In this summer's transfer window, Everton has combined two of soccer's great phenomenons — a second-tier club selling a world-class player they can't directly replace, and the presence of a new ambitious owner. Either of these things occurring in isolation would cause the Toffees to have the league's most dramatic summer. The two things coming together has led to them signing five high-profile players, and more are likely on the way.
Romelu Lukaku has departed for Manchester United, giving the Toffees an extra £75 million to spend on top of what their budget would have been. At the same time, chairman Farhad Moshiri is close to securing a deal for a shiny new stadium, so he knows he can invest big in the club now and get his money back later.
Here are the new Evertonians you can watch this season, plus a few more arrivals we're expecting before Aug. 31.
The prodigal son has returned home. Rooney grew up an Everton supporter and played his first two professional seasons for the club before making a move to Manchester United. But Rooney's production has declined sharply, so United was happy to let him go on a free transfer while picking up some of his wages just to get most of his massive contract off their books.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that Rooney is three seasons removed from anything resembling his top form. Rooney's won everything there is to win and Koeman wants that in his dressing room. Time will tell if his intangible contributions are worth his big wages — and of course, it's not impossible that Rooney has a couple of good seasons either.
There was a time when Tim Howard was among Everton's most popular players and goalkeeping was the least of the club's worries. But he faltered in his final season with the club, while the platoon of Maarten Stekelenburg and Joel Robles was even worse last season. Enter Pickford, the most expensive English goalkeeper ever.
The Toffees had to pay £30 million to secure Pickford's services from Sunderland, and absolutely no one is concerned about the fee. Even though the Black Cats got relegated last season, the prevailing opinion is that they would have been mathematically down by February if not for the sensational play of their goalkeeper.
At 6'1, Pickford is on the shorter side for a Premier League goalkeeper, but that's never been a problem thanks to his leaping ability and great hands. Everton believes they have their man between the sticks for the next decade, as well as the next England keeper.
While the two above players represent a bigger name and a bigger fee, Keane is the signing that best signals what Everton can become in the future. Unlike Rooney and Pickford, there was a market for Keane among the bigger clubs. Had he waited longer, he might have been able to land with a Champions League club that missed out on another target. Instead, he's the new star of the Everton defense.
Keane, like Pickford, is expected to become an England regular in the coming years. He came up through the Manchester United youth system and went on several loans, eventually landing with Burnley, who he played over 100 games for. But Burnley figured it was best to cash in on Keane rather than hope they could convince him to sign a long-term deal, and collected £25 million from Everton.
There's nothing you'd want a defender to have in his game that Keane is lacking. He's 6'3, a good header, good with the ball at his feet, and has solid agility and acceleration for his size. He could prove to be Everton's most important signing.
With the three big signings from inside the Premier League, Everton has a decent idea of what they'll be getting. Klaassen was much more of a high risk-high reward play.
At Ajax, Klaassen played as both a No. 10 and as an advanced player in a three-man center of midfield. He's not a bad passer, but no one would call him a playmaker — he's much more of a goal-scorer. Klaassen scored 55 goals in his 181 games for Ajax, including 15 two seasons ago and 20 last season. For that kind of consistent finishing, Everton had to pay £23.6 million.
But attacking players from the Eredivisie don't have the best track record in the Premier League. Klaassen is a smart and technically sound player, but he isn't particularly athletic or creative. Whether or not he'll fare well in the Premier League is anyone's guess.
Like Klaassen, Ramirez is a gamble, but he's a much lower risk one. The 22-year-old La Masia product was picked up for a cheap £5.3 million, thanks to a foreign clubs release clause in his contract with Malaga.
After spending a few years as a Barca B player and occasional first team Barcelona sub, Sandro moved to Malaga and was excellent in his only La Liga season, scoring 14 goals.
It's not clear if Sandro will play up top or on the wing for Everton. At 5'9 with a fairly skinny build, he might not be cut out to play up top in England. But he's such a low-cost risk that he's clearly a great pickup for Everton.
At publish time, Sigurdsson is still a Swansea player. But Koeman publicly stated that the two teams were "close" to a deal this week, and Sigurdsson is expected to join for a fee in the region of £50 million before the transfer window closes.
It is a seemingly outrageous fee to pay for a 27-year-old free kick specialist. But Koeman believes that Sigurdsson is his team's most important missing piece; the difference between seventh place and contending for a Champions League place. His conviction is so strong that Moshiri is backing him. That will warm the hearts of Evertonians and let them look past the finances.
Rooney hasn't been a true center forward for several years, while Sandro probably isn't being depended on to lead the line either. Koeman will want to have a bigger, true No. 9, at least as a different option. Everton has been linked to Olivier Giroud, and will probably sign someone like him before the window closes.
Everton has no up-and-coming left back behind 32-year-old Leighton Baines. They're also a bit thin in the center of the defense with Ramiro Funes Mori picking up a serious injury and Phil Jagielka failing to develop an anti-aging medication. Expect a defender to join the team before Sept. 1 as well.
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