Everton Transfer Rumours: 5 Realistic Targets for Toffees
Everton once again finished their campaign in strong fashion, placing seventh in the Premier League just outside the European spots.
Another season of achieving beyond their means also came with the added reward of finishing above local rivals, Liverpool.
However, the Toffees can still expect to be recruiting from a different pool of players to the Reds this summer, as their neighbours retain considerably greater spending power and greater global cache.
Manager David Moyes is well used to working under such conditions and will already have his eyes on several potential signings whose lack of star value is easily compensated by the value for money they will offer.
Here are five potential signings within Everton’s grasp who could arrive at Goodison Park this summer.
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The young Tottenham right-back finally got to cut his teeth in the Premier League with a season-long loan spell at Norwich City last term.
While the Canaries’ defensive record was not exactly stingy, the former Sheffield United full-back impressed during his time at Carrow Road as he contributed to manager Paul Lambert’s fearless attacking approach.
Tony Hibbert has been a stalwart for Everton—he is the holder of the club record for European appearances, for example—but he can be upgraded, especially given the quality of the rest of the regular back four (Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka).
With Naughton facing either another season on the Tottenham bench watching Kyle Walker play or another spell out on loan, a move to Goodison could be the right one for his career at this point.
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In saying that three-quarters of Everton’s back four are high-calibre players who would fit into most teams, there is an issue to be noted concerning the age of Sylvain Distin.
The French defender will turn 35 at the end of the year, and his costly error in the FA Cup semifinal against Liverpool sparked concerns that his time at the top is coming to a close.
Step forward Jonas Olsson, the West Bromwich Albion defender. The Swede has only one year left on his contract at The Hawthorns, where he has forged a strong reputation over the past four years.
At 29 years of age and with manager Roy Hodgson having just left the club, Olsson could be forgiven for thinking now is the time for him to look higher up the table.
Bringing in another left-footer to complement Phil Jagielka at the heart of the Everton defence would also greatly compensate for the eventual loss of Distin.
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There is hardly a more glaring current vacancy at Everton than that of creative midfielder.
Although Steven Pienaar’s return to the club is likely to be confirmed permanently this summer after Tottenham loaned him back to them for the second half of last season, they still need more craft and dynamism in midfield.
Loan signing Royston Drenthe has returned to parent club Real Madrid while James McFadden’s short-term deal has not been renewed. That is not to mention the loss last summer of Mikel Arteta to Arsenal or the goals of Tim Cahill almost completely drying up over the past 18 months or so.
Tottenham’s playmaker Kranjcar fits the bill perfectly. He is extremely versatile, able to play as a No. 10 or anywhere across the midfield, and Spurs are unlikely to charge the earth for a fringe player who cost them just £2.5 million three years ago.
The Croatian’s club career has stalled somewhat after he initially shone at Spurs, but if any manager can coax the best form out of a highly-talented player who is still only 27, it is David Moyes.
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The January signing of Nikica Jelavic by Everton is proof that it is possible for strikers who score for fun in the Scottish Premier League to succeed south of the border.
Like Jelavic at Rangers, Hooper has thrived in the SPL since arriving there in 2010 at Celtic. The former Scunthorpe striker has scored 44 goals in his two years in Glasgow and has won the Scottish Cup and the SPL title.
Now, having achieved those feats and with Rangers’ financial plight threatening to all but destroy any vestige of competition left in Scotland’s top division, the time could be right for Hooper to move back to his home country, especially if he has any sort of ambition to represent it at international level.
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One of the biggest success stories of the season from anywhere across Europe was Levante, the Spanish club more used to yo-yoing between the top two divisions rather than bothering the upper echelons of La Liga.
However, that is what happened last season. The Valencia-based club was top of the pile for a short time at the start of the season, thanks in part to a shock 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in which Kone scored the winner.
That strike was one of 15 the Ivorian scored in the league during his loan spell from Sevilla, and his goals helped the club to finish in sixth place, securing them a spot in the Europa League playoffs.
Kone has now joined Levante permanently. However, such is the club’s constantly precarious financial state that they will almost certainly sell the 28-year-old on immediately in order to turn a profit.