Everton must hope they can keep one irreplaceable star this summer

As thoughts increasingly focus on the Blues upcoming summer transfer window, one player who is crucial to the club progressing is goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Everton FC v Brentford FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Brentford FC - Premier League / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

The Everton keeper who came to Goodison Park in summer 2017 has had another strong season and made a number of big and key saves as the Toffees avoided another last-gasp relegation battle.

He has been probalby the most important single player in the Blues team over the last three years, in fact undoubtedly the most important.

There are almost too many examples of Pickford's critical interventions which have kept Everton afloat, especially in the final few weeks of the last few campaigns.

Matches against Chelsea (where he made one of the saves of that or any season) and Manchester United at home two seasons ago and Leicester City away late last season, when he made a huge stop and then saved a penalty enabling the Toffees to take a precious point. There are many others.

Despite all this sustained excellence there are still critics of the former Sunderland star who has been England's number one since November 2017.

Pickford has had past problems, particularly earlier on in his career on Merseyside, when he seemed to get distracted by things going on off the pitch, especially when playing against Newcastle with whom he had obvious issues as a former Sunderland player.

Now that Everton have successfully secured Premier League status again with three games to go, attention is obviously turning to what will happen in the summer and how the Blues can make certain they don't go through this process ever again.

The summer will be a hugely important one once more, and the club are facing a very considerable set of problems quite apart from the need to strengthen a squad that is too small and obviously lacking in enough talent.

First of all the Toffees finances are still in a huge mess after years of heavy spending on players and managers who have come and gone.

There is still a real prospect of Everton being punished again for breaching the PSR guidelines as they were twice this season.

To avoid this happening may require the club to sell a number of their best playing assets and individuals such as Amadou Onana and Jarrad Branthwaite have already been touted as potentially leaving.

On top of that is the ongoing saga over the ownership of the Blues with 777 Partners still waiting for clearance from the authorities despite agreeing to buy out Farhad Moshiri in September.

So, the question is will Pickford too be a player who might well be leaving Goodison Park this summer?

We must all hope not, because I think the one player Everton couldn't replace where he to go is the goalkeeper. Even losing Branthwaite wouldn't be as irreplaceable to the team as Pickford in my view.

He certainly seems to be happy and content at the club and hasn't ever (as far as we know) sought a move away from Merseyside.

Pickford signed a new deal in February 2023 and so if another club came in for him the Blues could demand a very big fee before considering a sale.

However, where such a scenario to take place, who could replace him given that finding a top class goalkeeper - never mind such as experienced international - is extremely difficult.

Regardless of what happens with the England keeper, it is certainly going to be a challenging and eventful summer once again for the Toffees.