Everton FC: 6 Bold Predictions for Blues' Summer Transfer Activity
David Moyes' side will now almost certainly find the top four out of reach and even fifth place seems unattainable with just 12 points left to play for.
Therefore, the Toffees' sole remaining objective is to secure a top-six finish and remain ahead of neighbours Liverpool—although missing out on Europe will remain a disappointment regardless.
As the club's season peters out into insignificance, attention will turn towards transfer movement likely to follow over the summer months, with some major moves already forecast.
Here's an attempt to envisage some of those headline transactions in and out of the Toffees.
David Moyes Stays
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First off, before the transfer speculation can begin, it's important to know who will be steering the Toffees throughout the summer and into next season.
David Moyes is, of course, out of contract and many imagine him moving on from the club after 11 years in charge.
However, despite the Scot's rapidly expiring deal and the Toffees' failure to obtain a much-coveted European berth, there seems no obvious vacancy for Moyes to go off and fill.
While it's possible he could simply take a break from the game, that still seems slightly out of character.
Signing a new three-year deal would make sense for all parties, especially considering the more generous spending allowance likely to be afforded to him this coming summer.
Marouane Fellaini Goes
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The reason Moyes should be granted more freedom to spend is due to the fact it seems most likely Marouane Fellaini will depart the Toffees.
Having signed a new deal that various outlets are adamant includes a buyout clause, this may well be the transfer window he is finally lured away to a Champions League club.
Chelsea are the most common association in the press (via the Mirror) although a host of sides have been tenuously linked, and with Everton missing out on Europe completely, Fellaini seems destined to finally depart.
Of course, this would then give the Toffees a handy fee above the £20 million mark to splash around, which could be used to significantly replenish the playing staff.
Add in Fellaini's offloaded wages, along with captain Phil Neville's, and whoever is in charge of Everton will have some significant firepower—not to mention the bonus of the pending television package for all Premier League clubs.
Leighton Baines Stays
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Everton's other major name likely to be heavily courted this summer is Leighton Baines. However, there are many factors that make the England man's departure a less likely scenario than Fellaini's.
Baines is now 28. Any potential suitor would have to produce a weighty fee for a player whose value would dramatically diminish as he enters his 30s. If Fellaini were to leave, Everton could also increase their asking price with the club less desperate for funds.
That's not a transfer technique many Premier League clubs practice, and Baines has always been renowned for being a family man, uneasy with the prospect of straying too far from Liverpool.
Logistically that leaves only those clubs in the north west of England with a genuine chance of prying him away which, for now, seems unlikely.
A Big Signing Arrives in Midfield
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Everton have many holes to fill on their roster this summer. The club need a striker, another winger, and some youth added to their centre-back reserves.
However, with Fellaini's potential departure and Phil Neville also leaving, expect the Toffees to target midfield, using a considerable portion of their transfer budget.
Moyes' side have been crying out for some energy and physicality in their engine room for most of this season. While the likes of Darron Gibson and Leon Osman have had strong campaigns, Everton require some contrasting options to their respective passing styles, needing a player with similar attributes to Fellaini.
Gibson has a patchy injury record, and for all of Osman's guile and industry, he can be targeted by offensive midfielders. No player in the Premier League has been dribbled past as many times as Osman this season, who has now been beaten 55 times. Clearly alternatives would be beneficial.
If the Fer deal is not revisited, expect Etienne Capoue and Kevin Strootman to be two other names high on the Toffees' wishlist.
Scott Sinclair Comes in
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As far as other names are concerned, one move that makes considerable sense is for the Toffees to rescue Scott Sinclair from Manchester City's bench.
The winger had an exciting season last year with Swansea, before being acquired to essentially fill City's English quota from the fringes of the first team, and it seems likely he will want to move again.
Everton require more options on their flanks, and Goodison Park seems an ideal fit for the Great Britain Olympian.
Still just 24, Sinclair has plenty of time to replicate and build on from his form of just a year ago at Swansea.
Andreas Cornelius Arrives
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Finally, as far as a striker is concerned, Copenhagen's Andreas Cornelius may just be the name the Toffees bring in.
Moyes has generally liked his forwards to be physical specimens, capable of holding the ball up and bullying defenders.
Cornelius is all that and more. With 18 goals in 26 starts, the Danish international can score a variety of goals, is gifted in the air and not averse to taking on defenders in front of him.
The 20-year old has been linked with the club over this past weekend (via the Mirror) and while he may or may not be the man to eventually come in, expect a similar striker to be obtained, if not.
Everton do not have the financial luxury of spending on a finished product up front; attackers are the most expensive commodities in football, far outside the club's usually modest spending bracket.
Instead, the Toffees are more likely to target a player who has the potential to hit the big time, can be developed at the club and is likely to increase in value. Criteria that Cornelius certainly matches.