Sam Allardyce has outlined his plans for Everton’s squad reshaping this summer – and has indicated that departures will play even more of a significant role than signings.
Everton embarked upon an unprecedented spending spree last summer under previous boss Ronald Koeman, recruiting eight senior players and a further seven earmarked for Under-23 football.
Heading in the opposite direction were Tom Cleverly, Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, Gareth Barry and Aiden McGeady, while Kieran Dowell, Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway left the club on season-long loans.
Allardyce admitted that he would be looking to reduce the numbers of senior players at the club even more.
“There’s no doubt that at 38 professionals it’s too many,” said the Blues boss.
“We need to reduce that number of players to 25, 26 or 27 and try and get better quality rather than quantity.
“We want quality in certain areas – but we have to give great praise to our young players who we have played more than anyone else in the Premier League.
“For 23 and under we have ramped up numerous games for our young players which nobody else has even tried to get anywhere near.
“They have had fantastic experience in the hope that they will improve next season on what they have done.”
Allardyce added: “Our difficulties have come in many different angles.
“That will be something you would look at at the end of the season and assess and evolve.
“It’s who we are going to move on, who we are going to keep, can we move them on, who are we going to recruit and at the start of pre-season how many players can we have at the start of pre-season that will develop themselves to the start of the season and hit the ground running?
“I think that all of those disruptions were a big problem for Everton right at the start, from the Europa qualifiers in early July and the amount of games being played, and long term injuries played a major part – I think there were nine when I got here – all those difficulties have contributed to a difficult season for everybody but we have released ourselves from those pressures and we are playing for as many points as we can possibly get now to finish the season as high as we can.
“Fans who have supported us and gone out and bought season tickets which I believe are at a record level, shows that they are all looking forward to next season and hopefully we can deliver more.”