Predicted finish: 14th
The 2021/22 season was a drastic shift from the Toffees usual top six challenge, as the blue half of Merseyside were instead battling to avoid relegation until the closing stages of an intense Premier League campaign.
In what has been an error-strewn reign for owner Farhad Moshiri, Everton nearly paid the ultimate price until eventually securing their safety at home to Crystal Palace, coming back from two goals down to win 3-2 and spark a mass pitch invasion as Frank Lampard was heralded as the Toffees’ saviour.
Appointing a former Liverpool manager was always going to be a gamble, but appointing Rafa Benitez, a man who famously branded the Toffees as a “small club”, was a decision which instantly divided a fanbase.
After a dismal run of results, the Spaniard was sacked following a 2-1 defeat against relegation fodder Norwich. Moshiri’s gamble had spectacularly failed, as he was forced to fire the man he had hired after just six-and-a-half months in charge. Benitez’s reaction to the sacking? He did not realise “the magnitude of the task” at Everton. Frank Lampard, hampered by FFP restrictions, is now all too familiar with the scale of the challenge at hand.
Significant outlays on the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Morgan Schneiderlin, Yannick Bolasie and Jean Philippe Gbamin with no real return on their investment (both on, and off the pitch) have come back to bite the Toffees. The club were forced to sell fans’ favourite Richarlison, who played a vital role in maintaining Everton’s Premier League status, due to losing over £370 million over the last three years.
While Evertonians will secretly be hoping Richarlison follows an identical trajectory to former South African star Steven Pienaar, the vast majority of the fanbase have genuinely wished ‘Pombo’ the best for the future.
Everton are reportedly close to announcing the re-signing of Idrissa Gueye from PSG, a move welcomed by supporters who are well aware of the Africa Cup of Nations champion's qualities. If they can complete the move, his arrival alongside new signing James Tarkowski should strengthen the Toffees' defensive capabilities.
While it was a season to forget on the pitch, Everton, known as the “People’s Club” have once again shone off it. Paul Stratton, a lifelong supporter of the club, was honoured for his tireless work helping Ukrainian refugees and brought onto the pitch in the Goodison Park friendly dubbed as the ‘Match for Peace’.
It is now 27 years since Everton last lifted silverware, beating Manchester United in the FA Cup courtesy of Paul Rideout’s first-half goal. The Toffees are fourth in all-time league titles behind Man United, neighbours Liverpool and Arsenal but are a long, long way away from competing at the summit of the Premier League table.
Even the most optimistic Evertonians will not be expecting a dramatic improvement on last season’s flirt with relegation, however, the passionate fanbase will be hoping to at least push towards a top half finish and avoid the stresses of the previous campaign.
One to watch: Dwight McNeil
Again, in typical Everton fashion, the signing of Dwight McNeil sparked mass debate on social media with fans debating whether the player is up to the Toffees’ desired standards.
The best way to silence the critics after a big money move? Score two goals on your first outing for the club. While this may have been a pre-season friendly against a weakened Dynamo Kyiv side, the Rochdale-born winger will take confidence after a frustrating, goalless season at the Clarets.
The Englishman has spent the entirety of his professional career at Burnley, making the move to the Lancashire club following his release from Manchester United’s academy. Frank Lampard will likely deploy his new No. 7 in a more adventurous role than his previous manager Sean Dyche, and it will be interesting to see how the 22-year-old adapts.
The Toffees have clearly acquired a player with brilliant technical ability, and the club’s hierarchy will be hoping he can fulfill his potential at Goodison Park, and eventually, the Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium, scheduled to open at the start of the 2024/25 season.
First five fixtures: Chelsea, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Leeds
James Tarkowski (free, Burnley)
Ruben Vinagre (loan, Sporting Lisbon)
Dwight McNeil (£20m, Burnley)
Jonjoe Kenny (free, Hertha Berlin)
Fabian Delph (released)
Lewis Gibson (released)
Andy Lonergan (released)
Cenk Tosun (released)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (released)
Richarlison (£60m, Tottenham Hotspur)
Joao Virginia (loan, Cambuur)
Ryan Astley (loan, Accrington Stanley)
Jarrad Branthwaite (loan, PSV Eindhoven)
Tyler Onyango (loan, Burton Albion)
Ellis Simms (loan, Sunderland)
Everton total spent to date: £20m
Everton total received to date: £60m
Everton net transfer balance: £40m
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