After Everton survived the dreaded drop on the last day of the season, inevitably the rumour mill is kicking in again with new player links emerging.
It is going to be a very interesting transfer window this summer. Arguably, although we’ve been here before, this is the most important window in the club’s history.
If Everton don’t manage to bring in enough additional quality – in particular forwards who can create and score goals – then the club will almost certainly be back in the relegation dogfight next season. That simply cannot be allowed to happen.
Neither can the farcical situation that we saw in the last transfer window in January, when the Blues didn’t sign a single player, despite the desperate need for forward reinforcements.
That was even after a frantic and embarrasing deadline day pursuit of nearly every attacking player you could think of.
The latest stories include a revived rumour about a forward long on the club’s wanted list, Coventry City’s Viktor Gyokeres, and a young striker playing in the Spanish league for Almeria.
That forward, El Bilal Toure, is a 21-year-old Mali international (making him a team-mate of Abdoulaye Doucoure) with plenty of pace who has netted six times this season in La Liga.
That doesn’t sound very impressive at first until you remember he has been out injured recently and scored those six strikes in fourteen games with six appearances from the bench, a more impressive looking stat.
Toure is powerful, quick and strong in the air and seems a natural finisher, so on paper anyway he would seem to tick a lot of the boxes Everton need.
However, his injuries are a potential issue and the Toffees already have an incredibly fragile centre-forward in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, so signing another who might have similar problems wouldn’t seem very sensible to me!
I’m not saying he is as injury-prone, but after the endless saga of Calvert-Lewin’s fitness battles it is important to ensure whoever the Blues sign isn’t going to have similar issues.
Gyokeres is a proven goalscorer at Championship level and just missed out on promotion with the Sky Blues after that dramatic play-off final penalty shoot-out defeat to Luton.
The Swedish star managed an impressive twenty-one goals last season and he attracted interest in the last transfer window from other clubs, including Leeds United.
With their relegation it would appear the Lillywhites are out of the picture now.
It does seem likely Gyokeres will leave Coventry after their failure to secure a place in the top flight, and Goodison Park might be a plausable destinaton.
The Swede looks a decent prospect, although of course it is considerably harder scoring goals in the Premier League.
That brings me onto other attacking players who should perhaps be on Everton’s radar.
Both have just been relegated with their respective clubs, Leicester City and Leeds. The two are Harry Barnes and Jack Harrison.
They will be those who say that the Blues shouldn’t be picking up players who have gone down with their current teams, for obvious reasons.
I take that point. However, the truth is the Toffees are no longer shopping at the higher end of the transfer market (and actually haven’t been for a long time now) so they need to find quality young players at relatively bargain prices.
In addition, talented footballers have been relegated before and in Leicester’s case there are several who are definately Premier League quality.
Furthermore, while he had his ups and downs, James Tarkowski proved a solid enough addition for Everton last season and has been a good, generally reliable defender.
Both these other clubs are going to have to cut their cloth considerably now they have gone down and will be forced to listen to offers for their better players. So, that should mean a much reduced fee for a potential suitor.
Of the two English forwards, Barnes in particular seems a good bet. He’s twenty-five, a good age, and netted thirteen times last season, an impressive figure.
That is way more than any one Blues player managed last season. And goals are what this Everton side desperately need more of.
No doubt lots of other names will be added to the mix before the window officially opens. It is going to be a huge few months for the club, and they simply can’t afford to mess it up.