6 Thoughts About Everton's Summer Break
It has been a dull summer for fans of Everton Football Club.
The Blues remain the only team in the Premier League yet to complete a permanent signing with young defender Erik Dier being Everton's only move in the loan market.
An impeccably strong end to the last campaign saw the club finish on the cusp of European qualification but many believe they will struggle to better this position due to the moves of the clubs around them.
Remember, Everton finished a highly respectable 7th last season and barring injury and a diabolical start could, perhaps, climb higher this season.
This piece is written in an ideal world, not an imaginary one so the first slide will not read "BUY MESSI."
There seems to have been a deathly silence around Goodison Park this summer.
While fans do not expect a daily dialogue with the club, improved communication could have been a simple solution to alleviate a summer of despondency.
I honestly can't remember the last time I saw someone from Everton management on television and while most of this blame probably lies with the networks, Everton could do more to communicate with fans.
Only one pre-season friendly at home combined with the unforeseen delay of the Blues' first game means many fans are yet to feel those wonderful start-of-the-season butterflies that make this time of year so special.
Nobody would want to damage a football club just for the sake of a more informed fan-base so transfer speculation or confirmation is not what is sought after.
The start of the season just feels a little bit 'off,' the optimism that surrounded last season has vanished and a new air of inevitability seems to have settled around Goodison Park.
With the new season tantalisingly close, this lack of communication is sure to evaporate. But this could be a lesson learned for summer breaks of the future.
2) Clarify the Ownership Situation
The picture paints a thousand words.
While neighbours Liverpool are lucky enough to have the most progressive owner in the Premier League in John W Henry, Everton fans have been left worrying about the state of their football club.
Selling a football club is no easy matter I'm sure and, depending on who you believe, Kenwright has either been trying to sell the club for the best part of five years or he is hopelessly clinging to power like a Middle Eastern despot.
Sporadic fan groups have started to form and they are starting to ask serious questions about the way the club is run and what the future holds.
With debt beginning to mount, the lack of transfer funds and the constant calls for stadium clarification, the ownership debate again comes down to communication problems.
The upper echelons of the club need to talk to fans, address the situation instead of shirking away from the responsibility that they have to be clear with their fanbase.
Of course, debt increase and a lack of activity are worrying to fans but the past must be remembered.
The 90's battles to stay in the Premier League are a distant memory.
Everton are now a club that expects European football, the first to break the monopoly of the Big Four with a rise in stature in the last five years has been meteoric.
There is no question though, Everton are a club at a cross-roads and the next year or so could decide the future of this footballing institution.
3) Deal with the Stadium Issue
Goodison Park may be the biggest stumbling block in the way of new ownership.
Fans and players love the ground but if Everton expect to be consistent European qualifiers, they cannot use a stadium that still has wooden seats.
No self-respecting, prospective owner would ever buy a football club, deal with the debt and then spend yet more on building a new stadium.
If an owner was so irresponsible with their money, could they be trusted to run a football club as a successful business?
Re-development seems out of the question due to the close proximity of the surrounding housing and whenever Everton have tried to move, something always blocks the way.
With King's Dock, a space now occupied by the Echo Arena on Liverpool's historic waterfront, it was a massive funding gap.
With Kirkby, it was a combination of disgruntled fans, poor planning and Government intervention that scuppered the move.
Some will blame Liverpool City Council for failing to provide Everton with a viable option for expansion whilst others will use the stadium issue as another attack on Kenwright et al at the top of the Everton tree.
Is a ground-share really an option?
It works for the teams in Milan, Rome and New York all of which could be considered equally fierce rivalries to that of Everton and Liverpool.
The problem would be that the share would not be mutually beneficial.
Everton would gain a new stadium whilst Liverpool would only gain the feeling of helping their rivals which perhaps is not an attractive proposition.
With no new owners in the offing, Everton remain a sell-to-buy football club.
Nigerian duo Joesph Yobo and Yakubu spent last season on loan at Fenerbache and Leicester City respectively but permanent moves have failed to materialise.
With news today that Leicester City have also had a bid rejected for another striker, Jermaine Beckford, fans will still be subjected to a transfer drought.
Even if these three moves were completed, they would be unlikely to bring in the big money needed to splash out on the great goalscorer that Everton so desperately need.
David Moyes is famed for his ability to find value in the transfer market, a skill forced upon him rather than naturally possessed, but very rarely do you find a 20 goal striker for less than £10 million, Chicharito excluded!
Names linked with a move that could generate transfer funds would be young midfielder Jack Rodwell or Dutch international John Heitinga.
With Manchester United reportedly interested in Rodwell to the tune of £20 million, do Everton accept the sale of another young star to build upon their current squad?
Heitinga appears to be out of Moyes' starting eleven and has made repeated suggestions that his future lies away from Everton, so why not cash in now?
It all depends how much money Moyes would receive to bolster the squad.
£20 million could see the striker and winger Everton fans desperately crave but if the money is not made available to Moyes, Everton will have lost more young talent for little gain.
5) Buy Somebody!
Finally, Everton fans would see the light at the end of the dismal and dark transfer tunnel.
With the cash generated by new owners (wishful thinking) or selling players (grim reality) David Moyes can be unleashed on the transfer market.
Many would look immediately to Joey Barton.
While his future at Newcastle United now looks secure, many fans wondered where the Everton offer was during his Twitter turmoil?
Barton had a great season last year and seems to be maturing off the field as well as on it (just don't ask Gervinho).
If Rodwell was the sacrificial lamb, Barton would step into the central midfield role with ease and if he was still available on a free transfer, all the better.
Now that Charles N'Zogbia, apparently Moyes' number one target this summer, is off the market where does the manager go next?
Fans would love to see the return of Landon Donovan after his last electrifying spell at Goodison Park went so well but LA Galaxy would demand an high price for their home-grown star.
One thing is for sure, Everton need a striker and if Moyes could get his hands on £20 million or more from a squad purge, he would surely find one.
At the moment however, Everton seem likely to stay dormant this transfer window unless loans can be negotiated.
6) Secure Long-Term Contracts
The big-haired Belgian Marouane Fellaini heads a list of current Everton players teetering on the brink of free-agency.
Fellaini may have had his injury problems during his time in a blue shirt but there is no doubt that he is an amazing talent that many would love to see at Everton for the foreseeable future.
The defensive-midfielder began his career at Goodison Park in less than impressive circumstances but those poor performances seem an age ago as he has matured into one of the best players at Everton.
While Fellaini's Father-cum-Agent has said Everton are a stepping stone for the Belgium international, interest in the player remains only rumour.
If Everton can sign him up for a contract extension now, it would avoid a repeat of the disastrous sale of Steven Pienaar last season.
Sylvain Distin and Louis Saha are also nearing the end of their current contracts along with a whole host of promising youngsters and Everton must act quickly to keep the core of their team or cash in now whilst value is still available.