Everton will be one of the teams to watch this season and could “do a Tottenham” by challenging at the top of the Premier League, says former Toffees captain Phil Neville.
Neville feels the return of Wayne Rooney, and the influx of other new signings, shows the club’s ambition.
He said the club must now aim to climb the league like Spurs have in recent seasons with a young side.
“If the window closed today, Everton have done the best business,” he said.
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Everton have had a busy summer of transfer activity with manager Ronald Koeman bringing in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen from Ajax, while England defender Michael Keane was signed from Burnley, and fellow defender Cuco Martina came on a free transfer from Southampton.
Young forward Sandro Ramirez joined from Malaga, while England international Rooney arrived from Manchester United just days before fellow striker Romelu Lukaku went the other way – joining United for a fee of £75m.
Everton have to ‘kick on’
Neville, who left Old Trafford to move to Everton in 2005 and went on to make over 300 appearances for the Merseyside club, feels the Blues could be set to join the sides at the top of the table in the same manner as Spurs have done under Mauricio Pochettino.
“Everton have to look at Tottenham,” he added.
“Four or five years ago, Tottenham and Everton were on similar levels, Tottenham kicked on and Everton didn’t but now I think they are well capable of doing a Tottenham – producing a young team with a brilliant manager in Ronald Koeman.
“Everton have bought quality and what is more exciting is the young players breaking through – couple that with Wayne Rooney and it should be good. Everton could be one of the teams to watch this year.”
Rooney can make the difference
Neville said the free transfer signing of former United skipper Rooney could be the difference.
“They have been very proactive, they have not waited for Lukaku to leave, they have said ‘let’s get our players in first and take some of the pressure off’,” he said.
“I remember when I was at Everton with David Moyes. We sold Joleon Lescott one summer and Mikel Arteta towards the end [of the transfer window] – when you sell those players it puts added pressure on and fans get a little angry.
“They have actually signed four or five players, the fans are happy, it softens the blow of Lukaku leaving with knowing full well there are one or two more to come.
“I think the signing of Rooney gels it all together for Everton. There is no way Wayne Rooney would go back to Everton if he didn’t think they were going to win things, that is for sure.”