Everton finished as high as they were ever going to this season. Realistically there are six teams who are better than them and they have no chance of catching any of them due to financial restrictions. They did however achieve what was asked of them in that they finished above every team worse than them. It will however feel somewhat frustrating for Toffees fans. They were out of both cups in the third round, after reaching the semis in both last year, a huge backwards step.
Lukaku was the sole focus of this team. The 24-year-old had his best season to date, scoring 26 in all competitions, 20 more than anyone else in blue. He also scored two goals at the Euros and six in World Cup qualifying during the season. Nothing similar can be said of teammate Ross Barkley who halved his goalscoring output.
Sheamus Coleman shone once again, playing a part in 10 clean sheets, despite missing quarter of the season with a broken leg. It speaks volumes that they only kept two more after his injury and a subsequent change to a back three.
Looking to the future Everton handed 2140 minutes of game time to teenagers this season (Davies, Holgate, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin), with the former racking up 1544 of those. The future is indeed bright.
Life will be tough without Lukaku and he needs to be replaced wisely, with Barkley likely to leave too. The aim should be to rebuild and finish in the top half while maintaining a strong challenge in the domestic cups and Europa League. Success in these would generate valuable income.
Promotion of youth will be particularly important with three of the aforementioned teenagers gaining valuable tournament experience with England this summer.
They play Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man United consecutively across August and September, so they must not be disheartened if they find themselves in the relegation zone around this time as they will pick up points quickly afterwards.
They’ve started early and already signed Klaassen and Pickford, two huge upgrades on Cleverly and Robles. They’re also in keeping with bringing the average age of the squad down. Michael Keane may well be added to this as a long term placement for Jagielka. They will however still need cover at full back, especially on the left, potentially both sides depending on the length of Coleman’s recovery.
The biggest area for them this season will be up front. Lukaku is leaving, no doubt about it. 20-year-old Nigerian Onyekuru will provide a completely different option, with a a low centre of gravity and scary pace. Sandro Ramirez looks likely to join him, so expect Everton to be scoring less headed goals this season.