By Matt Farr
Football Insider analyses three of the main talking points from Everton’s 1-0 win over Watford in the Premier League on Friday.
Need more cutting edge
Ronald Koeman may have his sights set on ensuring his most prized assets remain at the club this summer, but he is faced with another pressing issue. Lukaku and Barkley could be key to Everton’s plans to bring Champions League football to Goodison Park in the coming seasons, but even with the pair in the side, there is a certain lack of cutting edge that needs to be addressed. The Toffees boast their fair share of attacking talent, but in terms of final product, there is room for improvement. Yes, Lukaku has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, but the 23-year-old could do with a little more help. Koeman will have his targets, but perhaps a winger or another creative attacker with a consistent and prolific record in the final third could be of great use this summer.
Barkley relishes the attention – but is it too late?
The 23-year-old has often grabbed the headlines during his Everton career, having endured both widespread criticism and having drawn the plaudits for his undoubted talent. However, he went under the microscope this week after Koeman issued him with an ultimatum, demanding he sign a new deal at the club before the end of the week or else he will be sold this summer. It is worth noting that Koeman wants Barkley to commit his future to the club, and that it is Barkley who is stalling negotiations. But the midfielder seemed to relish the attention against Watford, opening the scoring with a superbly-taken strike from range. When under the cosh, he often stands up tall and provides the goods; but his latest impressive display could mean little if he doesn’t sign on the dotted line.
Valencia plead his case for a permanent move
Aside from Barkley and Lukaku, Koeman will also be considering the futures of a number of his other first-team players. Enner Valencia is currently on loan at the club from West Ham, but with his deal set to expire in a couple of weeks’ time, Koeman has a decision to make regarding whether or not to push for a permanent move. The 27-year-old has lost his place in the first-team in recent weeks, but after a fairly drab first-half against Watford, Koeman turned to him to change the game – and he did just that. He immediately pushed the Watford defence onto the back-foot, offering some inviting deliveries into the box, and his performance could give his boss something to think about ahead of the summer.
In other Everton transfer news, here is how the Everton players rated during the victory.