Marco Silva was unveiled as the new Everton manager recently and expectations are once again high for the club.
Everton are desperate to compete for the riches of the top six of the Premier League, having not won any silverware since 1995 and not securing a top-six finish for the past four seasons. This past season was initially marred by poor performances and an early threat of relegation before Sam Allardyce guided the Toffees to an 8th-place finish – Allardyce was subsequently sacked in May, and Silva brought in.
After securing a top-four finish in 2005, Everton went on to finish inside the top seven in seven of their next nine seasons in an impressive decade for the club. A consistent force in the top flight, Everton were often seen as the greatest threat to England’s established elite.
How times have changed for the Toffees, losing out to the likes of Burnley, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Swansea and many more in recent seasons. Consecutive eleventh-place finishes compounded the clubs mediocre fortunes in recent times.
There was a small revival under Ronald Koeman before it all came crashing down after the sale of star man Romelu Lukaku. One of the league’s top scorers, he was always going to be a big miss, but Everton began this season under the threat of relegation despite a near £140m outlay.
With Koeman dismissed, the board quickly got Sam Allardyce on the phone to save them. And whilst performances weren’t awe-inspiring, Allardyce not only led the club away from relegation, but helped them achieve a modest but respectable 8th place finish.
But fans did protest and Allardyce was out the door with former Hull and Watford manager Marco Silva finally being appointed after months of speculation surrounding the Portuguese. Watford still insist Everton’s approach for their man derailed their season, an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away and will likely require valuable time and money to resolve.
It’s a lot of trouble for a manager who only has a 33.6% win rate in the Premier League. In both his previous Premier League roles he burnt brightly and quickly, overseeing some inspired results before ultimately fading off to failure.
Harsh maybe on the Portuguese manager, but those are the facts. With one relegation and one sacking on his record from just 48 games in charge, how much leeway will he be afforded if things don’t go well at Everton?
More importantly, what can Everton honestly expect to achieve this season beyond their eighth-place finish in 2017/18? Their squad looks miles behind both Arsenal and Chelsea, both of whom expect to invest heavily again this summer after missing out on the top four.
Competition for those places is perhaps higher than it’s ever been in the Premier League era and Everton do not look up to the standard. It’s hard to imagine any signings barring someone like Neymar or Antoine Griezmann could close the gap for the Toffees either.
At best they’re surely targeting a seventh-place finish which is only a meagre step up from where they’re currently at. If they put the resources into it they could maybe win one of the cups, but considering the top six have monopolised them in the last five years, it would be a tall order for Everton.
So where are Everton going to draw the line of success for Silva? Ambition is a wonderful thing for a Premier League team and something integral to success, but delusion will only create a poisoned chalice of inconsistency for the Portuguese tactician.