Premier League preview 2018/19 - Everton: Richarlison and Sigurdsson to lead Silva's revolution
Richard Jolly is analysing all 20 teams competing in the Premier League and giving his verdict on how they will fare. Here he looks at if life on Merseyside can be less turbulent with a new manager at the helm
State of play: Few teams are as flattered by a league table as Everton were last season. Finishing eighth did not reflect a wretched campaign which ended in a second managerial sacking, Sam Allardyce departing to the delight of supporters.
Enter Marco Silva, charged with producing more attacking, more entertaining football. The task of trimming a bloated, badly-compiled squad has begun while Lucas Digne’s arrival is a stop towards rejuvenating a defence where Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and the declining Ashley Williams are all in their thirties.
But as Everton spent heavily on players like Cenk Tosun, Theo Walcott and Michael Keane last season, there is ample scope for improvement, especially in the away form.
Key player: Richarlison – A flagship signing and not just because, at £50 million (Dh238.8m), he is the costliest buy in Everton’s history. The Brazilian began brilliantly under Silva at Watford, but did not score a league goal after November or create one after December. But he has huge talent and should help add aesthetic appeal.
Manager: Marco Silva – Everton initially wanted the precocious Portuguese to replace Ronald Koeman. Now a manager who has only had a combined 42 Premier League games in charge of Hull City and Watford has to show loyalty, rather than the ambition to leave, and that the methods that have brought early results are sustainable.
Talking point: Can Gylfi Sigurdsson find his best form? For a £45m signing, Sigurdsson’s return of four goals and three assists was distinctly underwhelming.
Yet he was not helped by the farcical situation that summed up Everton’s confused thinking when they signed three No 10s in the same summer. Now Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen are gone, leaving only Sigurdsson.
It suggests Silva will build a team around the Icelander, rather than shunting him out to the left to accommodate Rooney. His last year at Swansea brought nine goals and 13 assists. Everton should look for something similar.
Updated: August 4, 2018 08:46 AM