Everton FC: Why FPL Managers need to be Cautious, Who to Sign and Who to Avoid
Written by Daniel Korolev (@Velorok97)
Everton are an interesting club for the FPL game this season, and promise to be headache-inducing throughout, with managers having to decide who to buy, who to avoid and who offers the best value.
The nightmare start to the season, which sees The Toffees face four of the top six from last season in their first five games, has already been well-publicised, and it might be wise to steer clear of their players until the run ends. However, this article will not focus too much on that, but rather look at the challenges Everton’s FPL assets face through a more long-term lens, as well as suggesting some players to keep an eye on and those to avoid.
So, aside from the rough start, what negatives should FPL managers be mindful of when considering Everton?
Many New Players
On paper, Everton are a much better squad than they were last season. While Koeman’s transfer business is not finished yet, the spine of the team has been reinforced, with the likes of Pickford, Keane, Klaassen and Rooney brought in, among others. While this has excited many Everton fans, myself included, there is of course always a fear that it could go wrong. Players do not always settle instantly, particularly those new to the Premier League, the likes of Klaassen and Sandro.
To add to this, the fact that Koeman’s transfer business is not over suggests that players are not assured a starting spot as of yet. If Gylfi Sigurdsson joins, as it seems he will, will he or Klaassen start? Koeman has made it clear that he wants a target man, will this be at the sacrifice of Rooney, Sandro, or will they all play?
The tough start to the season offers FPL managers time to assess the team without committing to players, but do not be surprised if Koeman still hasn’t settled on a guaranteed starting eleven even after that. Managers must be patient with this Everton squad, and smart with their signings, especially in the forward areas.
This point becomes moot if Everton lose to Hajduk Split in the play-off round of the EuropaLeague, but this is not likely. If they make it to the group stages, this brings another issue; rotation.
Make no mistake, Everton will take the Europa League very seriously. There is a strong argument that it is easier to win the competition than it is to break into the top four. If Everton find themselves in that seventh spot, cut off from the rest of the league, but are still active in Europe, they could go for broke and throw all their weight behind the Europa League. One only has to look back at Manchester United last season, who did just that, to see the impact it had on their FPL assets.
With the negatives out of the way, let’s look at the players worth at least keeping an eye on, if not bringing in, as well as those better avoided.
Ones to Watch
Jordan Pickford: Pickford could be one of the best keepers in the FPL this season. He will be a guaranteed starter, Everton spent £30 million on him and they will make sure they get every penny’s worth. He seems to have already settled well and has looked good in his pre-season outings, showing plenty of confidence and composure.
Everton’s defence has already improved under Koeman, with the no-nonsense manager instilling some much-needed stability at the back that was all but eradicated during Martinez’s reign. Expect clean sheets this season, and who knows, maybe a bonus point or two from the keeper.
The best part about Pickford? His price. 5.0m is a bargain for a keeper guaranteed to start for a club of Everton’s quality, especially when compared to the other options at that price. Frasier Forster is an alternative, but with the managerial instability and the likely departure of Van Dijk, that is a risky option.
Schmeichel is another option for the same price, but plays for a team not particularly focused on the defence, and the partnership of Huth and Morgan is not getting any younger.
Tom Heaton, perhaps? He very well may get a lot more save points, but clean sheets will be harder for Burnley. Their best centre-back, Keane (more on him later) has been sold and the Clarets have failed to replace him. Heaton represents much more of a risk. Pickford is definitely one of the most appealing FPL players on the Everton team.
Michael Keane: Keane represents another great avenue into the Everton defensive line. While Jagielka and Williams can often be rotated, Keane is set to be a mainstay at centre-back, being the youngest and fittest of the lot.
5.5m represents a rather good price, considering Williams costs the same, and with so many set-piece specialists at Everton, he could chip in with a few headed goals this season. Once the rough start to the season ends, expect Everton to pick up quite a few clean sheets, and Keane is sure to be an important part of that.
Tom Davies: Davies represents a great back-up midfield option, at 5.5m. He broke into the first-team squad halfway through last season, and impressed with his high-energy style and attacking prowess. He even managed three goals and two assists last season.
When Everton require less of a defensive set-up, expect Davies to start, as he offers more going forward than Schneiderlin or Gana Gueye. As a box-to-box midfielder, he could very well be a major threat in the final third, and could pick up many valuable points for those FPL managers willing to take a risk on him.
Ones to Avoid
Seamus Coleman/ Yannick Bolasie: These two are relatively obvious but still worth mentioning. Both are out with long term injuries, with neither expected to play until 2018.
Seamus Coleman is one of the best full-backs in the league, and has provided goals and assists to FPL managers for multiple seasons now. Bolasie impressed at Crystal Palace, and the start to his career at Everton was promising, racking up a few goals and assists.
However, even when the two return, managers must be careful not to sign them straight away. With such serious injuries, it is unknown how well they will recover. The main strength of both players is their pace and dynamism, and with Coleman’s broken leg and Bolasie’s injured knee we could, unfortunately, see a long-term impact on the way they play. A real shame for two of Everton’s best FPL players.
Wayne Rooney: Rooney is a tempting player, if not for the fairy-tale idea that playing in Goodison Park will see him return to his best. His first couple of matches in pre-season were promising, which included a forty-yard goal in his first outing against Gor Mahia. However, as pre-season has rolled on he has at times displayed the same issues that saw him fall out of favour at Manchester United, dropping too far deep and not spearheading the Everton attack.
With Koeman’s desire to sign a target man, another worry is that Rooney may not be a guaranteed starter. For the same price or less you can find many other players whose place in their respective clubs are unquestioned, such as Josh King or Javier Hernandez. Maybe he will be a success at Everton, but hold off for a while on the hope of a revitalised Rooney.
Kevin Mirallas: Mirallas is a player that, on paper, looks tempting. A very attacking minded winger who is also comfortable playing up front, at 6.5m he will turn a few heads. Be warned, purchasing Mirallas gives you a very unreliable player that may not even start this season.
Mirallas is a talented player, no doubt about it. However, he cannot keep any sort of consistency throughout a season. Many thought after Everton’s incredible 4-0 win against Manchester City in which Mirallas starred, he would kick on for the rest of the season. He failed to provide.
He often drifts out of games when played out wide, at times not getting near to the ball. When he starts, he is often one of the first to be substituted off, especially when the team are not playing well. Add the fact that Koeman is not done recruiting attacking players, and Mirallas seems a very risky and unwise option.
Make no mistake, Everton have some fantastic options that could light up the Premier League this season. There is a chance for the Toffees to have a hugely successful season. However, they still represent an FPL risk. Do not be rushed into anything, wait for the squad to settle before making any signings. The season is a long one.