Investment to match their rivals, or lack thereof, has been a long-standing gripe for Everton fans, so as the position of manager Roberto Martinez grows evermore untenable, appointing a transfer market shrewdie to succeed him must take precedent above all else.
Following billionaire Farhad Moshiri’s arrival in the boardroom, the Toffees are expected to have a deeper transfer war chest than ever before this summer and entrusting it to someone who is proven to have spent wisely holds the key to improving on the club’s dire 2015/16 campaign.
It can be argued that astuteness in the transfer market is Martinez’s greatest quality, with several strong acquisitions made during the Spaniard’s three-year Goodison Park stay.
However, a combination of newspaper reports and general expectation dictate that, thanks to the substandard season he has overseen, the former Wigan Athletic chief will be out of a job this summer, while the best among the better buys he made, namely Romelu Lukaku and John Stones, will surely seek a move away to a club befitting their ability.
So a squad that looks increasingly certain to finish in the bottom half of the Premier League is likely to get significantly weaker, yet a massive improvement in fortunes will be demanded in 2016/17.
Assuming Martinez does get the sack, whoever does take his place will have a tough time turning fortunes around in the short term, so chasing a coach with the best chance of instilling long-term success is key.
Based on his achievements with Bournemouth and, perhaps more importantly, Burnley, they need look no further than Eddie Howe.
Available to back at 9/1 to take the Goodison Park reigns, Howe’s heroics with the Cherries are widely acknowledged, but he can also take a lot of the credit for the Clarets’ recent rise.
Promoted to the Premier League for the 2014/15 campaign and relegated a year later, Sean Dyche’s side look almost certain to regain top-flight status at the first time of asking this term.
Obviously Dyche deserves plaudits for this, Howe’s signings laid the foundations. In a short and unsuccessful stint at Turf Moor, he bought strikers Charlie Austin and Danny Ings as well as defenders Ben Mee and Kieran Trippier, while target man Sam Vokes was drafted in about a month after Howe left, meaning it’s likely he had a hand in the signing.
All bar Austin played a significant role in securing the previous promotion to the Premier League and the profits generated on those they’ve sold undoubtedly aided their inevitable return to the top tier.
Howe may not get the results the Everton fans crave, but he can be trusted to make the signings that will ensure they flourish further down the line.