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Transfer Talk – Kalidou Koulibaly

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Everton will try again to sign Kalidou Koulibaly according to reports in Italy.

Farhad Moshiri confirmed Everton tried to sign Koulibaly in the summer: “We tried to buy [Kalidou] Koulibaly of Napoli and they wanted £60m. It is monopoly money. We went right to the asking price and they decided not to sell”

Reports claim that the contract the 25-year-old centre-back signed in September last year has a release clause of £49m – with Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis recently quoted as saying “we’ll get over it” if someone pays Koulibaly’s release clause.

The defender’s agent Bruno Satin told a local Naples radio station: “Chelsea were interested but then they signed David Luiz and you also have John Terry and Gary Cahill at the club so there is a lot of competition there.

“We will see what happens. A lot of the improvements that Koulibaly has made in his game have been down to the coaching of Maurizio Sarri.

Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed in an interview with beIN Sports that Chelsea tried to sign the defender: “Chelsea had offered €55m, but I told Conte that I could not give him up without first having a worthy substitute”

The post Transfer Talk – Kalidou Koulibaly appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Coleman Thanks Fans

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Seamus Coleman has thanked fans for helping to get through his double leg break.

In his first interview since breaking his leg, Coleman told evertontv : “It’s great to be back, nice to see everyone again – it’s like my first day all over again.

“Obviously, I’d rather be fit and well but I’ve had a good month at home in Ireland to get my head around everything and now I’m ready to get back to work.

“I’m not on social media. It was tempting to go back on to thank everyone but I thought I’d wait to come back here to do the interview and just to say thank you for the support I’ve had from the two management teams, from the doctors, the surgeons and all the fans back home and here.

“Until something like this happens you don’t always realise how fortunate you are to play for this Club, to play for the national team and to have all that support behind me.

“Every little card meant so much to me and my family. All those well-wishes will get me through this tough period because people have gone out of their way to send cards, to send prayers and it definitely gets you through it.

“I always knew this was a great club, a special club. I never wanted this injury to happen but it has reminded me that the Club is amazing, as is the support I had from all the fans.

“I try to get involved as much as I can and help people outside of the game and I think I got that support back 10 times over.

“I couldn’t possibly thank everyone because there’s too many but everyone has played their part so far and it’s my job now to do the rest and get back on that pitch.”

Earlier in the month, we attended Everton’s fantastic #AllForOne event last week and spoke to these fans about Seamus Coleman.

The post Coleman Thanks Fans appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Schneiderlin’s Ambition

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Morgan Schneiderlin is keen to perform well to put Everton in the spotlight, to aid his own chances of earning a recall to the French national team.

Schneiderlin: “It [the competition] motivates me very much. The French national team is full of great talents, everywhere. The academies in France are doing very well and it motivates me because I know I have the capacity to play in the French national team and I want to play with the best from my country.

“It is my ambition to play for France but I know it’s going to be hard this season because there is a lot of competition and there are a lot of people doing well.

“I lost my place because I was not playing for the first six months of this season. Now, of course, I am playing well but the other players have done very well, too.

“It’s going to be up to me to produce good performances. That’s what I’m doing at the minute and then I’ll see. I’m just waiting.

“Hopefully I can be back there but first, for me, is still to have good performances with Everton and put the Club in the spotlight. Then, through that, I can put myself in the spotlight.

“If it doesn’t happen [this season], I can have a bit of time for my body to relax and then have a very good pre-season to be able to push for next season and a year of very hard matches.”

The post Schneiderlin’s Ambition appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Three players Everton should target in the summer

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Everton seem to be ending the season on a strong note, as they continue their progress under Ronald Koeman. The Merseyside outfit have played some good football this campaign, attacking midfielder Ross Barkley is performing well, and star striker Romelu Lukaku is likely to finish as the top scorer in the Premier League.

A top-four finish is probably beyond Everton, but the Toffees could snap up the fifth or the sixth spot. Manchester United have Europa League commitments and may rest key players for their upcoming Premier League games, while Arsenal are finding it hard to pick up points at the moment and are struggling under manager Arsene Wenger. With Everton’s odds of finishing in the top six at 4/1, it may still be worth taking advantage of bookmakers’ offers, such as those compiled by comparison sites including latestbettingsites.co.uk, and placing a bet on the Toffees.

Everton, though, need to make signings in the summer transfer window in order to make a push for the Champions League places next season. There are some established players such as Lukaku and talented youngsters like Tom Davies, but the Toffees need experienced footballers with a winning mentality in order to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in 2017-18. Below we look at three players Everton should target in the summer.

Michael Keane (Burnley)

Former Manchester United youth prospect Michael Keane is firmly in the sights of Jose Mourinho having announced he is to leave current club Burnley at the end of the season, but Everton could have an outside chance at landing the 24-year-old. The defender has been one of the leading lights this season at Turf Moor, with his performances playing a major role in helping the Lancashire side to stave off relegation and earning him an England call-up under Gareth Southgate. With the Toffees having two centre-backs in their 30s – Phil Jagielka (34) and Ashley Williams (32) – Keane could provide the injection of youth at the back the team are looking for.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Wayne Rooney is struggling for playing time at Manchester United at the moment, and it does seem that his time at Old Trafford is coming to an end. Having been able to make only nine Premier League starts this season, the England international forward could be tempted to Goodison Park. Everton manager Ronald Koeman has already stated his admiration of the 31-year-old, who started his professional club football career at the Toffees. Rooney has a winning mentality, and he still has a few more years left at the highest level.

Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)

Jordan Pickford has been one of the best players for Sunderland this season, and it is hard to see the goalkeeper playing in the Championship. The Black Cats are likely to get relegated from the Premier League, and the 23-year-old could be convinced to leave the Stadium of Light. Neither Joel Robles nor Maarten Stekelenburg has been particularly impressive this season for Everton. Pickford is a very talented and promising young goalkeeper, and he would flourish under Koeman at Goodison Park.

The post Three players Everton should target in the summer appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Out on Loan – EFC’s Younger Players 24.04.17

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atrottel provides his weekly round up of Everton players out on loan.

Gethin Jones played another full match for Barnsley as they went down to defeat at Bristol City.

Conor McAleny scored two early goals with good strikes to set Oxford United up with an impressive 3-0 away win over League One promotion contenders Millwall. Oxford fans are beginning to wonder if he is too good for them to be able to tie him down for next season.

Conor Grant played the full 90 minutes as Doncaster Rovers continued their early holidays and were defeated by Wycombe at home.

Anthony Evans started for Morecambe but was substituted in the second half as they went down to defeat at Exeter City.

Calum Dyson, on the other hand, came on in the second half for Grimsby and put himself about a bit as the Mariners won 4-2 against Yeovil Town.

Finally, there was a rare sighting of the lesser-spotted Shani Tarashaj as he played the second-half in Eintracht Frankfurt’s win over Augsburg (possibly in the squad due to team rotation in preparation for this week’s cup semi-final).

Callum Connolly (Wigan – not in matchday squad)

The post Out on Loan – EFC’s Younger Players 24.04.17 appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

An Evening With Tony Bellew

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An Evening With Tony Bomber Bellew will take place in The Auditorium at Echo Arena, our small intimate theatre, on Saturday 6 May.

The live Q&A will be compered by Simon Ross from Radio City 2 with special guests and music from Everton FC’s pitch announcer Graeme White. Don’t miss this great night with the boxer everyone is talking about.

More information and ticketing this way bit.ly/TonyBellewGOT

The post An Evening With Tony Bellew appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

The Dixies

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Tickets are selling fast for Everton’s revamped End of Season Awards ceremony ‘The Dixies’ with Blues encouraged to purchase their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

The inaugural ‘Dixies’, to be held on Tuesday 9 May at the iconic Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, are set to be bigger, better and more inclusive than ever before. As part of the revamp, the glittering ceremony will see over 1,300 tickets available to supporters with a variety of affordable ticket-only options available to purchase, as well as a wide range of VIP packages.

Evertonians have already been snapping up available tickets for the, now, theatre style ceremony which will see fans joined by a host of Blues legends, as well as Ronald Koeman and the entire Everton first-team squad.

There are 10 prestigious ‘Dixies’ to be awarded on the night, which will also see special guests, interviews with first-team stars, some outstanding live music and thrilling video clips.

The awards presented will include Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season, Player’s Player of the Season, Under-23 Player of Season, the Chairman’s Blueblood Award, the Howard Kendall Award and the Fan of the Year. A former player will also be inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame and named as the latest Everton Giant.

This year will also see the introduction of a brand new award category – Individual Performance of the Season. The Goal of the Season award will be voted for live on the night.

VIP box packages are sold out and there is already a limited availability of tickets in the Grand Circle priced at £42.

Tickets to the pinnacle of the Club’s social calendar start at £30 in the Rear Circle and rise to £36 in the Upper Circle, £42 in the Grand Circle (limited availability) and £72.50 for the first two rows in the Grand Circle. As well as ticket-only options, where the dress code is smart, supporters have the opportunity to purchase two different VIP Packages.

Seats in the stalls are available from £99 and include an event programme and complimentary drink on arrival. The dress-code for supporters seated in the stalls is formal.

If you would like more information on the event please contact a member of the Club’s Hospitality Team on hospitality@evertonfc.com.

Tickets to ‘The Dixies’ are available to purchase online or alternatively you can call The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Box Office on 0151 709 3789.

*Please note booking fees apply, for online and telephone sales and a charge of 2% for in person credit card payments.

Tickets prices (inc booking fee):

Rear Circle – £30 (£32.25)
Upper Circle – £36 (£38.70)
Grand Circle – £42 (£45.15)
First Two Rows of Grand Circle £72.50 (£77.94)
Stalls (£99 VIP Package – £106.43)
Boxes – Sold Out

The post The Dixies appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Being the Best

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This past weekend, for me and I suspect plenty of others, saw two games of totally contrasting fortunes namely the rather tame and boring West Ham versus Everton encounter and the El Classico – Real Madrid versus Barcelona.

Let’s look at the scenarios… West Ham struggling, out of form and finding life in their new home rather difficult to come to terms with against an Everton side, still with a remote, but tangible chance of finishing in the top four. Outcome, a listless, boring, tedious, drab 0-0 draw with barely a decent effort on goal from either side and just one, repeat one from the side with surely the greater incentive – Everton.

Meanwhile in Spain, Real Madrid top of the table and fresh from progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League against Barcelona, who’d been eliminated from the same competition by virtue of a masterclass in how to defend afforded them by Juventus. Outcome, a superb exhibition of hard work, desire, a willingness to overcome adversity and a thrilling finale – indeed, a classic.

Now you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know and accept that both Real and Barca are by some margin, a cut above the vast majority of the footballing world, but the point of this missive is to highlight the work rate, desire and sheer will to succeed… and in particular of one man – Lionel Messi.

Go back to Wednesday’s game against Juventus and Messi worked his socks off to try and haul Barcelone back from a three-goal first leg deficit, but the quite outstanding Juve defence was having none of it, even Messi couldn’t break them down.

Bear in mind too, that during first half, Messi had taken a heavy fall that saw him land on his face and incur bruising around his left eye.

Yet barely 96 hours later he was up and ready to take on Real in the Bernabeu. He hadn’t scored in a Madrid El Classico for six games and Barca were behind in the chase for the La Liga title.

Real took the lead through a dubiously offside goal before a key incident. Messi and Marcelo leapt for a header and the Madrid defender, deliberately or otherwise caught the Argentinian with his elbow and Messi went down clutching his face.

Was he fawning injury, was he fairy cakes. As he picked himself up blood and lots of it oozed from a facial injury and he needed treatment. For many players, this might have been the end of their game.

Messi though, didn’t whinge or whine, he took his treatment and a wad of tissues and got back on with the game. Probably incensed at the incident, he chose to take out his anger and vengeance on Real Madrid. A smashing move saw his dance into the Real area after an exchange of passes and his unerring left foot drive levelled the score.

The second half was a Messi masterclass. He worked his socks off, linking with his team mates endlessly and tirelessly, harrassing the Madrid midfield to distraction and probing the defence constantly, looking for the weaknesses to pounce upon.

Barca duly took a second half lead and Madrid began to fray at the edges, the unravelling caused largely by the sheer work rate and determination of the man clutching his tissues and wiping his wound. Messi was in full-on best player in the world mode.

Sergio Ramos saw red and Barca appeared home and dry, but this was El Classico and the home side fought back and with less than five minutes to play James Rodriguez, the often forgotten man of Los Galacticos beat Ter Stegen to rescue a point… hang on, don’t forget Messi.

Into added on time and Barca win the ball deep in their own half. A break of lightning speed, power and precision passing sees the Catalan side race the length of the pitch with Messi arriving at the perfect time in the perfect place to plant a perfect left-footed curling shot into the net.

Even Messi knew that he’d been just a bit special as he removed his shirt and displayed his name to the crowd. He got booked. He should have been chaired off the pitch. He’d been quite simply the best of the best in a game that featured so many great players.

Contrast the work rate, desire, and will to win of Messi against some of the Everton side that took to the pitch against West Ham – there can be utterly no comparison.

Players far too often talk the talk and either can’t or have no real idea of how to walk the walk.

Players – and let’s be brutally honest now – like Romelu Lukaku, talk about wanting to play in the Champions League; some feel they have almost a divine right to do so on the back of some fine form.

Well, they don’t have any such divine right. They have and need to earn it. You can have all the skill and physical attributes in the world, but if you lack the work rate and desire to get to the top, you won’t.

The Everton motto is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum – nothing but the best. If over the past 48 hours you can find anyone better than Lionel Messi to fit that billing, I’d be delighted to learn who it is.

I offer you one instance from Saturday when, second half, Mason Holgate put in arguably the best cross of the afternoon, right into the danger area where Rom was waiting… and we waited, we wait still… for a leap and a challenge to win the ball and score. It simply was not there.

I found myself thinking… if that had been Alec Young, he’d have wiped a bead of perspiration from his brow – Alec perspired, he didn’t sweat like mere mortals do – and he’d have caressed the ball with his forehead beyond Adrian in the West Ham goal.

Fred Pickering, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Graeme Sharp, Duncan Ferguson, even Gary Lineker and certainly Tim Cahill ahead of flattening the nearest corner flag with a right hook, they would all have buried the chance. Andy Gray would have probably waited till the ball dropped to knee height before launching himself amidst the flailing boots to score.

What did we see from Romelu Lukaku, well I’m not quite sure how to describe it but, it sure as eggs is eggs was not the attempt of a man desperate to score, earn his side victory and keep them in the hunt for a Champions League place.

You may suspect that I’m fuming, and you would not be far wrong.

I like Lukaku, I really, really do and some of the goals he’s scored during his time with Everton have been quite exceptional, but and it’s a big but… he thinks he should be playing Champions League right now but he hasn’t yet earned it.

He talks lucidly and eloquently about ‘working hard to be the best player I can be’ – laudable sentiments, but actions need to speak more and louder than mere words.

He’s 23 and with a glorious future ahead of him if he applies himself better than he did on Saturday and if he earns and has that glorious future with Everton rather than seeking it being handed him on a plate by a mega-money move elsewhere, then nobody will be more pleased than me.

Messi is 29 and has been lauded as the best player – arguably with Ronaldo – in the world for maybe five years if not longer… and his work rate, desire and will to win are as prevalent and strong today as when he first appeared on the footballing scene.

This isn’t about Romelu Lukaku being anything like the all-round player that Lionel Messi is – it’s about having the same level of work rate, desire, committment, and will to win.

Lukaku talks about being the best and right now, comes up short of the mark.

Messi does his talking on the pitch – being the best.

The post Being the Best appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

West Ham v Everton

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West Ham has been a happy hunting ground for the Toffees over the past few years.

And while the venue has changed, the London Stadium has offered the Hammers little in the way of home comfort.

Michail Antonio, Sam Byram, Mark Noble and Andy Carroll are missing for Saturday’s clash and of course, there’s no Payet threat after a January exit.

Everton need three points to qualify for the Europa League… surely this is the moment.

It’s been grim viewing for the boys in East London, best summed up by Robert Snodgrass replacing that man Dimitri Payet. Imagine that.

Ones to watch – or not

Michail Antonio is of course injured, which comes as a massive bonus as he has found himself as West Ham’s top scorer this season.

Manuel Lanzini has got an eye for a dead ball situation, whether that is aiming in on net or whipping one in for one of the big men in the box.

So please, no silly fouls around the box, Blues.

But onto the Toffeemen.

Confidence should be high in the camp after overcoming a potential banana skin with a very professional 3-1 home victory over Burnley last time out.

On-loan West Ham man Enner Valencia, a big factor in that conquering of Burnley, will be missing this coming Saturday due to obvious reasons. A real shame, great impact off the bench in tight games.

Three points will temporarily elevate Everton above Arsenal and Manchester United into fifth as well as secure European football under the lights of the Grand Old Lady next campaign.

Key man as ever will be Romelu Lukaku, the big man will be playing a part in his tenth game against West Ham in an Everton jersey. Looking for his tenth goal against them in the process.

Time and time again the self proclaimed ‘1966 World Cup Winners’ have no answer for the Premier League’s top scorer. And I don’t expect that to stop this weekend.

Victory would only be Everton’s second away from Goodison Park this calendar year.

A record desperate of improvement.

Here’s hoping come 5 o’clock Saturday the boys in the Royal Blue have got the job done and the three points are traveling back up north.

Up the Toffees.

The post West Ham v Everton appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

McCarthy “working separate of the group”

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Ronald Koeman isn’t confident James McCarthy will play again this season, with the midfielder still working seperate of the group as he looks to recover from his latest injury.

Koeman: “He is still working separate of the group.

“There are four weeks to go and I don’t know if he will be at a good level physically to play- we will wait.

“It’s not the first time he’s been out. We need to see how he’s recovering and at what time he’ll be available I don’t know.”

There was better news on Mo Besic.

Koeman: “Mo will play his second game tomorrow for the u-23s (against Chelsea). He’s working very hard and is close to being back.”

The post McCarthy “working separate of the group” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

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