Tough start to the year, but the Toffees finished strong and were able to finish a respectable 7th in the Premier League with 54 points. Beating Chelsea on the final day was pretty nice as well, but it isn't like Chelsea had much to play for either.
Moyes has said that he is going to be committed to the Toffees, but I can only speculate when the greener grass of a bigger team will eventually lure him to leave Everton. I really think that time will be when SAF leaves Manchester United and Moyes will leave Everton at that point in time. That will not be happening this year so let's look forward to next season.
The key questions for Everton going forward:
1. Will they be able to keep Baines, Jagielka, Fellaini, and Rodwell?
2. Can they find a consistent scoring option from the Striker position?
3. Will Moyes leave this year if ownership is unable or unwilling to turn down the money for the aformentioned players?
4. Can we get off to a strong start and stay healthy?
I will attempt to answer some of these questions.
1. Unfortunately, unless they all turn down bigger offers elsewhere and honor their current contracts the answer appears to be "no". I am not sure Everton will be able to afford to keep such players who are in high demand by bigger clubs. Baines just signed a new contract, but the way he has played over the past two years bigger clubs will be calling and offering more than Everton can match. Jagielka is in the same boat as Baines and both of them may want to compete for hardware that they may not be able to compete for at Everton. I am not saying Everton can't compete, it is just hard when you are in the position (financially) that they are in. Rodwell is a player that is very intriguing to me. He is very young and when healthy, plays very well and I am sure at some point he will want to be a starter, but Fellaini is the player in front of him. Fellaini is the one that I would say Moyes would be more likely to part ways with. He cost Everton 15 million pounds and may be somewhat expendable. Rodwell is behind him and his offensive game seems to be better than Fellaini and is less prone to yellow cards. He [Fellaini] has sustained some pretty devastating injuries the past two seasons, but is young (23) and seemed to recover and play well after last seasons injury. Moyes may do well to part ways with Fellaini during the January (2012) window. That way Fellaini will have shown that he is still a very good player and is fully recovered from his injury. Then again, that puts Rodwell back on the bench and may create a problem there.
One thing that we cannot discount is that some of these players may have seen what happened with other players that left Everton for greener pastures. Players such as Pienaar and Lescott, who transferred due to wages and to play on the "big stage" and initially both struggled to to acclimate to their new clubs. Pienaar still seems to be looking to find his form with Tottenham.
My Predicition: Jagielka will eventually be sold to Liverpool and Fellaini will be sold at some point next year.
2. Everton needs to find a consistent scorer who is a striker that can stay in form and not often injured. Saha will have spurts in which he plays so well for a period of a few games, but in the end will sustain some 3 week or season ending injury during training. I like what Beckford brings to the table for the Toffees. He does well running off the ball and seems to find ways to get into space and to get open. He scored 10 goals this year in what I would call his adjust year to the Premier League from the Championship. Beckford does seem to get lazy at times and is not always willing to run as much as he should, but I figure that Moyes knows this and assumed there would be a period of adjustment to the Premier League. I look for Beckford to be in the Starting XI going forward. Saha is older and to often injured to be counted on consistently.
The bright side is that Yak (Yakubu) played very well on his loan in the Championship with Leicester by scoring 11 goals in 20 games. However, can Yakubu stay in shape and hungry to produce in the Premier League. I wonder if Moyes will flip Yakubu's success for some money to buy other players. Even after last years bad year had by Yakubu that was very strong interest in Yakubu by other teams. The only thing that stopped him from being moved was Moyes asking price after the year Yakubu had.
My prediction: Saha and Yakubu are sold for money and opportunities for Anichebe and Beckford.
My sleeper prediction: David Moyes grabs Micheal Owens as a reclamation project on the cheap.
3. Moyes seems keen to stay for the long haul, but the big opportunity is coming for him and the questions and whispers still continue. Despite how many times Moyes has said he is not leaving, it seems as if others see what Moyes refuses to or will not acknowledge publicly. He is a wanted man for a coach by teams with bigger wallets. Also, it has to be hard for Moyes to see all the unknown and young talent he has brought in on a thrifty nickel that Everton could not and may not be able afford to keep: Pienaar, Lescott, Rodwell, Jagielka, Fellaini, Baines, and most of all Wayne Rooney. At some point it has be frustrating knowing that in the end one ends up becoming a farm system for the bigger clubs. I would like to think that Moyes would like to win a Premier League title before it is all said and done. Initially, I thought that maybe, just maybe, if SAF were to retire after winning it all (again) this year that Moyes would be the ideal candidate.
My Prediction: Moyes stays this year.
My sleeper Prediction: Moyes bolts for Chelsea
4. Health is not something that can be predicted or forcasted. However, getting rid of players who are constantly injured may not be a bad idea either. Thanks for the good times Saha, but time for you to go.
My prediction: Everton starts strong and I hope for good health.
These are just my thoughts and hopefully other Everton fans will share their perspective as well.
Edited by allaboutthesox, 19 June 2011 - 10:23 AM.