For all the significant modifications Marco Silva made to his Everton squad back in the summer, the Blues are still dangerously unbalanced.
While Silva has been able to boast success stories in the transfer market such as Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Richarlison, the Portuguese is still lumbered with stacks of unwanted players eating into a bloated wage bill.
It will take a sizeable effort from the most experienced lumberjacks to remove the deadwood this summer and it will form a big part of Silva and Marcel Brands’ thinking when they settle down to discuss the market later this year.
Improvements and upgrades were made in Silva’s first transfer window as Everton manager, but a desperately poor couple of months has suggested that a lot more work is needed.
Throwing money at the problem won’t resolve the sticky situation they find themselves in, either.
The Blues must work smarter and box clever in the summer transfer window and make sure the targets identified are the right ones, capable of lifting them above the mire the have repeatedly been sitting in over the past couple of years.
Perhaps the hard work starts with offloading big-earning players who have long been surplus to requirements at Goodison Park.
A player whose January return was not necessarily wanted by Goodison Park officials. The inconsistent winger cut short his loan spell at Aston Villa himself after growing unhappy in the Championship.
He was eventually shipped off to Anderlecht on loan for the remainder of the season in a last-gasp deadline-day switch to Belgium.
It’s hard to believe the Blues paid over £25million for the wideman less than three years ago. Bolasie still has over two years left to run on a contract that earns him a reported £75,000 a week at Goodison Park.
An unfortunate knee injury sustained in December 2016 kept him sidelined for 12 months and has essentially curtailed his Blues career.
Tipped – by some, at least – as one of the bargains of the 2017 summer transfer window, Sandro Ramirez arrived at Goodison Park to some fanfare and immediately took the fabled No.9 shirt.
The Spaniard struggled from day one and never really adapted to life on Merseyside before he was loaned back to his homeland when Sevilla came calling in January 2018.
Another loan move beckoned in the summer when he joined Real Sociedad. Another reported high earner who Everton will be desperate to finally sell when the window opens.
The out-of-favour Martina joined Feyenoord in the January transfer window and is yet another who is surplus to requirements.
With Leighton Baines and Jonjoe Kenny in reserve at full-back, Martina’s chances of an Everton reprieve are almost non-existent this summer.
The French midfielder is not without pedigree having starred in an upwardly mobile Southampton side before a move to Manchester United, but Schneiderlin is down the pecking order in Silva’s engine room.
Just seven appearances to his name this term, the £25m signing is yet another example of a spendthrift culture that has blighted the Blues’ transfer dealings for too long.
“We are here to help him play in the starting XI in all our matches if he deserves that,” Silva said at the end of December. “We have quality in that position with Gana and Andre and other players.”
Schneiderlin’s last Blues start in the Premier League came against West Ham in September.
Another whose Blues history has been chequered.
Niasse has offered plenty of heart, effort and determination whenever he has stepped out onto the pitch in an Everton shirt. And while some may argue that is more than some of his team-mates, the striker’s lack of quality is ultimately his downfall for a club with ambitions like the Blues.
A £13.5m transfer misstep whose exit could be made permanent should Cardiff remain in the top flight.
Tenacious midfielder is another out on loan and he has earned some favourable reviews during his spell with Middlesbrough in the Championship.
Besic is out of contract in the summer which is likely to signal the end of his five-year career on Merseyside.
Belgian winger frankly admitted he harboured no intention of an Everton return back in October after a loan switch to Fiorentina.
The 31-year-old made almost 130 appearances for Everton and was initially a fan-favourite, before his standing took a hit towards the latter stages of his stay with the Blues.
“Fiorentina is a perfect club for me and the city is great,” he said. “My family and I are in love with Florence.
“Everything is super here and I am ready to show that I am the right person in the right place.”
Such a declaration of love came just over a year after he signed a three-year contract at Everton and claimed: “I want to win a trophy here – this is the best club for me.”
Mirallas will have a year left on his deal when he returns to Goodison in pre-season.
The 34-year-old Williams joined Stoke City on loan last summer.
The signings of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma shoved the Welshman further down the order at Goodison Park and the veteran is now into the final few months of his Blues deal.
His Everton career is effectively over.