Last season’s FA Cup finalists Everton will be looking to build on a fifth place Premier League finish and continue their steady progress under David Moyes.
They finished just nine points below the top four last season, and without the emergence of Manchester City, who are now being widely tipped to break into the top four, one would surely chose Everton if any team were to break the mould.
Everton sharply rejected bids from Manchester City for defender Joleon Lescott. Lescott must be tempted by the prospect of a move to City, both by a wage increase, and the chance to join a side who arguably have more chance of finishing in the top four. And it is perhaps for this reason that the club have stood firm, not swayed by City’s interest.
Moyes has been allocated a reported £12 million to spend this summer, a small part of which will have been used to fund Manchester City striker Jô’s loan move to Goodison Park. Overall however, Everton have not strengthened their squad this summer. A quality central midfielder is what many Everton fans were hoping to see Moyes bring in.
It has been pointed out however, is that Moyes’ side benefit from a close-knit unit that can prove incredibly hard to break down. A ruptured achilles tendon ruled Yakubu out of Everton’s season in November last year, and his return to action scheduled for this month will provide a boost to the squad.
Moyes is however still without Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Victor Anichebe. Jagielka will not feature until October at the earliest as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
Goodison Park will ring in the new season with a testing visit from Arsenal next Saturday evening. And fairly tough away fixtures at Man City and Fulham dominate the opening weeks of the season.
Everton can certainly progress further under Moyes but with Manchester City doing everything in their power to break into the top four, it is difficult to see Moyes’ side bettering last season’s impressive finish.