There is an old adage that states “be careful what you wish for” and that will be ringing true for Sean Dyche as he surveys the mess in front of him in his new job as Everton manager. The former Burnley boss has been out of work since April of last year and despite rumoured approaches by Championship and Scottish clubs, Dyche has been firm in his belief that he still can offer something as a Premier League manager. That something has finally arrived in the form of a move to Goodison to try and repair what is left of Evertons disastrous season. Despite Frank Lampards best efforts, Everton for one reason or a hundred proved too much for the former England midfielder who left bemused by how much had gone awry.
Everton for all intents and purposes should be a club positioned well for success but in truth they have been a badly injured animal who has been on its last legs for too long. How it hasn’t succumbed to its injuries is anyone’s guess with many now pondering when rather than if. This season, much like the past 7 seasons since Farhad Moshiri took a majority share in the club, has been one calamitous moment after another. Blaming the owner for everything is an easy game (see Mike Ashley during his Newcastle days) but it’s way beyond Moshiri; something is fundamentally broken at Goodison Park. Millions invested; most of it badly, seven managers in and out during that same time with Dyche No. 8, indecision and an overall lack of strategy on and off the pitch has lead fans to wonder what exactly is happening at their club. Making things worse, this all happened during a period of uplift at Liverpool FC, their bitter rivals who added Champions League and more importantly Premier League trophies to their cabinet.
Everton are a club in peril, languishing in 19th place in the table and staring relegation in the face. A drop to the Championship could be the death mail for the club; recovery and promotion back is not a foregone conclusion even for a club of Everton’s stature. For Dyche, the issues off the pitch will have to wait until the summer as his main focus and indeed his only focus has to be sorting the club out on the pitch. He has a lot to contend with – a talented but disjointed team, badly lacking in confidence, riddled with injuries to key players and now one shorter following the departure of one of their brightest players, Anthony Gordon to Newcastle. With hours before the window shuts, getting reinforcements in (mostly likely loans) is key although their should be some of the £40m from Gordon to spend if the right player comes along. Everton need a goalscorer badly; Calvert Lewin has been ravaged by injury after injury whilst Richarlson was allowed to leave last summer without a real replacement being brought in. He has issues in midfield and defence too but that’s a long term issue that won’t be solved with a bandage loan signing.
There are some green shoots of hope though for Everton fans. Dyche may be exactly the type of manager that the clubs needs right now; a no nonsense operator who knows how to grind out results whilst building a strong club culture at the same time. He also favours building from the back so sorting out Everton’s defensive frailties will be top of his to do list. Luckily Dyche has allies in that department in the form of James Tarkowski and Michael Keane, both former players of Dyche’s at Burnley. Building a base around them, with the addition of Conor Coady or Mason Holgate along side in a three and England keeper Jordan Pickford behind should positionally go along way to stopping the goal rot but thats only half the battle. The entire squad is desperately lacking confidence and as a result are making errors in games that are costing Everton dearly. Restoring their confidence and self belief may be Dyche’s biggest challenge and its likely he knows that. In midfield Dyche has options for how he wants to play with another former Burnley player, Dwight McNeill surely in line for a prominent attacking role. He could also make the bold move of bringing Dele Alli back to the club from Turkey with a view to regenerating a player who once shone brightly in the league. Many other managers have failed so that might prove the cautionary tale that prevents Alli’s return too. The job for Dyche has already started and he has no doubt plotted Everton’s great escape already. Whether he can pull it off however we will all have to wait and see.
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