What a difference 12 months makes. Around a year ago, Everton fans were preparing for a summer of transfer activity after seeing their side finish seventh in the 2016/17 season, but few could have truly anticipated the seismic changes that were actually ahead.
While the departure of Romelu Lukaku for an eye-watering sum of money was no great surprise, the club’s decision to splash the cash on new talent was significant and – on paper – fairly exciting. In came the promising Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane, while heavy investment in Davy Klaasen and Gylfi Sigurdsson also signalled intent. And we haven’t even mentioned the homecoming of Wayne Rooney yet.
However, for all of that promise, the 2017/18 season sadly ended up being a disappointment. The side sacked Ronald Koeman in October after winning just two of their first nine league games and dropping into the relegation zone, while the club also exited the Europa League at the group stage. Former England manager Sam Allardyce was brought in to steady the ship and, while he managed to ultimately ensure the club finished in 8th, the general view was that his time on Merseyside was up.
A fresh start
So, after a fairly tumultuous few months, it is fair to say that many will be hoping that new manager Marco Silva can bring a little bit of stability back to the club. The former Hull and Watford boss has been brought into Goodison Park on a three-year contract and has already made a point of stating that he wants to create something that the Toffees fans will be “proud” of. This intent has played its part in Everton to finish in the Premier League top four.
But is Silva really the man to help Everton go to the next level? Of course, he first came to the attention of many English football fans when he was placed in charge of Hull City and while he was unable to keep the club in the Premier League, his tenure was still successful enough to attract interest from other sides. He moved to Watford, but his time at the club came to an end following a poor run and an apparent approach from another side – reportedly Everton – which the board claimed caused a “significant deterioration in both focus and results”.
Another fascinating summer
With all of this in mind, it would be an understatement to say that Silva’s relatively short time in English football has been eventful. However, there is perhaps also an argument that the jury is still out on whether he has what it takes to help Everton succeed.
He has certainly got a fairly sizable workload on his hands already, with his key priorities including the need for a decision on the future of Wayne Rooney and whether the former England captain will take up his opportunity to join the MLS side DC United.
All in all, it is sure to be another fascinating summer at Goodison Park and all eyes will be on whether Silva is the man to help them move on from a very difficult year.