Everton FC

Why are Everton spending big, and early, this summer?


Everton’s transfer business has taken the Premier League by storm this summer with Ronald Koeman splashing the cash faster than a Dutchman at a clog sale.

[ MORE: Everton sign Keane | Sandro ] 

Seriously though, what the Toffees have done thus far in the transfer window is incredibly impressive with owner Farhad Moshiri sticking to his promise of investing heavily in the playing squad as five new faces have arrived for a combined total of over $110 million, with Everton spending more money than any other PL club this summer.

But why are they in such a rush?

The main two reasons are the following: a) they have a Europa League qualifying campaign which begins in just over three weeks. b) to try and entice Romelu Lukaku to stay at Goodison Park.

Many have suggested the latter reason is a lost cause with Lukaku linked with a $127 million return to Chelsea, while Manchester United and others also remain interested. Yet what if Koeman has said to Lukaku, Everton’s leading goalscorer in each of the past four campaigns who scored 25 times in the PL last season, ‘if I get in more quality players around you, just give me one more year.’

Lukaku has a contract at Everton until July 2019 and although the Belgian striker has failed to commit to a new deal, this is not like an Alexis Sanchez situation where the Toffees have to cash in now or risk losing him for nothing next summer. They hold plenty of the power and the word out of Goodison is they don’t want to sell Lukaku right now.

Of course, Everton’s success is about more than one player and although Lukaku is the focal point of their attack they have now built a new core of the team since Koeman arrived last summer.

This is the potential starting lineup for the Toffees in the 2017-18 campaign as they aim to try and break into the top four.

—– Pickford —-

— Coleman — Williams — Keane — Baines —

— Davies — Schneiderlin — Gueye —

— Klaassen — Sandro

—– Lukaku —–

Of course, Coleman is out with a long-term injury so Mason Holgate will likely slot in at right back, but the rest of the team picks itself. With Jordan Pickford a huge upgrade on Maarten Steklenburg and Joel Robles in goal, Michael Keane a club-record buy to replace the ageing Phil Jagielka at center back, Davy Klaassen in for Ross Barkley in attacking midfield and Sandro Ramirez to support Lukaku in attack. Also, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman, stars of England’s U-20 World Cup success, will be pushing for a starting spot.

This is an extremely strong squad and more additions could arrive this summer for the Toffees with reports suggesting potential moves for Wayne Rooney and Olivier Giroud are not out of the question. How either player would get in this starting lineup, if Lukaku was to stay, is beyond me.

Everton have done the majority of their business early this summer with the Europa League qualifiers in mind, but also with a firm sense that Koeman can easily improve on their seventh-place finish in the PL last season with Director of Football Steve Walsh now in the job for a full year as he continues to make his stamp on the club after putting together a title-winning squad at Leicester City.

The Toffees faded badly in 2016-17 — picking up four points from their last five PL games — but with these additions they’ve already addressed their main needs and now balancing the dreaded Thursday-Sunday schedule remains the main obstacle for them to overcome if they qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Yes, they may have paid higher than expected for Pickford, Keane and Klaassen but that was a risk worth taking for getting players in early. Every other Premier League club and manager would love to have their squad almost settled like Koeman has by the time preseason arrives, but with certain players only allowed to leave once a replacement is found, the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are finding it tough to push moves through.

Everton aren’t just spending money for the sake of it. They’re addressing their needs diligently and are hoping that buying early will have the team settled by the time August 12 rolls around so they can take the next step in the 2017-18 PL campaign.

That’s the main reason Koeman has struck early, and often, in the transfer market. And the Toffees are now way ahead of their rivals as they aim to become a genuine top four contender.

Retailer removes T-shirt from sale over Hillsborough links

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LONDON (AP) A British retailer has withdrawn a T-shirt from sale in its stores and online following complaints that its design could be associated with the Hillsborough soccer disaster.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man City drawn in UCL quarterfinals ]

Topman had on sale a red shirt with a large “96” on the back and the phrase “what goes around comes around” underneath. The word “Karma” is written on one of the sleeves.

Ninety-six people were crushed to death in the Hillsborough stadium disaster, which happened in Sheffield in April 1989 at an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Topman said it “apologizes unreservedly for any offense caused by this T-shirt” and that the “garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.”

The retailer said the design was inspired by a Bob Marley track, with the number referring to the year of the re-release.

Cosmos, Miami FC petition USSF for 2018 U.S. Open Cup entry

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NASL’s decision to cancel the 2018 regular season has caused significant ramifications, with the latest forcing several clubs to be excluded from the U.S. Open Cup.

The New York Cosmos and Miami FC — both of whom participated in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup have not been named among the eligible teams for the 2018 edition following NASL’s cancellation of the league season.

Now, the two teams have petitioned to U.S. Soccer and its new president, Carlos Cordeiro, to rethink its decision and allow the clubs to play despite not belonging to a professional league.

Both clubs do boast reserve teams though — New York Cosmos B and Miami 2 — which is the lead argument from each organization as to why U.S. Soccer should grant the teams an exemption and a spot in the tournament.

Cosmos B and Miami FC 2 will both play in the NPSL once again in 2018, with both rosters largely comprised of senior team players.

As it stands, 94 teams have been placed in the 2018 Open Cup field, as announced by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

Both open letters from the respective clubs can be found below.

Brazil’s Luis could miss World Cup after leg fracture

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MADRID (AP) Brazilian left back Filipe Luis has a leg fracture that could stop him going to the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Arsenal draws CSKA Moscow in Europa quarters ]

Atletico Madrid said Friday that Luis sustained the injury to his left leg in the second half of the Spanish team’s 5-1 rout of Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League round-of-16 match on Thursday.

The club did not say how long Luis will be sidelined. Similar injuries have required at least six weeks of recovery time and longer if surgery is required.

The 32-year-old Luis was called up by Brazil coach Tite for friendlies against Russia in Moscow on March 23 and against Germany in Berlin on March 27. Brazil’s first game at the World Cup is against Switzerland on June 17.

Luis was injured while trying to prevent Lokomotiv forward Eder taking a shot from inside the area in the 60th minute. He successfully cleared the ball but his leg was hit from behind.

Luis left the field on a stretcher and tests Friday in Madrid confirmed the fracture in his lower leg.

Atletico advanced 8-1 on aggregate after the victory in Russia.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Casemiro: Neymar “would get along very well with Cristiano” at Real

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The speculation (transfer) train keeps chugging along as domestic seasons near their conclusion, and one rumor continues to be fueled linking one of the world’s top players to Real Madrid.

[ MORE: FA Cup preview ]

Neymar’s time at Paris Saint-Germain has been short, less than a season to be precise, but the Brazil international could be moving on from the Parc des Princes sooner rather than later after his side crashed out of the UEFA Champions League recently against Real.

Nothing concrete has been determined about Neymar’s future, but Real Madrid continues to be linked with the South American star, and one current Real player feels Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo would get along “very well.”

“[Neymar] has always been spectacular, since he was 11 years old. He does crazy things,” Real midfielder Casemiro told¬†El Partidazo¬†.l”I don’t think there is any chance that he will come to Real, but you have to ask [Madrid president] Florentino Perez.

“He knows that the door is always open for him in Madrid, but he is happy in Paris. He always says that he is happy there, that he is comfortable in Paris.¬†There are many Brazilians there too, it is very quiet there, but whether it’s possible¬†you have to ask Florentino.

“With the quality that he has, I would sign him for sure. I hope he comes this season.

“He is a great player, one of the top three in the world. He can do whatever he wants off the pitch if he continues to do what he does on it.

“He would get along very well with Cristiano, very well.”

Real is currently in the midst of a historic run in the Champions League, having won the competition three times in the last four seasons.

Casemiro isn’t the only Real player eager to bring in a talent such as Neymar though.

Defender Dani Carvajal also recently told the media that he would be ecstatic to have a teammate like the Brazilian come into the fold at the Santiago Bernabeu.