Ronald Koeman’s First Season In Charge At Goodison Park: How Has He Fared?

Ronald Koeman’s First Season In Charge At Goodison Park: How Has He Fared?
May 8, 2017

Everton Featured

On balance, it is fair to say that Ronald Koeman’s first season at Everton has been a success. Granted it has had its share of dark moments along the way, their 0-3 loss to Chelsea at Goodison last weekend being one of these forgettable times. This paired with their 5-0 capitulation at Stamford Bridge last November will certainly leave the fifty-four-year-old in no rush to play Chelsea again anytime soon. But to be fair to Koeman’s men, they are not the first team to struggle against Antonio Conte’s ruthless and unforgiving Chelsea this season. These isolated performances, therefore, must be put into the correct perspective.

Focusing on the positive – Everton can be immensely proud of securing Europa league football next year, massively improving on their 11th place final position last season. This is a clear sign that Koeman has been a huge asset to Everton, and that things have vastly improved since his arrival last June. It seems indisputable that Koeman knows how to motivate the players, Romelu Lukaku, in particular, making the club proud with his frankly unbelievable season for the Toffees.

Quite understandably, Koeman has significant concerns as to whether he can keep his prolific goalscorer at the club but has made clear that the future success of the club relies on other players adopting a similar attitude. Lukaku has scored 24 goals this season, 3 clear of Harry Kane, making him extremely likely to pick up the golden boot this year. Remarkably aged just 23 years old, Lukaku is showing all the signs of becoming a world class striker – but with all due respect to Everton, this comes with the unfortunate consequence that Lukaku will be looking to take his career to the next level.

Reports suggest that Lukaku is Chelsea-bound in the summer, and this is hardly surprising given the latest football betting odds at bet365 tip them at just 1/20 to secure the title this year. These aspirations will match Lukaku’s ambitions, and Koeman must prepare for the likelihood of losing his star man.

By securing Europa League football in his first season, it would be unfair to label Koeman’s efforts as a disappointment. But now he must build on his success by starting to turn his attention to next season, making preparations for what could be a very difficult transfer window. Much will depend on player outgoings and working out exactly how to replace seemingly irreplaceable players such as Lukaku if he leaves, and possibly Ross Barkley should he continue to stall on contract talks.

With his managerial career nearly reaching 18 years now, Koeman can be trusted to bring in quality replacements in the unfortunate scenario that he loses key men. The Dutchman has also made it quite clear that to face the challenges of Europe, the squad will need significantly more depth. Whilst renowned for giving opportunities to young players, Koeman is not naïve and it is likely that he will use the summer transfer window to bolster his squad with experience.

Koeman has had an accomplished first year with Everton, but how well he manages the transfer window this summer will have huge implications on if he can build on this success.

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