Coming off a strong season that saw them make it to the FA Cup Final and qualify for the Europa League, Everton will be looking to improve this season. David Moyes struggled last season with many injuries to key players, but still managed to find results when the club needed points the most. Returning this season healthy is a must for the Toffees if they are looking to improve upon last season’s finish, and Moyes, although cash strapped at times has made sure that his sides have always shown improvement.
Key Additions: Jo (returns from Manchester City on loan), Shkodran Mustafi (Hamburg)
Manchester City has allowed the Brazilian forward Jo to return to Goodison after a strong showing last season and an influx of talent at City’s forward position. This will only help to bolster the attack as Yakubu returns to the fold this season and Tim Cahill and Louis Saha have always been one to find the injury bug during the season. Moyes managed to snatch up Germany’s U-17 International Shkodran Mustafi for no transfer from Hamburg to bolster his defense for the future, although they were responsible for training fees. This acquisition can only be good for Moyes’ side as England International defender Joleon Lescott is being pursued by Manchester City, who has already snapped up many from around England’s top clubs. Everton is keen to let Lescott go, but if he is for the off, Moyes will make due as he always does.
The key for Everton this season is to stay healthy. Not having the cash to splash in the transfer market, Everton cannot afford to sustain the losses they did last season. If they manage to make another purchase it can only go to improve the side, on which hosts one of the best goalkeepers in England, or the world depending on your company, a strong defense, talented midfield, and a plethora of strong attacking options. So if Everton stays fit this season I would look for them to finish right outside the top 4 and maybe go as far as pushing a club like Arsenal out of the 4th spot.
What to say about Manchester City. They have bought many and loaned out the rest. Mark Hughes has a job on his hands this season with all the money that has been spent and the results that are expected from his side. Aside from Manchester United and Chelsea, City will now bolster one of the most star studded sides in the EPL, but do stars bring you silverware? I think not, as City have had a rough preseason and will be looking to stroke the egos of many new faces this season. Hughes does not look to be quite finished yet this summer, but the high profile targets he is currently after look to be staying where they are for right now.
Key Additions: Kolo Toure (Arsenal), Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn), Carlos Tevez (Manchester United), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Stuart Taylor (Aston Villa)
Key Losses: Elano (to Galatasaray)
The additions of many more attacking options at the Eastlands will undoubtedly cause Hughes more trouble than he is prepared for. If he was worried about his job as manager last season being in doubt, I would not be surprised to see him gone if his new side fails to produce. This will not be the case though as so much talent will bring enough victories to keep Hughes in a job. I look for City to start out slow and improve over time, buying more star power if possible in January, but falling short of the top 4 spots this season.
While the future looks good for City, and the money does not seem to be going anywhere. It will take time to build a side of superstars who can produce the titles the ownership and fans want. The Galacticos could not do it immediately and I do not see City being able to as well. They still need support in defense, and though the addition of Kolo Toure is helpful, it is just not enough. John Terry has turned them down, but City is still showing interest in Everton’s England International Joleon Lescott. The transfer window is still open, so nothing from City from here on in would be too surprising. They have the money and love to let others know about it, but for now they will still be on the outside looking in.