Everton supporters were left significantly underwhelmed by their side again at the weekend in the Toffees’ 1-1 draw at Brighton, a result which leaves the Merseyside club 16th in the Premier League and just two points clear of the bottom three.
Ronald Koeman’s men went into their clash at the AMEX Stadium having won just two of their opening seven league games, and looked on course for a fourth defeat of the campaign when Anthony Knoackaert gave Chris Hughton’s side the lead with just eight minutes of the match remaining. However, the Toffees did grab a point from the encounter when Wayne Rooney converted a spot-kick in the final minute, yet it has done little to inspire confidence among our resident Evertonians with regard to the capabilities of manager Koeman.
The Dutchman is under pressure after a poor start to the season, and they will go in search of their first Europa League group stage victory of the campaign when they entertain Lyon this evening, in a match which sees former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay return to the North West.
The 23-year-old made the move to Old Trafford back in 2015 but struggled during his 18-month stint at the club, appearing just 53 times for the Red Devils and helping himself to only seven goals.
And the Netherlands international ended his testing spell at United back in January of this year to link up with French side Lyon, yet it could have been different for Depay had Everton got a deal done instead.
Manager Koeman confirmed yesterday that they did express an interest in the forward but couldn’t reach an agreement with Jose Mourinho’s side, and it’s a failure which could come back to haunt them, both this evening at Goodison Park, and indeed in the long run.
And that’s because the £17.1 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) has the sort of pace and trickery which would have seriously benefited Everton at times this season, and his time at Lyon so far suggests that all he needed was a fresh start to get back to his previous best form.
The 23-year-old moved to the Ligue 1 outfit back in January and went on to score five goals and lay on eight assists in just 17 league games for the club, helping them to a fourth place finish in the French top tier and thus a spot in this season’s Europa League group stages.
And he hasn’t let up either with three goals and three assists in ten matches so far this term, including the crucial penalty in their 1-1 draw with Apollon Limassol on matchday one, and those figures mean that he has already surpassed his United goal tally in just ten months at Lyon.
Thus, it appears that a fresh start was indeed all that Depay needed to get back to the form that earned him a big money move to United back in 2015, and that’s a fresh start that could have taken place at Everton.
And when one looks at how blunt the Toffees have been going forward this season, Depay’s presence may well have had a massive impact.
The 23-year-old loves to get at and take defenders on with his immense pace and trickery, and possesses the sort of energy down the flanks that Everton just simply haven’t had this season, for one reason or another.
He’s probably not going to solve their goal-scoring woes, but what he would do is give them another dimension to their attacks, be it by getting the ball wide, taking defenders on, and either delivering a cross or cutting in and having a shot.
Eight goals and 11 assists is a very healthy return for someone bereft of confidence less than 12 months ago, and it’s a return that could have seriously benefited Everton had they got a deal done.
And it looks like, given their attacking woes this term, it’s a failure which could come back to haunt them, and indeed under-fire boss Koeman.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!