Success or Failure? How Ronald Koeman & Blues Fans Will View Everton's Summer Transfer Business
It's over. Three months of speculation, done deals, near misses and rued luck has come to pass with the closure of the 2017 summer transfer window.
For Everton supporters and manager Ronald Koeman alike, though, the past quarter of the year has represented something of a missed opportunity in spite of the wonderful early work that was conducted.
As the dust settles on another entertaining and, ultimately, frustrating window for the Toffees, where does Koeman's squad stand heading into the next four months of the season?
Optimism Runs Rife Around Goodison Park
Given Everton's usually glacial pace when it comes to acquiring new faces, the club's fanbase was left bowled over by the sheer ferocity with which the Toffees got to work this summer.
The big-money arrivals of Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford coupled with the bargain basement signing of Sandro Ramirez left Evertonians in something of a dream land as Koeman, director of football Steve Walsh and their transfer department moved quickly to secure targets.
The romantic return of boyhood Blue Wayne Rooney sent supporters into overdrive, and led to many pre-emptive comments that Everton were back in the big time.
More additions in the form of Cuco Martina, Henry Onyekuru, Nikola Vlasic and club-record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson took the club's spending north of the £150m barrier, and saw Koeman bask in the glow of conducting the biggest recruitment drive seen at Everton for many a year.
Not since the David Moyes era a decade ago, when Andy Johnson, Tim Howard and Joleon Lescott were all scooped up in quick succession, had Everton drafted in so many star names in such a short period of time.
And yet the overall feeling among Evertonians, now that the window has slammed shut, is one of frustration and slight pessimism. Just what could bring them down to Earth with a bump?
I Guess That's Why They Call it 'The Blues'
Namely, the failure to secure the extra two bodies that Koeman was desperate to add to his senior ranks.
The Blues weren't successful in landing that big name goalscorer who would have helped to replace the goals lost when Romelu Lukaku departed for Manchester United, and Everton have looked somewhat toothless in his absence.
We spent half the window signing an assist factory for him to have absolutely nobody to set up.— Brad (@bradyates_) August 31, 2017
True, goals have been scored and shared around already this term, and the Toffees have only failed to find the back of the net on one occasion in seven competitive matches.
How different would their side have looked with, say, an Olivier Giroud though? Koeman is renowned for wanting a physically imposing target man who can hold the ball up and bag 15+ goals a season, and the irritation at not signing one will vex him every time Everton slip up.
The Dutchman will be annoyed, too, that left-back cover for Leighton Baines was not secured, and any long-term injury or potential suspension of the revered full-back will hit his squad hard - particularly with Ramiro Funes Mori sidelined until next year with a knee problem.
Koeman consistently called on his board in public to snap up the missing ingredients for his squad in the weeks leading up to deadline day, and he will be exasperated to have learned that neither issue was resolved.
What Now for Koeman and His Squad?
There's little the 54-year-old can do but prepare to bring in the necessary reinforcements in January, and Koeman will have to go with what he's got and hope that injuries are kind to his stars.
Evertonians will have a ready-made excuse to rely on whenever the Toffees make a mess of things in front of goal, but none of this should detract from the superb business they have done.
If the Blues can keep themselves in the mix in both domestic and cup competitions until the turn of the year, then there is the chance to strengthen in January and make a push for silverware and a top four place.
Only four months to go until it all kicks off again. Evertonians will be hoping that they and Koeman won't have to literally kick off if they fail to bolster their squad again in January.