The Blues have started the summer in a much more decisive manner than we're used to. The signing of Steven Naismith was heavily fancied by the media even as the final whimpers of life were still leaving the now deceased Glasgow Rangers. That signing is complete and the striking partnership that was so fruitful in Scotland is now reunited. Jelavic has stated prior to the move that Naismith is the best striking partner he has ever played with, by default making him better than the Bayern-bound Mario Mandzukic. His arrival could mean Cahill dropping back to play alongside Fellaini or possibly Naismith playing on the right.
Aside from a deal already done it's refreshing to see the occasional Everton mention in the BBC Football Gossip Column. I've listed some of the more likely ones:
One of the most realistic, persistent and worrying pieces of Everton related gossip is the potential arrival of Danijel Pranjic on a free transfer. Realistic because he is a technically astute, versatile Croat but worrying because he can ply his trade at left back. Baines rumours have gone quiet and thankfully there doesn't seem to be any pull on the player's part to make a move happen. Would the arrival of Pranjic mean that Baines to Manure would be back on the cards? Or would he be deployed to fill gaps in centre midfield, left wing and indeed left back if required? Either way a move I can see happening.
The return of Peanuts is an obvious one that all Evertonians would probably like to see over any other move. I'm not exactly sure how pally we are with AVB after he 'underestimated' us when he was getting bullied by Lampard and Terry for a few months last season. Hopefully he's not a fan of Peanuts himself and a deal can be done promptly.
Hoilett is undoubtedly too good to be playing in the Championship. In fact last season, he was too good (as was the Yak) to be playing for the rabble of chicken-scoffing muppets currently claiming to be Blackburn Rovers. For me, Hoilett is an exciting player who, on his day, has the attributes to skip past just about anyone and bang one in from 20 yards. Up to now I have only seen us, Arsenal and Newcastle linked with him but apparently wage demands are a stumbling block for any potential move. I believe he is a player worth fighting to acquire.
For the last couple of seasons he's been linked with a loan move to just about anyone at the beginning of the summer, only for the rumours to be rubbished by Sitteh a few weeks later. This season the lack of first team opportunities available to Johnson and his omission from Woy's England Wawwiors may make it time for him to make a move. If his oil money-inflated wages and value lead to a loan move being the only realistic option, Everton would definitely be in the running to sign him. The only problem we would have in such a scenario is if being selected for England is a priority for him. Wearing an Anfield Red Sox jersey (and what a terrible, terrible collection of jerseys it is this season) seems to be the only sure fire way to worm your way in at the minute regardless of form, ability or ugliness.
These are just a few of the names I've seen batted about but I can definitely see a summer of activity both in and out of Goodison but I'd like to think we will be stronger at the end of it. We have a group of young players that will want and need more games now so balancing their expectations must also be a factor. Barkley, Rodwell and Coleman will hopefully be given the chance to prove their worth this season. I've had a stab at an optimistic Everton XI for next season and also the best XI we have if there are no more signings. Feel free to comment on how brilliant or indeed preposterous predictions both teams are:
Hibbert Jagielka Distin Baines
Current Best XI
Hibbert Jagielka Distin Baines
To keep an eye on everyone Everton are linked with this summer the only place to go is http://www.bluekipper.com/players/80-something_fishy/index.html
Rocky Balbluer (@johnsimms1878)