Phil Neville EXCLUSIVE: Everton are the team to watch this season, they could break into the top six

14 Jul

Phil Neville has backed former club Everton to break the top six stranglehold at the top of the Premier League having done the ‘best business’ of all clubs this summer.

Speaking to talkSPORT’s Ian Abrahams at the Star Sixes event, Neville praised the Toffees’ work in the transfer market, which has seen them bring in eight players – five of whom should be guaranteed first-team starters.

Losing their best goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku, to Manchester United is a real blow to Ronald Koeman, though he has invested the transfer funds received in a group of players who can emulate his goalscoring feats.

Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen will all improve the Toffees in the final third, while Everton are still hoping to tempt Gylfi Sigurdsson to Goodison Park, despite having seen a £40m package for the Iceland midfielder rejected by Swansea in recent days.

Everton ended last season eight points behind sixth placed United, having threatened to break into the top six at times during the campaign, and Neville believes they are well placed to go one better in 2017/18 and actually secure a top six finish.

He said: “Everton have done the best business.

“I think if any club are probably going to break the stranglehold of the top six now, you think [it would be] Everton. They were closest last season and fell a little bit short, but with the young players breaking through coupled with the signings they have made, Everton could be the team to watch this season.

“They spent good money on the boy from Malaga, Sandro. He is an outstanding player; I watched a lot of him last year for Malaga. He’s young, probably needs time to settle in.

“Look, I think they probably might do it with them being in the Europa League as well, but if you’ve got Rooney, Klaassen, maybe Sigurdsson, Sandro, you have enough attacking flair there to score goals. Because you need goals from all areas, not just one person like Lukaku in the last four years.”

The signings made by Koeman continue his undertaking of building a squad of talented signings combined with Everton academy products such as Tom Davies, Dominic Calver-Lewin and Mason Holgate.

That trio all made appearances for Everton’s first-team last term, and Neville expects further youth players to break into the senior squad under Koeman.

He added: “They [young players] will definitely get game time if they are good enough; that was always drummed into me.

“Tom Davies is good enough, [Ademola] Lookman – from what I saw at the Under-20 World Cup – will be good enough, Jonjo Kenny the right back will be good enough and get opportunities, Mason Holgate [as well].

“Ronald Koeman is not daft and he knows he’s got to keep these youngsters coming through, Everton have some of the best [youngsters], and with so many games they have the platform to do it. What I will say is they have got to perform.”

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