Everton, once again, look like they will enter the campaign not fully prepared for the new season.For the second season running, it appears the Toffees will start without a suitable option to start up front.
After losing Yerry Mina and Conor Coady too, Everton are yet to bring in any centre-back reinforcements, with no links having been made yet.Youssef Chermiti could arrive in time to play against the club he is expected to leave in the coming days, but at just 19, he is unlikely to be thrust straight into the first team.
On a positive note though, Neal Maupay and Lewis Dobbin both found the net in Everton’s 2-2 behind-closed-doors friendly draw with Monza on Tuesday, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin
did get some minutes.Dobbin especially has starred in pre-season for Everton, and he could feature again, with manager Sean Dyche reportedly impressed with what he has seen from the youngster.
Everton are still unbeaten in pre-season, winning three and drawing twice, and the goals conceded against Monza were just the second and third they have let in so far.Preparation among the rest of the squad is taking shape though, as Dyche was able to call upon more first-team options for the trip to Stoke City last weekend.
However, pre-season form suggests they may have turned a corner with some excellent results so far.
Everton kick their season off against Fulham and their former manager Marco Silva at Goodison Park next Saturday.Sporting were disappointing in the Portuguese top flight last season, finishing fourth behind Braga, and a long way behind champions and local rivals Benfica.
A pair of 3-0 wins over both Real Sociedad and Villarreal in the past week will mean the Lions arrive in England with plenty of confidence.
It was a poor record before the World Cup which ultimately cost them any sort of success last season, as only Porto and Juventus beat Sporting since early January.
Sporting have Viktor Gyokeres in their ranks now, a player Everton were reportedly after earlier in the summer, and whose arrival is what is opening up Chermiti’s move to Goodison.
The Swede scored 40 goals in the past two seasons for Coventry City and has already opened his account with his new club, scoring in the win over Real Sociedad.