Everton's summer plans in motion, but Dyche faces uncertainty . . .
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Everton’s summer plans in motion, but Dyche faces uncertainty amid takeover.

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This summer might be a watershed moment in Everton’s efforts to rebuild, as the club can move forward with confidence in its top-flight status following the Merseyside derby. However, as Sean Dyche demonstrates, things are not always so simple…

Everton is prepping for the coming season, but uncertainty about the club’s ownership keeps Sean Dyche “juggling sand”.

Two wins in four days have altered the Blues’ final stages of the season, with the latter – an emphatic Merseyside derby success over Liverpool – instilling confidence in the club while pushing it to the edge of Premier League safety.

Safety could be ensured this weekend, a remarkable feat given the eight points deducted and wider off-field upheaval that has plagued a squad that only achieved top-flight status in the final week of the previous two seasons.

Everton’s victories over Nottingham Forest and Liverpool have put them eight points clear of the bottom three with four games remaining. Director of football Kevin Thelwell should be able to confidently plan for another season in the Premier League for the first time in his Goodison Park career, given his dominating position over both Luton Town and Nottingham Forest.

While that would normally be an important time for the club to start working on its summer plans, in Everton’s situation, it remains challenging for those engaged in the football operation at Finch Farm, particularly Thelwell and Dyche. An interim board has been in place at the club since last summer and will remain in place while an attempted takeover by US business 777 Partners is still pending Premier League permission.

Neither a breakthrough nor the appearance of a competitor would provide instant assurance about the club’s budget for the summer. Everton is still arguing with the Premier League about how millions of pounds in stadium interest charges were accounted for, with a hearing scheduled for after the end of the season. The club will also need to closely examine its financial position ahead of the profit and sustainability deadline of June 30, with the Blues perhaps having to sell a player before then to comply with the criteria for the first time in three years.

Following the win against Liverpool, Dyche emphasized that the focus should stay on Brentford, this weekend’s opponents, and mathematically securing survival. However, attention has naturally shifted to the future, with the Everton boss confirming that he and Thelwell have begun to plan for the summer.

Dyche stated: “In this case, it doesn’t really matter because the club is in the process of changing hands. However, the earlier you complete tasks, the more quickly you can plan your future steps. But Kev and I, together with the scouts, are planning nonetheless… What if this happens? What if that happened? And then trying to retain an open mind while still going to your staples – ‘Who is going to be here?’ The club’s juggling act is similar to juggling sand.

The following months will be critical for the club as it looks to build on this season, with choices needed on a number of players. Andy Lonergan, Andre Gomes, Dele, and Idrissa Gueye Ashley Young and club captain Seamus Coleman are also out of contract, and loan signings Jack Harrison and Arnaut Danjuma are set to return to their original clubs. Key players, notably Dominic Calvert-Lewin, are about to enter the final year of their contracts.

When asked if any decisions had already been taken, Dyche replied, “I am waiting to see the realities of what we can and cannot do.” It has been a constant here, and it is not limited to the players. There’s always something going on here; it’s like juggling sand. How do you master that? Every time we say, ‘yeah, that’s good,’ something comes up and says, ‘that’s not good; now we have to solve that’. It’s like sticking your fingers into the dam. It’s the same with the guys right now. Because the club is in flux, we can’t say one way or the other, so we’re shifting, moving, and shaping things as we go.”

 

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