Marco Silva’s debut campaign at Goodison Park ended with Everton in the same position, eighth, as they finished under Sam Allardyce, even if an improved goal tally, better football and three wins over top-six opponents, ending a drought, offered grounds for optimism.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison brought style and goals, and a bid for Wilfried Zaha showed an intent to make Everton more entertaining again.
But the question remains unanswered if the Portuguese can justify Everton’s pursuit of him by breaking into the top six.
Everton will have to improve on a meagre tally of five away wins if they are to do so.
Who finishes where in 2019-20?
Key player: Moise Kean
A surprise signing but an auspicious one. The 19-year-old is Italy’s youngest scorer in competitive football. Everton have lacked a prolific striker since Romelu Lukaku left but if part of Kean’s challenge is topping Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s tally of six goals last season, part of it is replicating his fine work in service of others.
The best summer transfers
Signing to watch: Andre Gomes
Everton may know what they are getting from the £22 million man. Yet are they getting the class act of autumn and spring or the lightweight who left them overpowered in midfield in their winter slump? And while Gomes combined well with the departed Idrissa Gueye, it will be interesting how he dovetails with Fabian Delph. He may have to win the ball more.
Talking point: Will Yerry Mina justify his price tag?
Most of Silva’s signings were qualified successes last season. The exception was Mina, whose £28m fee looks exorbitant. The Colombian scored three times in the World Cup but Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma proved better centre-backs from a defensive perspective at Goodison Park.
But with Everton’s attempts to buy Zouma, after his loan spell, not yet succeeding and Phil Jagielka leaving, it becomes more important that Mina shows the reliability, consistency and fitness he lacked last season. If not, his purchase from Barcelona could seem another expensive mistake in Farhad Moshiri’s reign at Everton.