain is a direct replacement for John Stones, who has joined Manchester City for a mind-boggling £47.5m. The personnel at the heart of Everton's back four hardly needed improvement but Williams will lend greater organisation to a back four badly in need of structure.

Naturally, rumours over Chelsea's £60m pursuit of Romelu Lukaku, according to The Evening Standard, has proven disruptive and when the Belgian will end the transfer window is uncertain.

Last season

  • Premier League: 11th
  • FA Cup: Semi-final
  • League Cup: Semi-final
  • Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku (25)
Ronald Koeman
Koeman will be expected to turnaround Everton's fortunes. Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manager – Ronald Koeman

The former European Cup winner as a player flourished after arriving at a Southampton squad which had been decimated, rebuilding a team which finished seventh and then a record-breaking sixth under his guidance. The 53-year-old could have waited for the hot seat at Arsenal to open up, but instead opted to further his career with Everton.

Drawing the best out of a squad which has yet to fulfill its potential is the kind of task which perfectly suits Koeman and he should bring steel to the club, while producing the best from the throng of talented players. Previous spells with Barcelona as a player should ensure Moshiri's money can attract the biggest names around Europe.

Key player – Ross Barkley

After Stones decided his future is better suited at the Etihad Stadium, Koeman is under pressure to ensure Barkley's regression can be curbed after a harrowing 2015-16 season. The 22-year-old suffered something of an identity crisis last term, leading to the ignominy of being a non-playing member of England's Euro 2016 squad.

With an imposing physique, pace in possession and a blistering shot; Barkley's attributes should make him the future of the England and Everton midfield for years to come, yet 24 months with Martinez has tempered those expectations. Koeman is under pressure to make Barkley the fulcrum of his midfield and instigate the re-birth of the Merseysider.

Michael Carrick tackles Ross Barkley
Barkley can becomes a key figure under the Koeman regime. Getty Images


The reputation of the current Everton squad goes before them and having failed under Martinez, Koeman is perceived to be the man to turn their fortunes around. An 11<sup>th place finish – despite the significant cup runs – was regarded as a dismal failure so a return to the top half and to the conversation over European qualification will be welcome. Though Moshiri is yet to significantly invest in the squad, his millions will ensure the Dutchman is under pressure like few Everton managers before him.

IBT prediction – 8<sup>th

Improvements from the underachievers of last season mean Everton's expected progression will be tempered. But it is inconceivable that the same volume of problems which marred last term with reoccur.