Everton completed a club-record deal to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City in an attempt to bridge the goal difference lost by Romelu Lukaku’s departure. The Belgian scored 25 goals for the Toffees last season, guiding Ronald Koeman’s men to a seventh-place finish, leaving the club in between the elite sides in the Premier League and the rest of the division.
Lukaku expressed his desire to leave Goodison Park and following a battle between Manchester United and Chelsea for his signature, the 24-year-old secured a £75m move to the Red Devils. Koeman began planning for his exit before the summer and made strides to strengthen the surrounding areas of his squad. The Dutchman secured deals to improve his side’s backline by signing Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane from Sunderland and Burnley respectively.
Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez completed moves to offer impetus in the final third, while the Toffees pulled off a coup by landing Wayne Rooney on a free transfer. The 31-year-old returned to his boyhood club after 13 seasons with Manchester United where he had achieved almost every honour in the game, although he still remains hungry for success on home soil.
Those transfers alone may have been good enough to consider Everton a threat for the top six or even the Champions League places. However, the move for Sigurdsson could push them into contention due to the Icelander’s quality, especially from dead-ball situations. Their performance against Manchester City highlighted their ability, earning a point on the road against Pep Guardiola’s men.
The outing should give betters confidence in backing Everton, although it’s imperative to maximise your potential earnings by examining the UK betting offers, with bet365 providing a £200 welcome bonus for new customers. Rooney’s early form should give supporters and punters hope that the Toffees are capable of pushing into elite company at the top of the table. His two goals in the opening two matches of the campaign show that he has not lost his predatory instincts.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin flashed his pace on the break to trouble City in his side’s draw at the Etihad Stadium. Should he, along with Rooney and Ramirez, push their goal contributions into the ten-goal mark each then they will more than cover the exit of Lukaku.
Sigurdsson could be the man to push Everton even further forward, providing the threat from midfield that Ross Barkley has failed to fulfil. The 27-year-old was involved in 23 goals last season for Swansea, proving to be the decisive difference between survival and relegation. His free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford under extreme pressure was a fine example of his character and talent. Although he failed to make the grade at Tottenham Hotspur, the atmosphere of the Toffees with their humble stadium and passionate fans could be the driving force to take his game to new heights.
Unlike at Swansea where he was the focal point of opposing teams, there is enough talent around him at Everton to draw attention away and allow him to capitalise. The record signing could be the man to lead Koeman’s men into the top six and beyond.
Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
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Europa League: Thurs 23 Nov (20:05); Atalanta at Goodison
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