Everton F.C: The Identity Crisis

Robbie FabesCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2008

Just a few months after sniffing the Champion's League, Everton find themselves wondering if they can field a team to compete.

Let's not belittle the stalwart effort of Moyes' boys. Last year they battled hard for a coveted spot among the Premier League's top four. The Cinderella team saw Nigerian frontman Yakubu scoring nearly every match while American keeper Tim Howard kept things tidy at the back end with the help of rising English stars Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka.

There was talk of them breaking into the Big Four. There was talk of them winning the UEFA Cup.

Fast forward to this summer after a thrilling penalty kick encounter saw Italian club Fiorentina sound the alarm clock on the Toffee's European dreams and a late season collapse earned them a comfortable fifth place finish.

Where do they go from here?

Apparently not very far.

As of this writing, Everton remains the only Premier League team to not make a signing this summer. Those more apt at spouting transfer list rumors bandied about names as thrilling as Andrei Arshavin, Joaquin, and Lorik Cana. Its obvious Manager Moyes is keen on improving the club, but the ink has yet to dry on a deal.

Next year Everton looks to have another full schedule with the UEFA Cup, an FA Cup and their Premier League duties. This week they travel to the United States, managing to travel with only 15 players for their friendly against the Chicago Fire. That roster includes perennial satellite players Leighton Baines, James Vaughan, Dan Gosling, and Jack Rodwell.

Hardly a team worth UEFA Cup glory, let alone a spot in the Champions League.

The truth is a lot of questions surround the Everton club. While management questions whether or not a new stadium and a move out to Kirkby would benefit the club in the long run, they nearly forgot to re-sign David Moyes to a new contract.

His new five year deal, announced only recently, could have detracted a lot of potential players. Worries over the financial status of the club and its chairman's admission that he is looking to sell makes for an unstable workplace at Goodison-Everton-Kirkby-Somewhere near Liverpool.

Add to that rumors that Moyes is gunning hard for a top notch striker and Andy Johnson's constant link to lower level clubs Wigan, Sunderland, and Fullham, and it's plain to see that Everton is going through an identity crisis.

Are they a top four club? Can they succeed in Europe? Do they have the solidarity to land world class talent?

As of now, the answer on all accounts is a resounding no. Moyes may have the lads playing like champions, but the club itself is shuffling about like a second rate affair.

Looks like another season of staring across the city and coveting the play at Anfield.