Last season had many ups and downs for Everton. A strong start, followed by a sharp drop off, a win at Anfield, but missing out on European football.
But it was in the summer when things got really chaotic. Manager Carlo Ancelotti returned to former club Real Madrid. His replacement? Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard will have a huge task getting the fans on his side.
Benitez has several strong central midfield options to choose from, which should give him something to build around.
Sitting deeper will likely be Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, who provide defensive cover for the backline while also contributing going forward.
In defence, they have Yerry Mina, Michael Keane, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey to choose from at centre-back, with Jordan Pickford in goal off the back of a very impressive Euro 2020.
Then there’s Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne, who are arguably one of the best full-back duos in the league.
Last season, Everton scored 47 goals. This was the fewest of anyone inside the top half. Given that Benitez was notoriously defensive during his time at Newcastle United, this figure could drop.
The Toffees’ top scorer was Dominic Calvert-Lewin with 16. After this were Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and James Rodriguez – all of whom could move on by the end of the transfer window. It could be a low-scoring season at Goodison Park.
Star man – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
As mentioned above, Calvert-Lewin was the main source of goals for the Merseyside club, netting over a third of their strikes.
This form earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020, although he got just 18 minutes on the pitch.
With the World Cup in just over a year, the Englishman will hope to impress to get more playing time. With several English strikers emerging, he will be under pressure to perform.
There have been three new arrivals at Everton, but none of them are particularly exciting.
Demarai Gray was bought from Bayer Leverkusen for an estimated £1.5 million, while Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic arrived on free transfers.
None of these players are likely to start. Moise Kean also returns after a loan stint at Paris Saint-Germain but could be sold.
Exiting the club are Bernard, Theo Walcott, Josh King, and Matthew Pennington, fetching around £1m combined.
Robin Olsen has returned to Roma following his loan spell, and Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic have been released.
However, there could be more deals to come. Richarlison reportedly wants to move on, while Lazio’s Joaquin Correa is believed to be a target.
Everton fans will be hoping to get back into Europe following four seasons out. Given Benitez’s general unpopularity at Goodison Park, it will almost be demanded of him to get the supporters on his side.
Unfortunately, a top-seven finish isn’t looking too promising. The lack of major upgrades, along with the threat of key players departing, makes the target of European football seem an unlikely one.
They probably won’t be in any real danger of relegation, but we don’t expect an exciting campaign from the Toffees.