Sam Allardyce has confirmed his intention to employ a sports psychologist at Everton, while reports suggest that the new Toffees manager is interested in a January deal for West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans.
Allardyce was finally appointed as Everton's long-term successor to Ronald Koeman last week on an 18-month deal after a protracted managerial search that saw the club to fail in their quest to convince Watford into parting company with first-choice target Marco Silva. Allardyce's right-hand man Sammy Lee also arrived as an assistant and former Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare was brought in to work alongside Duncan Ferguson as first-team coach.
Former Liverpool and Crystal Palace fitness guru Dr Ryland Morgans has also rejoined his former boss at Goodison Park. Martyn Margetson, meanwhile, is being coveted as a goalkeeping coach having worked with 'Big Sam' at West Ham United and Crystal Palace and in the latter's short-lived stint as England manager.
Former caretaker David Unsworth has returned to his position as coach of the Under-23s and director of coaching at the academy, while board member Alexander Ryazantsev's role behind the scenes is now expected to grow.
Despite barbs over his agricultural playing style, Allardyce has often been pegged as a forward-thinking manager knowledgeable in modern methods and it appears a psychologist is next on his list of hires as he seeks to transform the confidence of a team that had been in free fall despite a summer of heavy spending in the transfer market.
Former Oldham Athletic and Chesterfield midfielder Lee Richardson has worked closely with his teams in the past and could do so again.
"I haven't got the psychologist yet but I will be (getting one). I am doing it all myself at the minute," Allardyce, whose first match in charge on Merseyside ended with a 2-0 victory over weary travellers Huddersfield Town on Saturday (2 December), was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
"I think that will be very important. If the brain is clear and positive before the lads go out then they produce a positive performance. If the brain is clouded and doubtful you don't see the player produce the abilities he has got. That has obviously been seen on a couple of occasions here with the lack of confidence from the lack of results."
Jonny Evans interest
With a new manager in place at last and Everton having performed well below expectations so far in 2017-18, speculation has already begun to mount regarding another raft of high-profile January transfers.
Plenty of players have been linked including the likes of Steven N'Zonzi, Troy Deeney, Daniel Opare and Patrick van Aanholt, while it has also been claimed that Jermain Defoe, Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke are all under consideration as Allardyce prioritises the addition of a new central forward.
According to ESPN, mid-table Everton, eager to shore up a leaky defence that have conceded 28 top-flight goals already this term, are also preparing to rival Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester in the race for £30m-rated ($40.5m) centre-back Evans, whose current deal is due to expire in 18 months.
The Northern Ireland stalwart was subject to offers of around £25m in the summer and new West Brom chief Alan Pardew is eager to keep him at The Hawthorns for the long-term.
"I think the assurance I need is probably from Jonny more than anybody and I haven't met him yet," he said before the goalless draw with Palace. "I'm looking forward to seeing him. I think he's a fabulous player and very important for the club so I will have a good old discussion with him."