'More productivity' was a phrase that became synonymous with Ronald Koeman's post-match assessments last season as he lamented Everton's lack of attacking threat at times last season.
Determined to rectify this issue, Koeman forked out £69m on bringing in three new players who could play the 'number 10' role and provide Ross Barkley with serious competition.
So far, though, Koeman's attacking quartet have flattered to deceive and the Toffees' 16th place in the Premier League shows how much they're struggling up top.
It's high time that Koeman nailed his flag to the mast, pick one playmaker and stick with them for a run of games to see if continuity would give the Blues the best possible chance of creating and scoring goals more regularly.
Who should the Dutchman plump for?
Thanks for the Assist!
Any top flight playmaker must have the creativity, ingenuity and passing ability to lay goals on regularly for their teammates - and Everton are no exception.
Taking data pulled from the past two-and-a-bit Premier League seasons - to give a fair crack of the whip to all four Toffees' options - it's clear to see that there is one outright winner:
|Name||Assists in 15/16||Assists in 16/17||Assists So Far in 17/18||Total|
With an average of 7.6 assists per campaign, Davy Klaassen is the player who has conjured up more passes leading to goals than his teammates.
Shockingly, last season's top assist maker Gylfi Sigurdsson comes last on the list - perhaps proof that last season he really kicked on, or that Swansea City relied so heavily on him in 16/17 to dig them out of their relegation mire.
Toffees academy product Ross Barkley is the only one who failed to build upon his previous haul from 15/16 to 16/17, while the returning Wayne Rooney actually faired pretty well in his last term at Manchester United.
Golden in Front of Goal
Number 10s aren't just tasked with assisting teammates though - they're also required to weigh in with a fair amount of their own strikes to ease the pressure on their club's goalscorers.
Again, taking data from 2015/16 right through to present day, the below stats make for interesting viewing:
|Name||Goals in 15/16||Goals in 16/17||Goals in 17/18||Total|
Once again, Klaassen comes out on top. However, given the Eredivisie's tendency to allow even the most average strikers to thrive - yes, I'm looking at you, Afonso Alves - the 24-year-old was always likely to bag a hefty haul of goals.
Barkley's numbers are the main talking point once more in terms of decreasing output and, whilst Rooney and Sigurdsson also saw their goals columns falter year on year, they still managed to notch okay numbers ahead of this season.
With Everton's number 10 quartet all posting 15+ numbers in both categories, it's clear to see that all are capable of producing in attacking areas when it matters.
The verdict? I'd argue that Gylfi Sigurdsson is the best bet for Koeman right now. Klaassen is by far the most productive but, given his struggles to adapt to English football, is likely to be eased into proceedings.
Rooney has far greater experience than Sigurdsson but should be utilised as a striker, especially with Everton's other goal scorers struggling to find the net regularly, while Barkley may not get a real look in considering his desire to leave.
With a wicked set piece delivery, eye for a through ball and the ability to score 10+ goals a season, Sigurdsson should be the man tasked with playing in the hole behind Everton's frontman.