Premier League: Can Everton finish in the top six after summer business?

Everton manager Marco Silva
Marco Silva can be very happy with their business in the transfer window
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Everton were active on deadline day and Ben McAleer looks at how their new signings could impact their 2018/19 Premier League campaign...

"Caution must be applied here as the transfer window slams shut. Everton invested heavily in the squad last summer and their slow start not only cost Ronald Koeman his job, but the Toffees their chance at breaking apart the traditional top-6"

*Wipes sweat from brow* Well that's another deadline day passed. A number of teams left it late to add to their squad, with Fulham still confirming transfers once the 5pm deadline had passed. Fellow Premier League outfit Everton did similar as they waited until late on to conclude their summer business.

The Toffees had been unusually quiet in the window following the appointment of Marco Silva as Sam Allardyce's replacement at Goodison Park, but kicked it up a notch last month.

Silva's first port of call was former club Watford to reunite with Richarlison. The Brazilian may have gone off the boil following Javi Gracia's appointment, yet showed his best form under the Portuguese boss. Toffees supporters will hope he can quickly get back to firing on all cylinders after his big money switch to Merseyside with Richarlison offering another attacking dynamic at Goodison Park.

Silva can bring out the best in Richarlison again

With Silva expected to deploy a 4-3-3 setup, Richarlison's aerial capability means Everton can switch the play at the drop of a hat if need be and allow for the young Brazilian to double up with primary frontman Cenk Tosun in the opposition penalty box.

Granted, the 21-year-old hasn't scored a Premier League goal since November, but without a prolonged break from football, his dip in performances comes as little surprise, with fatigue likely to have played a part.

However, while Richarlison may have been the big money buy, Everton needed to bring in new faces to address key positions. The Toffees ideally needed another technical player in the final third, a new centre-back or two and a left-back and they have boosted in the three problematic areas.

Leighton Baines' advancing years meant he was in need of replacing sooner rather than later, and having been previously linked with Kieran Tierney, elected to instead take Lucas Digne off of Barcelona's hands.

The Frenchman had become disillusioned with life as Jordi Alba's understudy at Camp Nou and for good reason having made just 22 league starts over the last years in Spain. During his time with Lille, PSG and particularly Roma, though, Digne proved how sturdy a left-back he is.

The spell at Roma did enough to convince Barcelona to land the left-back and as a long-term successors for Baines at Goodison Park, Everton could have done a lot worse in luring the 25-year-old to Merseyside.

Will World Cup inflation come back to haunt Everton?

At the heart of the defence, too, an ageing backline was holding Everton back. Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams have a combined age of 68 and with Michael Keane struggling to replicate his fine Burnley form and Ramiro Funes Mori departing for Villarreal, youthful reinforcements were required.

Everton, though, may have fallen into the World Cup trap. Those who perform well at summer tournaments often see their value soar and Yerry Mina was no exception.

The towering centre-back was impressive at one end of the pitch, scoring more goals (3) than any other defender at Russia 2018, though at times struggled with his defensive duties. Some Barcelona fans are happy to see the back of Mina, particularly with the La Liga giants making a €20m profit on a player who only moved to Spain back in January. He'll be a huge asset from set-piece situations, but if Silva does implement a high-defensive line with Mina as one of two centre-backs, the 23-year-old could struggle.

At least he would have Kurt Zouma alongside him, with the young centre-back more than capable of making up the ground should the Everton defence by breached.

Zouma, who has joined from Chelsea on loan, may have been a regular member of a Stoke defence that succumbed to relegation, but the Frenchman was arguably their best performer last term, Xherdan Shaqiri and Jack Butland aside. Dominant aerially, too - Zouma's aerial success rate of 77.9% was the best of those to contest 100 or more aerial duels in the Premier League last season - Everton can at least rest easy that, with Zouma and Mina at the back, they won't be dominated in the air.

Central midfield may not have been an area of weakness per se for Everton, with Silva able to call upon Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies in the middle of the park, but a player to link the midfield and attack helps bridge the gap between the two banks. Andre Gomes will hope to rediscover his Valencia form following a disappointing two years at Barcelona, they too guilty of landing a player who impressed at an international tournament, this time Euro 2016, and his dribbling qualities will afford Everton a further dimension to their attack.

Bernard capture rectifies problem position

Finally, in Bernard, Everton have a fleet-footed, young attacker who is eager to impress in England. The Brazilian has been linked with a Premier League switch in the past, with Chelsea also considering a move for the 25-year-old this summer, yet Bernard brings the ability to play out wide or in the number 10 role to Goodison Park. It's this additional versatility in the final third that the Toffees lacked last term and his arrival is a huge boost for Silva.

Caution must be applied here as the transfer window slams shut. Everton invested heavily last summer and their slow start not only cost Ronald Koeman his job, but the Toffees their chance at breaking apart the traditional top-6. Silva proved how capable a manager he is during his short stints at Hull and Watford and if the new signings can gel quickly, then they may have a chance of finishing above the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea.

Everton [5.3] to finish in the top-6 then could be a handy moneymaker in both the short term via the cash out option and in the long run if they start well.

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