By Matt Farr
Ex-Everton defender Michael Ball insists the club needs to sign six or seven new players this summer in order to compete at the top.
Toffees manager Ronald Koeman has already made a number of improvements to the first-team squad following his arrival at Goodison Park last summer, but Ball expects him to continue his overhaul at the end of the season.
Koeman removed much of the deadweight during the January transfer window, offloading the likes of Oumar Niasse, Tom Cleverley, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo.
Meanwhile, he stumped up the cash to bring in Manchester United outcast Morgan Schneiderlin and highly-rated youngster Ademola Lookman.
But in his column for the Liverpool Echo, Ball urged the Dutchman to assemble a squad ‘capable of delivering a trophy’ next season in what would be some radical changes.
He said: “Everton need to make six or seven signings this summer. And one or two of those need to be marquee recruits – the type of acquisitions to tell people that the Blues mean business.
“The aim for next season if for Everton to be strong enough to mount a challenge for the top four whilst also being able to fight on all fronts, home and abroad.
“Everton have to target the winning of a trophy next season and so must assemble a squad capable of delivering that, as well as one able to progress in the league.”
A pressing concern for Koeman, however, will also be the long-term futures of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley.
The 23-year-old duo face uncertain futures at the club, with Lukaku having declined a new deal at Goodison Park in a bid to force a move to a Champions League club this summer.
Barkley, meanwhile, has just one year left to run on his contract and negotiations are yet to begin over a new deal.
But losing two of their most prized assets at the end of the season will certainly not be part of Everton’s transfer plans, regardless of the funds they could raise from any potential sale.
In other Everton transfer news, Koeman has taken a dig at Manchester United in the face of their reported pursuit of this Toffees star.