Premier League: Can Ronald Koeman Take Everton to the Next Level?
Ronald Koeman has enjoyed his time in England.
He has not finished any lower than seventh in the Premier League table since his arrival at Southampton in 2014, and his brand of football and ability to grow young players has made the former Barcelona midfielder a manager to keep tabs on.
After extensive time in Netherlands -- and short stints in Portugal and Spain -- Koeman took an enticing job at Southampton that required him to replicate Mauricio Pochettino's success.
He did one better, finishing seventh in his debut year in England and improving to sixth the year after.
Unsurprisingly, offers came Koeman's way, most notably from the Toffees.
|Ronald Koeman's Results||Wins||Losses||Draws|
Everton's struggle to remain among the top clubs in the Premier League has existed since the modern era of the league.
Plenty of managers have brought hope, most recently Roberto Martinez, but almost all have stagnated after initial success -- either due to inadequate financial backing or managers like Martinez getting solved by his adversaries after a successful first season.
But Koeman has yet to see that issue in his time in the Premier League. Providing consistent success and a rock-solid philosophy, Koeman has proven himself a capable manager in England's top flight and is now receiving serious financial backing from the front office.
The early summer additions of Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and Davy Klaassen from Ajax, just 23- and 24-years-old respectively, have shown that.
|Davy Klaassen||Goals||Assists||Minutes Per Goal Created|
Smart signings with enough talent to perform now along with an upside to improve or be sold later have been a declaration of intent from the front office, and it also continues to give the Dutch manager more youth to mold.
Not that he doesn't do enough already.
Tom Davies and Mason Holgate were revelations in Koeman's first year, and one wonders that if Brendan Galloway had stayed Merseyside instead of being loaned to West Bromwich Albion, if he would've continued in stride after his promising 2015-16 season.
Davies, a 19-year-old attacking midfielder, scored twice and assisted on two goals in 1,544 minutes. Holgate, a 20-year-old defender, won 1.8 aerials per game and 51% of his duels in 1,373 minutes.
With Koeman, Everton now have a manager whom many other clubs covet. His pedigree has been backed up by results, and if the top clubs weren't certain about their current manager situation, it wouldn't be surprising to have seen offers roll in for the 54-year-old skipper.
The Toffees seem to realize that. This is best evidenced by the aforementioned transfers and the rumors that continue to swirl around them.
If Everton can keep Romelu Lukaku for another season on top of their new additions, it will be a serious statement of intent and something that may prove to Koeman that both sides can continue to be a good fit going forward.
We've seen Everton managers flame out before, but all signs point to the Dutchman having continued success.
The only drawback is his record against the top managers he'll be facing this upcoming season. His overall win percentage of 46.4% is solid, but it drastically drops to 26% in the 23 matches he's had against the following managers.
|Season||Arsene Wenger||Jurgen Klopp||Jose Mourinho||Antonio Conte||Mauricio Pochettino||Pep Guardiola|
For the Toffees and Koeman to ascend the EPL ladder, he'll need to show that he's learned from experience.
Somewhat favorable records against Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, and Jose Mourinho give hope, but Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte had his number this past season. It will be imperative for Everton to get results against the top clubs for the Toffees to have a legitimate chance at a top-four spot.
Koeman and Everton have all the reason to be optimistic for this upcoming season -- new talent, momentum and a chance to lift a European trophy. However, for Everton to crack into a top-four spot, Koeman will have to improve against his strongest competition and get the Toffees ready for a fixture-heavy season.