Everton must enhance squad

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David Moyes is looking for reinforcements © Trinity Mirror

The summer transfer window has long been a worrying time for Everton fans, as this time of year has often seen some of the club’s brightest talents depart.

Whether it be the dragged out negotiations which saw Joleon Lescott leave for Manchester City in 2009, or the last-minute deal that granted Mikel Arteta his wish to play in the Champions League a year ago, there is always the danger of key players leaving for pastures new.

It is therefore essential that the club keep hold of prized assets such as Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, particularly due to the Blues’ well documented habit of starting the season slowly, with the last campaign being no different.

The August 2011 transfer deadline day saw the departure of fan favourite Arteta, along with top scorer Jermaine Beckford and formerly deadly striker Yakubu, who went on to bag 18 goals for relegated Blackburn Rovers.

The feeling of doom and gloom swept around Goodison Park and the atmosphere matched early season performances as defeats to Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle United set up a dismal first half of the season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPvTKr2SAJc

Fast forward to January and what was shaping up to be a season to forget for the Blue half of Merseyside soon turned into one full of optimism.

The arrivals of Landon Donovan, Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar gave the whole club a lift and the second half of the season was a joy to behold. If the season had started in January then the Blues would have finished among the Champions League spots.

Victories over Premier League champions Manchester City, European champions Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur all made for a superb second half of the season which was only marred by the weak Wembley showing against neighbours Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final.

Key players such as Leighton Baines must be retained © Trinity Mirror

Now, after confirming the arrival of Rangers midfielder Steven Naismith, the next priority for David Moyes and Bill Kenwright has to be securing the signature of Pienaar, who was instrumental in his loan spell and has made it clear he wishes to remain at Goodison Park.

It is also just as important that last season’s top performers are not allowed to leave. If Everton’s post-Christmas form highlighted one thing, it is that they are one or two key signings away from the making of a team capable of challenging for a European berth.

This summer is as big as any Everton have faced since the departure of Wayne Rooney, as failure to keep hold of key players would see the current sense of optimism and excitement swallowed up by feelings of anger at a lack of ambition.

About Gary Maiden, JMU Journalism