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Everton prepare for winter transfer window

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goodison

Everton are faring well in the Premier League thus far as they look to put last season’s calamities behind them. The Toffees are currently 7th and have lost just three league games under Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman made six signings during the summer transfer window and is looking to bring in some new recruits in January as the Blues continue their European push.

The club have already been linked with a number of targets and Rachid Ghezzal is said to head the list. The Algerian winger has entered the last six months of his contract at Lyon and rumours suggest the 24-year-old is unhappy at the Ligue 1 club and told RMC: “For now, nothing has been decided. Everything is on stand-by. I would be lying to say we did have deals or interested clubs. Today, he has no agreement”. Everton were in for Ghezzal in the previous transfer window but saw a significant offer rejected, though if Koeman revives his interest, it’s likely that the winger may end up at Goodison Park. Ghezzal scored ten goals in 38 appearances for the French club this season but has just one in 13 this term.

Ghezzal’s possible transfer to Everton is likely to hugely depend on the destiny of Memphis Depay. The Dutch winger has played just 20 minutes under Jose Mourinho and is open to discussing a winter move to Everton as his Manchester United days may be up. Koeman watched the 22-year-olds performance for Holland in their 1-1 draw with Belgium and revealed his interest in signing Depay, stating: “I would like to have him, I think he is an interesting player. He has great individual qualities”. Though Depay’s impressive brace against Luxembourg, including a rocket of a free-kick, may have just won him a chance to impress at United.

As well as looking to prove their exploits in the wing, Everton are also in the market to bolster their attacking ranks. The club were rejected in their deadline day pursuit of Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian’s contract talks with Napoli broke down this week and it’s possible that Everton may return for the striker.

It’s bad news for Napoli, particularly after losing Gonzalo Higuain to Serie A rivals Juventus, but it’s likely that Everton will welcome the news with open arms.

Gabbiadini is not the only striker on Everton’s radar however. SBAT’s recent transfer news suggests that the £12million-rated Dynamo Kiev striker Lukasz Teodorczyk is also within their sights.

The Polish international is on loan at Anderlecht and already has an impressive 14 goals to his name this season. Though his goal scoring form has attracted the attention of a number of clubs, including Stoke, Sunderland, West Ham, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen, Anderlecht do have the option to sign the 25-year-old permanently.

Everton do desperately need a striker, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding Romelu Lukaku’s future. And the club are also looking to the future as they open transfer talks with Norwegian wonder kid Rafik Zekhihi. The 18-year-old operates as a forward for Odds BK and the Norway U21 side and has impressed many this season despite his tender age. The Blues have reportedly been granted permission to speak to Zekhihi with the youngster said to be travelling to Merseyside with Koeman.

In defence, Everton and Spurs are in a two horse race for Bristol City defender Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson. The centre-half arrived at the Championship club from Juventus and cost just £2.5million.

The Icelandic international was with his national side during their impressive Euro 2016 campaign and has impressed since arriving in England. The 23-year-old can play at centre-back and left-back and has made 16 appearances 9th placed Bristol City so far this season, scoring one goal.

The post Everton prepare for winter transfer window appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Review of “For the Boys in the Royal Blue Jersey” by Steve Zocek

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book

I don’t know Steve personally but I’ve seen him at plenty of away games over the years, and as Joe Royle says in his foreword, Steve has “more than just a fanatical support for his club; it is a marvellous obsession”.

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In Steve’s own words, he’s a fan not a journalist and that’s the charm of the book. I’m probably of a similar age so with the exception of a few of his interviewees I can recall seeing them play in the Royal Blue of Everton.

The book is a collection of 50 interviews, arranged in alphabetical order. 49 are players, the other is a memorable interview with the daughter of Alan Ball, Steve’s hero. It’s a wonderful interview as it not only give information on Alan and football but an insight into his family life and perhaps most meaningfully the relationship between Bally, Everton and of course, us the fans – very enjoyable read.

It’s a book to pick your way through, for me I enjoyed going from one player to another based on my own preferences, I don’t think many will start with Alan Ainscow and read through in alphabetic order to George Wood.

There’s lots in the book I wasn’t aware of, personal insights from players, little nuggets of information that have come out in conversation. One thing that struck me is Steve’s knowledge of our club and the players themselves – forgive me for using the word but it’s phenomenal.

I’m not going to do any spoilers, other than mention my particular favourite stories featured the players in the mid/late 60’s playing under Harry Catterick.

Having said that this book is a great read for all ages, you don’t need to be in your 50’s or older to enjoy it. If you love Everton, and our history you’ll love the stories, and be in awe of Steve’s dedication.

The book is a must for Evertonians hungry to learn more of the greats (and some of the not so greats) who have pulled on the royal blue jersey. Even better that part of the proceeds of the book go direct to the Former Players’ Foundation.

I’ll leave you with 2 quotes from the book

“I…would have crawled on my hands and knees from Huddersfield to sign for Everton”

Ray Wilson (World Cup Winner)

“I have lived my dreams for playing for one of the best teams in the world”

John Bailey

Many thanks to Steve, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

You can buy the book from Amazon here.

The post Review of “For the Boys in the Royal Blue Jersey” by Steve Zocek appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Koeman outlines Everton ambitions

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Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman reaffirmed his ambitions for Everton, starting this season by challenging for European football.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC, Koeman said: “It is a long time since Everton were winning trophies and challenging for the title in England, but that is what we want to do,.

“This is a very big club and the aim is to be in the top positions again, challenging for the important places in the Premier League.

“It takes time when you come to a club to get everything you want in place, but I understand that in this game now, you do not always have the time. Results are very important and while we say there should be more patience, that is just not how this game works now.

“Long-term projects are no longer possible if you do not have success quickly and even though most supporters appreciate a manager should have some time, others can put pressure on the owners and decision makers at clubs who hire and sack managers.

“The ambition this season will be challenging for European football. We have introduced some new players last summer and it takes time to find the right balance in the team and to find consistency, but I feel it is not far away.

“If we are competing for a place in the Europa League in my first season here, then that would be a good achievement. I think this is possible, but we can see a lot of teams with the same ambition as us in the Premier League, so it will not be easy.”

The post Koeman outlines Everton ambitions appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Moshiri defends Koeman’s comments

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Ronald Koeman

Farhad Moshiri has moved to defend Ronald Koeman following widespread bemusement towards alleged comments suggesting Lukaku should leave Everton.

Dutch neslaper HLN claim Koeman told them: “I think he can emulate Patrick Kluivert, who also rose to prominence at a young age and enjoyed a fantastic career,” Koeman told Dutch newspaper HLN.

“He eventually played for Barcelona and I can see Lukaku doing the same.

“Everton should normally not be the end for him.

“Romelu will not have made the most of his career if he plays for Everton for the remainder of his career.

“He has the potential to play for a bigger club than Everton, but nobody knows what will happen after this season.”

Farhad Moshiri has used talkSPORT to play the “lost in translation/context” card.

“It has been taken out of context.” Moshiri told talkSPORT host Jim White.

“Ronald Koeman said he believes Romelu will develop into one of the best strikers in the world in the next two to three years and wouldn’t be out of place at his old club, Barcelona.

“It is just player-coach talk.”

The post Moshiri defends Koeman’s comments appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Here we go again.

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Ronald Koeman

Here we go again.

We’ve had it from the media, opponents, even our own players. There’s few left in football yet to belittle Everton and question the club’s size, ambition and standing.

On Monday, it was the turn of Roy Keane: ‘When was their last trophy?’

However, the biggest shock came on Wednesday when the Toffees’ own manager, Ronald Koeman, effectively claimed the star striker was too good for the club.

‘Romelu will not have made the most of his career if he plays for Everton for the remainder of his career,’ he said.

The man paid £6million-a year, brought in to return Everton to former glories, claimed Romelu Lukaku’s career would be wasted if he stayed at Goodison Park.

Quite Unbelievable and a real kick in the teeth.

koeman

What is Koeman doing on Merseyside exactly, if after only a few months of a new project, he is revealing to a Belgian publication that Everton will not be big enough, not achieve enough, to keep their best players in future?

Yes, it is unlikely Lukaku will remain at Everton – but it should not be the manager, earning mega money, claiming that to the world.

What business, and let’s be honest, that is what football has become, openly puts itself down and admits other rivals are bigger and more successful?

It is a massive own goal for Koeman so early into his Everton tenure. The Blues faithful are fiercely proud and his comments show an apparent lack of respect. It’s expected from pundits, not from you’re own manager tasked with getting results.

Yes, Koeman is a Holland legend who has won the European Cup with Barcelona and he has no prior links to Everton.

However, when a manager is paid so handsomely, he must immerse himself in the club. He can not make such claims that demeans us. Koeman must run the company line.

Having arrived with Everton desperate for European football under the guidance of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, Koeman’s ambition and view of the club will now be questioned by sections of the fanbase.

If Lukaku is too good for Everton, where does the Dutchman see us, where does he believe he can take us? If it is not back with the elite – that has to be the ambition – then the Toffees are employing the wrong man.

Why did he choose to take charge, leaving Southampton after guiding the Saints into the Europa League, if he believes we can not scale the heights he is convinced Lukaku will reach?

koemanlukaku

As well, what will potential transfer targets think of the comments? Why would they bother to join Everton when the manager is happy to suggest Lukaku will not get the most out of his career should he stay put?

For too long, during the David Moyes years, Everton were held back. Remember ‘knife to a gunfight’? The limitations were vast and still rooted into the club years later.

What Moshiri’s takeover has to do is change the mentality of the football club, to be big and bold once more, to believe in success and winning silverware.

Koeman’s comments have achieved the exact opposite. Moshiri must pull him up on this and question his reasoning for such a statement. A statement that didn’t need to be said, a statement actually very belittling of the club.

Sure, explain that Lukaku is destined to become one of the greats but add that Everton are determined to become a side capable of matching his ambitions. Don’t discard us as a sideshow in the player’s career.

Ronald Koeman

Why should the fans continue to invest in Everton when the man at the helm seemingly doesn’t rate our chances of competing as a ‘big club’ with Europe’s other giants? It seems a fruitless exercise to back the team if even the manager doesn’t have faith in the club’s aim to reach the top.

So much for progress. Everton have enjoyed a solid, if unspectacular start but the manager undermining the club is a real backwards step for what we are looking to achieve.

For some, Koeman is being realistic and honest with the fans. However, for others, his comments leave a bad taste and will continually be a cause for question marks over his commitment should Everton ultimately fail in their desire for success during his time in charge.

The post Here we go again. appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Lukaku potential to play for a bigger club than Everton

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koemanlukaku

Ronald Koeman reckons Romelu Lukaku has the potential to play for a bigger club than Everton, and thinks if he doesn’t move before the remainder of his career that he would not have fulfilled his potential.

Koeman: “I think he can emulate Patrick Kluivert, who also rose to prominence at a young age and enjoyed a fantastic career,” Koeman told Dutch newspaper HLN.

“He eventually played for Barcelona and I can see Lukaku doing the same.

“Everton should normally not be the end for him.

“Romelu will not have made the most of his career if he plays for Everton for the remainder of his career.

“He has the potential to play for a bigger club than Everton, but nobody knows what will happen after this season.”

The post Lukaku potential to play for a bigger club than Everton appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Moshiri Interview

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moshiri

Farhad Moshiri joined Jim White on talkSPORT this afternoon to talk about a multitude of topics.

We’ll upload a full recording shortly – in the meantime, some comments are below.

Moshiri: “It completely ruined my weekend [Chelsea 5-0 Everton]. It was terrible. Jesus. The sheer pain of the loss at Chelsea was immense. You just get numb.

“The pain was so much deeper than anything I experienced when Arsenal lost. As the majority shareholder you feel responsible.

“I think we shouldn’t forget, last year we were on a terrible run. The club is going the right way. At the beginning og the season our plan was to get in Europe. I think we’re on target”

“It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s a very unpredictable season”

Moshiri also spoke of three priorities, including a new stadium for Everton.

“I think with the stadium, I think the fans must know we’ve done the hard bit. The club are restricted to expand Goodison. We paid the debt, we’re free to do what we want and we have the finances to do it. I went to Liverpool a few weeks ago with Bill. We visited all the sites with the mayor – in our mind, we know where to go. We are committed. I can reassure the fans that we will have a stadium that rewards loyalty. This is my key aim”

The post Moshiri Interview appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Confirmed Everton Team vs Chelsea

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Ronald Koeman

Confirmed Everton team vs Chelsea;

Stekelenburg, Oviedo, Jagielka (C), Willians, Funes Mori, Coleman, Barry, Cleverley, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku

Subs: Joel, Deulofeu, Lennon, Valencia, Davies, Holgate

? | Team news is in! Here's our XI and subs to face @ChelseaFC! #EFCawayday pic.twitter.com/ArfokUjzUr

— Everton (@Everton) November 5, 2016

The post Confirmed Everton Team vs Chelsea appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Koeman: Improving on last season wasn’t so difficult

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Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman is happy with the improvement of Everton’s defending of set plays.

Koeman: “It was a big issue to change this, to have better defending and also better offensively set plays.

“They conceded 14 goals out of set plays last season. That’s crazy.

“We showed clips from last season and did a different organisation. We are giving more attention to set plays, at least twice a week. This morning we did a meeting about Chelsea only about set plays.

“The players need to be involved. They need to talk among themselves about the best ways to defend them.

“You can win or lose out of a corner or free-kick. I’m really happy now, but we need to continue. Maybe if you concede a lot of goals you are a little bit afraid to get corner kicks given against.

“It’s good to hear we’re doing better than last season – but that wasn’t so difficult.”

The post Koeman: Improving on last season wasn’t so difficult appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Injury Update vs Chelsea

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Leighton Baines

Ronald Koeman has provided an injury update ahead of Everton’s upcoming fixture with Chelsea.

Koeman: “Maarten Stekelenburg is back. He’s ready and fit to play.

“[Leighton] Baines not, he’s close to be back but ok, we don’t take any risk because after the weekend we have the international break and then if everything goes well he will be back after the international break.”

Earlier, despite his international call up – Koeman had also insisted James McCarthy was “not fit” and admitted his side will miss Idrissa Gueye who is suspended for the game.

“Of course it’s always a miss because the boy has really a lot of energy and wins a lot of balls in midfield but ok, it’s not about one player. Our squad is strong enough, we have enough choices to who will replace Gana at the weekend”

The post Injury Update vs Chelsea appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Koeman: “The player is not fit”

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Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Ronald Koeman has advised James McCarthy to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Despite missing Everton’s previous six games due to a groin injury, McCarthy started both 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova, playing the full 90 minutes and 81 minutes respectively and his involvement led Koeman to claim the midfielder was ‘massively overloaded‘ before accusing Republic of Ireland manager of ‘killing the player’.

McCarthy is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained in training but, despite managing just 57 minutes for Everton since the last international break, he has been included in the Ireland squad for the trip to Vienna on Saturday week.

Koeman, however, insists the player is not fit and has urged him to remain in England and work on his fitness rather than travel to Austria with Ireland.

Koeman: “The player is not fit. The player is not involved in team sessions. I think to have a call-up he needs to be close to be fit but it’s a little bit of the same story to what happend last time, we spoke to James – my advice to James is stay here and train and be fit as soon as possible but the final decision is by the player.

On being asked if Koeman had spoke with the Republic of Ireland manager, Koeman said: “No it’s not necessary because we have contact between medical staff and if the managers don’t take the right decision maybe he could take the good advice of the medical staff”

The post Koeman: “The player is not fit” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Chelsea vs Everton

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lukaku

*Applauds.

We knew you had it in you, Everton. The flames of dissent were dimmed for the week and the right team took to the park and did mostly what was required. It won’t ever stop the groundswell of previous seasons discontent but you pointed the pointy end in the right direction and pulled the trigger. When you didn’t see the match first hand you rely on the many words bandied about after and it can be difficult to grasp the meaning in the grand scheme of things. We know that, in this day and age, even most facts and opinions can be as polarising as a U.S Presidential Election; and the ability to take the current temperature of the team and to judge it before and against is the best we can do to understand where we are. Where we are going. Do you subscribe to style over substance? Is it even something you can teach? Every Evertonian has a basic understanding of the very laws of footballing nature and where we sit in any given mix is often viewed collectively and with a fair amount of context.

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When everyone does their thing and that thing includes beating West Ham with two and not conceding three it’s a good day. It’s par for the course so pipe right back down Hammers. Your new gaff is going to look ace in the Championship. Two don’t make a team but if they’re Rom and Ross heading into the latter part of 2016 then history should tell you it was probably the start of something beautiful. If anyone hasn’t watched https://www.grandoldteam.com/2016/11/01/watch-romelu-lukakus-50-league-goals-everton/ yet then do yourself a favour and click that. If you’re like me you’ll remember every single one of them and reaffirm to yourself what a talent we have and who we pinched him from. He’s said some nice things about us and Ross this week too, probably to balance the inevitable International Break want-a-way sound bite. Man of the Matchley had a much better game this time round, influencing proceedings as we have so oft willed him to do. It’s still a work in progress, a penciling in edging closer to confirmation, but we can now see the parts of his game coming together like Voltron with Slash playing the backing track.

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Ronald Koeman, with the kind of face you’d spend billions of pounds racing Russia to get to first, has his fledgling Everton side on 18 competitive points from a possible 30. It sits right up there with even the most competent of the first 10 games in our history although using 3 points for a win we’d be on 25 points in 69/70. That’s the limit of my research on that, so It’s nothing to be sneezed at as the last couple of seasons have shown; and continuing the current trajectory will have us biting at the heels of the more expensive squads heading to Europe the following year. Too soon? The Footballing Fathers of Form can be equally as Fickle as Fortuitous so we’ll now see where we’ve Fallen to at Festivus and and meet back here then.

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But ahoy Captain, thar blows another of the behemoths of the deep, closing in, over yonder and yet in our path. Chelsea, the KFC of modern football, all legs and breasts yet with tiny meaningless historical wings are next up. Roman Abramovich FC are the archetypal modern success story, in the right place at the right time. United in the day had some brilliant kids, a shrewd Boss and quality additions but Chelsea were created right out the box. A modern myth branded and packaged for the masses, sold to the international generation of consumers to google on their smart phones and bleat about on the interwebs. Their lack of European Football this season has surely hurt their pride, currently are on a four game winning run and out to humiliate. Out of the Cup and with only two trophies left to play for the pressure is on them to produce something this year other than a tremendous amount of wages.

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Antonio Conte, Jan Michael Vincents half brother and co-pilot of Airwolf in his spare time has taken up the Special ones reigns and had the stones to switch to a 3-5-1 after back to back defeats. Known for his direct play and minimalist, hardline approach, a Spaghetti Ferguson; this will be a tough game. The cavalcade of handsomely paid World Class Super Villains at his disposal will be as fresh as us and looking to trade blows, while we look to leave them smarting and fist waving as we hope to be the Penelope Pitstop to their [Poor language removed] Dastardly.

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In goal should see the giant Belgian, a head like it was drawn by Chuck Jones for a 1957 Pepe Le Pew cartoon and is he playing well? Probably. Defence should see a continuation of three at the back with Azpilecueta, Cahill and Luiz providing the comedy, midfield of Kante, Moses, maybe new sensation Alonso and Matic, with the tiny Belgian Hazard, Pedro and Costa forming the attack. You could also see Willian or Oscar in for Alonso, and John Terry most likely sulking on the bench. Fabregas? Has he still a footballing pulse?

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Sergio Leonie couldn’t have dreamed up a better foe than Diego Costa. He sits atop the scorers charts and is probably the biggest snide bar Suarez in World Football and I could actually see him wearing a black cape around his house and peering over it with crazy eyes taking selfies in the mirror. Whatever Boo’s we’ve been banking it’s time to make a withdrawal. There’s more passion on his face than after an evening with Nacho Vidal so the defence better be on alert.

Eden Hazard is back in Oscar contention after a shocking season fluffing his lines and it was to be expected when your name is just a giant oxymoron. He’ll need to be watched closely as he’s making things happen again and I hope somebody wears the shorts with the big pockets to keep him in.

The ghost of Victor Moses continues to haunt football pitches up and down the Country and recent sightings have speculated he is actually taking human shape. Not unlike Cirque De Soleil in the nineties. To be seen to be believed.

John Obi Mikel actually still plays for Chelsea.

Lukaku Lite Batsushayi is not worth a paragraph let alone a sentence, or even correct spelling for that matter. Did he mug us off? Were we ‘in’ for him? No? Okay.

Everton then. They pick themselves nowadays but the one name rubbed off the whiteboard this week is probably the most difficult to replace. If there was one name you’d have suggested be irreplaceable 10 games in you’d say Lukaku, and you’d be right, but up there elbowing him for space in the current hearts of Evertonians is our very own Idrissa Gana Gueye. Spotted by @Zatarain 2006 on the Sun Hewn desert pitches of Saly in Senegal kicking a makeshift ball made of stuck together Arsenal shirts and ferociously shepherding satanically possessed Lllamas into touch he was first plying his trade for Diambars until he was sent to Lille and then to Aston Villa. After that purgatory and with time off for good behavior he’s ours and he has finally made a name for himself at the ripe young age of 27. He is though, through the fault of every Referee who carded him now suspended and needs replacing. Cleverley? Gibber? Is McCarthy fit? You know it will probably be the former. Should Davies be thrown into deep end of the baths in among the Pool Bullies to float for himself? A false move in the Premiership gunfight can tend to leave a player scarred for eternity and Koeman has momentum to build. I’ll leave it up to you to discuss, but therein lies this vaguely worded set up.

We always give them a good go, and I have tried to again here despite one hell of a shadow, so up and at them, Everton.

Toe to toe.

The post Chelsea vs Everton appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

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