An exodus at Goodison Park has begun. First was Tim Howard, the veteran American keeper, followed by Steven Pienaar – who were both told their contracts were not to be renewed this summer.
Tony Hibbert was next on the hit-list after a 16 year career on Merseyside, alongside fellow Everton veteran Leon Osman. Both are new free agents at the age of 35.
While the above may have had little impact (besides Howard) at Goodison over the past year, that is still a lot of experience leaving the club in one foul swoop, and that is experience that must be replaced by new Toffee’s boss Ronald Koeman.
Roberto Martinez began to build a strong Everton team around the young and exciting core of John Stones, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, however in truth – struggled for options besides the trio and often lacked the quality in depth, and the quality in experience, to support them.
While Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry were able to do so in part, it would be hard to argue that the English duo are likely to form part of a title challenging squad. So Koeman has a huge job ahead of him this summer: firstly hang on those at the core of his side; secondly bring in proven quality; and thirdly provide the necessary experienced figures to guide the squad forward.
That is no easy feat, but if the Toffee’s are to line up like this next season, our fans at the Transfer Tavern think they may just surprise a few people and even challenge for the title. Do you agree?