Everton cashing in on the Champions League?

How long is 12 years? 4383 days to be exact. In that time a lot can and has happened. Leicester City won the Premier League, Donald Trump turned a joke into a reality and Australia’s NBN is finally rolling out, even if it is already prehistoric compared to the rest of the world. Then there is Everton, who have failed to qualify for the Champions League in over a decade, last appearing in 2005.

That little conundrum could change this year.

Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane are just some of the names that will be donning the Everton blue in 2017-18. We could talk about what they are worth, or how they may slot into the Toffees’ team, but that would just be speculation and a conversation best left for those Evertonians in pubs when they welcome Stoke City to Goodison Park on August 13. What we will analyse, however,  is how they performed last season and put that up against similar players both within the Everton team and those setting English Premier League benchmarks.

Wayne Rooney / 31 / Forward
What do we need to say about Wayne Rooney? Well actually, he only scored five goals in 15 starts for Manchester United last season and created the same amount. He scored just eight in 2015-16, and 12 the year before that. In fact, we have to go back to 2013-14 to find the last time Rooney scored more than 15 goals in a single campaign. That year he recorded 17 goals in 27 games. If it was already sounding a little worrying, this will not put you at ease, because Romelu Lukaku scored 25 goals for Everton last year. It will be a tough at to follow at the least.

Despite that, the weight of pressure has been lifted with a return to where it all began, putting the odds in Rooney’s favour this year, and that can only bode well for Everton. In 2013-14, Rooney played alongside the talents of Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, height and trickery, if we were to give them physical values. It is worth making note of this. If you continue reading a better understanding will be made clear, but basically, Davy Klaassen is tall customer, and one that could wriggle his way past a couple spills in the aisles of the English game.

Davy Klaassen / 24 / Attacking midfielder
Speak of the devil! When you hear: attacking midfielder, what comes to mind? A player that acts as the connection between midfield and striker, or perhaps a support act for the forward. A few years ago that role had a very specific job, but these days the position covers just about all bases. Philippe Coutinho is a good example of the changing times. He was a hit when he arrived at Liverpool, but soon after, he was under pressure to score more goals despite providing them with a plethora. Klaassen will need to dip his toe in just about every pie, and given he scored 14 goals in 33 games, and created nine for Ajax last season he already has a reputation of a busy bee.

Speaking of busy, it is worth acknowledging that Everton are very much that style of team, and Ronald Koeman certainly gives that concept breathing time. However, one number that we think is worth highlight is 179. It is not Klaassen’s overall appearances, or how many goals he has scored in FIFA, instead, it is how far away the ground is from his nose. Yep, that is right, Klaassen is a towering attacker, which is a huge advantage in the physically demanding English Premier League. If Klaassen can recreate the presence that left with Romelu Lukaku and also Marouane Fellaini, Everton will once again be in a strong situation.

Michael Keane / 24 / Defender 

Since leaving Manchester United for Burnley in 2014, Keane has grown from an exciting prospect to a formidable fortress. What makes him special is his ability to tackle, oddly enough, the specific role of a defender. Last season, for instance, he held a tackle accuracy of 86 per cent which led to 11 wins from 18 appearances in the Premier League, and year after year those particular numbers have stuck together like a mattress and bed frame in a motel.

Along with the thoughts swirling around your head following that last line, Keane has also been hitting them out of the park, scoring twice last term and starting 35 games from the first blow of the whistle. The last young defender thrown into the deep-end was John Stones, and it’s rather interesting to see that Keane comes into Everton with stronger individual numbers than the Manchester City defender. Given he cost Ronald Koeman a yacht sized cheque, Keane will more than likely slot in next to the ageing Phil Jagielka or Ashley Williams – but which one makes way?

Those who remain
Jordan Pickford was the other huge name of the 10 players Everton have brought to Merseyside for the upcoming season. The Englishmen has potential to boot, and at the age of just 23 he has a foundation to do so with the Toffees. Who else? Sandro Ramirez a forward with height and Barcelona pedigree, Cuco Martina already with PL experience under his belt, Boris Mathis, Nathangelo Markelo, Josh Bowler.

Koeman has also stated that there is more on the way. Exciting times for any Evertonians.

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