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Everton: Klaassen & Pickford will make little difference

Continuing on from last season’s 50m splurge on Yannick Bolasie and Morgan Schneiderlin, Everton have now spent another 54m on Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen.

These are decent signings. Pickford – though still relatively unproven – is certainly better than Robles or Stekelenburg. Klaassen is a young, creative attacking midfielder, who will be a lot more reliable than the spasmodic Ross Barkley, especially when it comes to decision-making. The prospect of the former Ajax captain forming a midfield triangle with Schneiderlin and Gueye is an appealing one.

But will these signings actually make any difference? Everton are in an awkward spot. Finishing 15 points above Southampton but eight below Manchester United, the Toffees are in a league of their own, and it’s one that is going to be incredibly difficult to get out of. Their league position and stature dictate the level of player they can plausibly hope to sign, and the level of player they can hope to sign rather dictates their league position.

This is true of all clubs to some extent, but it is easier for good coaching, good luck and a clever signing or two to help a team rise from 15th to 8th, or from 3rd to 1st. Climbing from 7th into the top four is a much more difficult proposition given the level of competition. Mauricio Pochettino has managed it with Spurs, but it’s fair to say that Koeman is not quite at the Argentine’s level.

This is why I suggest that as good as Pickford and Klaassen are, and while they both look necessary additions to the squad, I do not believe that they will help Everton do anything more than solidify their current role as the best team that isn’t really competing for a Champions League spot. Both will make the side a little more solid – Pickford with his shot-stopping and Klaassen with his ball retention as it compares to the likes of Barkley – but it is hard to see either moving the team to the next level.

Of course, there remains plenty of time left in the transfer window. Others will doubtless come in and it will be fascinating to see how the club replace Romelu Lukaku, but it feels as though Koeman may have to pull off some 90s-Wenger style transfer wizardry if Everton are going to come close to achieving their objective and truly challenging the ‘big six’.


What are your thoughts? Can Everton compete for a top four spot? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.


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25 replies »

  1. What a terrible article. How can a goalkeeper who is better than the current two that Everton have (your words) not improve the team?!? Klassen scores plenty of goals from the midfield, something Everton dearly missed last season.

    Stick to the ice hockey ey!

  2. Hi Jack – thanks for your comment. I’m afraid I hate ice hockey. I didn’t say they wouldn’t improve the team – in fact I said that they would. However I don’t think they will be enough to improve your league position. Agreed – Klaassen scores goals from midfield – however you’re also pretty much guaranteed to lose Lukaku’s goals and will find it hard to replace him with someone of similar quality. Have to consider the balance.

    • You know very little about the premier league dude.
      Why don’t you concentrate on MLS or something else closer to home.
      Your opinion sucks nads.
      Nads are English slang for testicle by the way.

  3. I agree with JAck O what crazy comments.

    How is Pochettino a better manager than Koeman when Koeman improved Southamptons league position following Pochettino there.

    The greatest goalie the top league has seen in the last 50 years says Pickford is worth 12 points a season and his word carries far more weight than the author of this article.

    Does the author forget a little team like Leicester who rose from relegation to win the tile the following season?

  4. Hi Jay – what Pochettino has done with Tottenham – turning them from a 5/6/7th placed team to a title-challenger in less than two years (Spurs challenged for the title in his second season there) is incredible, and objectively ranks above any of Koeman’s managerial accomplishments.

    I’m a huge fan of Neville Southall, but his statement that Pickford is worth 12 points a season isn’t actually based on anything. It is a cliche used all the time about good goalkeepers. John Terry said it about Petr Cech when he moved to Arsenal – turned out to be absolute nonsense.

    Leicester’s achievement was remarkable, and proves that nothing is impossible. It was however, a massive anomaly.

  5. Surely Everton’s chances will only truly be measurable when all the signings are made by Koeman AND the rival managers. Then it will be a test to see who can blend them into the best team over a whole season. Everton are an ambitious club that are looking to go places. COYB!

  6. Did Pochettino face player exodus and were the players who came in world renowned legends? And yet improved the points total and final position? Think not!!!! Just contextualizing for you…. And as per your own admission there’s a lot of time to go yet, reckon you jumped the gun to be the first to say “I told you so…”?

    And Tottenham: Title Challengers? based on one season? Sure…

    Cheers mate,

    • Hi Phoenix – Pochettino had to clear out the 14/15 Spurs squad. He had to make wholesale changes and has used youth to re-build. Over his time at Spurs he’s barely spent any money, net. He’s mostly improved the players that were already there, and relied on good coaching, man management and tactical nous to turn a mediocre side into a team that has finished top four and challenged for the title for two years in a row. The guy is an objectively incredible manager – there’s no shame in Koeman not being quite at his level.

      • The shame is not in Koeman being good or bad. The shame is in not giving credit where it’s due…
        Pochettino is definitely a good manager, but you don’t have to portray as him being better than someone else, is there? You want to eulogize Pochettino, go ahead and do that in a post dedicated to Spurs and Pochettino.

        If you are talking about improvement than I draw your attention to Everton 15-16 against Everton 16-17 as exhibit A…. You can see the difference in the way the team played in the two consecutive years.

        And Let’s have this discussion again, when the transfer window shuts. You jumped the gun, because you are basing your “judgement” on only two signings, you could have shown some patience, I think…

        Cheers mate,

  7. Less than 2 years? Pochettino has been manager of Spurs now for more than 3 years. When he took over from Tim Sherwood, Tottenham were already a team in the top 6. When Koeman arrived, Everton were 11th. Comparing a job done over 1 year by Koeman with a job done over 3 years by Pochettino is nonsense. Plus, you forget, Pochettino was sacked by Espanyol when they were LAST in La Liga.

    Also the article doesn’t acknowledge that neither Yannick Bolasie or Morgan Schneiderlin have played a half season for Everton yet. And never played in the same team yet. Yet you have a subtle dig that signinig them didn’t help much so neither will signinig these. Schneiderlin has made a huge difference to Everton

    There’s articles all over the place that assume the top 6 will be the same clubs next season. But it never is!

    • He’s been manager for 3. His team competed for the title in his second and third seasons. The Espanyol sacking is entirely irrelevant. If you go back through Koeman’s managerial history you will find some pretty poor performances.

      The point is that the job he has done in making Spurs a consistent top 4 team is an extremely difficult one. Koeman is a good manager but I don’t think he’s of the same level. If he can do the same I’d be very surprised, and incredibly impressed. I personally doubt it. I’d be happy to wrong.

      I didn’t have a dig at the Bolasie or Schneiderlin signings. Schneiderlin is an excellent player. Bolasie was overpriced, but so are most players at this point.

      • I see….the poor blots on a managers record is “entirely irrelevant” when judging how good a manager is…What?

        Is twice really a consistently top 4?

        Next season will be the first one where Koeman will have something resembling his own team! I look at the current Spurs squad and they have some fantastic players…but how many of them were actually Pochettino signings? Not Vertonghen, not Loris, not Kane, Not Rose. Not Dembélé. Dele Alli is the only one I can think of….and loads were chasing him, including Everton. The fact that he signed Sissoko, Janssen, N’Koudou and even wants to sign Barkley adds plenty of doubt to my mind also.

      • It’s irrelevant because it was long ago and he has very obviously improved massively since then. Managers have trajectories. I’m not judging Koeman on his poor time at Valencia – he’s obviously a better manager now than he was then.

        Yes, I’d suggest that twice in a row for a team that is massively financially out-gunned by those around them is consistent. Agreed – Pochettino’s transfer record isn’t brilliant, but his record of coaching and improving players is absolutely outstanding. Personally, I’d rather have a manager able to coach the best out of players than rely on spending money – which is often hit and miss (let’s not forget that Koeman thought he had signed Sissoko before the guy decided to switch to Spurs last minute).

        Ultimately the point is that it will be extremely difficult for Koeman to get you into the top 4 this season. I’d be happy to see him do it.

  8. Confused at the comments to be honest.

    Arsenal, Chelsea, United , City , Spurs, Liverpool … that’s top 6 … With the addition of Pickford and Klaassen, Everton still do not beat any of those teams to a top 6 spot. Now remove Lukaku and Everton are fighting for 7th with southampton/leicester and whatever pl team decides to have a breakout season.

    That’s just a predictive view of the table considering all top 6 teams plus Everton have no injury problems, and all top 6 teams plus Everton hit their average strides in form.

    Now, Everton can pull a leicester or a spurs and finish above their predicted target by having the perfect/fortunate season or by passing top6 teams that flop. But if they don’t get that lucky break, 7th is their best projection for next season, and Pickford + Klaassen will not take them past that projection.

    The window’s not over yet, the Everton 11 can be better than what we see at the moment. But until then, Pickford + Klaassen are not enough.

  9. Lots of variables here not considered. Chelsea and Liverpool and Everton will have European demands this time. Costa, Ibrahimovic, Sanchez and others will probably be gone. Older players on all sides another year older. Chelsea with the weight of “Champions’. Pep, Mourinho, Koeman, Conte and even Klopp all with second season syndrome. Leicester could continue the form shown since Raneiri’s sacking. Nobody knows but I’m confident the top 7 clubs won’t be the same clubs again.

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