Rebuilding time for the Blues
For several months now - you could argue the entire season - Evertonians have been desperate for the season to end. The team's abject displays, clear lack of quality and poor results rapidly eroded the bedrock of optimism that previous years had created. There is a feeling that the club must now start again.
But this is easier said than done. David Moyes and Bill Kenwright, more publicly than any other Premiership manager and chairman, bemoan the lack of funds the club has to bolster the squad. Therefore, the issue is quite black and white: Everton must sell to buy.
This is a sore issue for Everton fans having seen important team members like Rooney, Lescott and Pienaar move on in recent years. With this sort of transfer, managers must balance the negative effect of losing the player with the potential to rebuild for the better, and to be fair to Moyes, he has done this each time. To have received over Â£50m for those players and also established Everton as a team regularly challenging for Europe is both good business and excellent management. So credit where it is due.
But for now, which of the current squad falls under that criteria? Which player could raise funds without destroying the team?
Leighton Baines? No chance. His 5 goals and 11 assists (the only defender in the top 20 with only Nani, Fabregas and Drogba ahead of him) demonstrates his essential contribution to the team. So no chance.
Marouane Fellaini? Although Everton fans would admit to being a little dissatisfied with him at times, there is a clear consensus that he has definite quality and further potential. Evertonians would like to see the team built around him as he is young, powerful, versatile and dynamic. Moyes too sees him this way so again, another non-starter.
It seems there is only one player who could be sold for a healthy sum without damaging the team: Jack Rodwell.
Rodwell has undoubted potential but frankly, he has had undoubted potential for the last four years. And though Evertonians are immensely proud of their youth academy and respect Moyes' faith in the youngsters, most would be indifferent, if not happy about Rodwell's departure.
To hear constant speculation about teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly ready to offer Â£20m plus for Rodwell is baffling to me. He has to date only two Premiership goals and only two assists, and though his seasons are frequently blighted by lengthy injuries, this is a very poor return. Compared to, for example, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who most Evertonians would be happy to see move on (8 goals and 3 assists) and Seamus Coleman who has only just broken into the team (4 goals and 2 assists), it is clear that Rodwell is not an essential part of the team.
So like I said, it is black and white: sell Rodwell and buy two strikers, a creative midfielder, and a centre back, and give the club the chance to push one again.