The last thing Everton needed after scraping over the line to survive at the end of one season, was to leave themselves hostages to fortune at the start of the next. Everton did plenty right despite starting the season with a 1-0 defeat at home by Chelsea, but an avoidable flaw was brutally exposed at Goodison Park and must be addressed instantly.
The sale of Richarlison to Tottenham for £60m was an inevitable consequence of last season’s struggles, the talisman who did so much to keep Everton in the Premier League understandably seeking a higher stage on the Champions League. Everton’s backroom team, and a board who claim they have learned the lessons from their own ruinous mistakes and transfer policies, would have been well advised to have lined up the Brazilian’s replacement in swift order, shortly after his departure for north London at the very latest.
The need is now even more urgent as Salomon Rondon looks a spent force, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s increasingly concerning injury record should have had alarm bells ringing after starting only 15 games in all competitions last season. Everton’s failure to act was punished when Calvert-Lewin suffered a knee injury in training days before the start of the season that rules him out for six weeks.