African News Agency


ONE manager in the English Premier League who has his work cut out this season is Frank Lampard. The Englishman is one of the candidates to be sacked, according to many bookies. While the season has not even started, there are indications that Liverpool’s bitter Merseyside rivals will face several challenges in the coming months. The Toffees were surprisingly in the relegation scrap last season. What’s more is that they have lost the player who potentially saved them from the drop last season – Richarlison. The Brazilian was the top scorer for Everton last term with 11 goals and has since joined Tottenham. Granted, surprises do happen and Lampard fans don’t have to lose hope just yet. At the same time last year, many tipped Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira to potentially be the first to be sacked. The Frenchman inherited a Palace side that was in a less than ideal position following the departure of Roy Hodgson. Moreover, the Eagles side last season was very young and inexperienced. Instead, Vieira got the most out of his squad, unearthing a gem in Conor Gallagher who has since rejoined parent club Chelsea. In the end, Palace were competitive and earned a respectable 12th place finish which was relatively good for Vieira considering the state of his squad when he arrived. Everton’s transfer activity has also hardly been inspiring. At the time of writing, they had only brought in three significant signings in James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil and Rúben Vinagre. Tarkowski and McNeil joined from Burnley who were relegated last season while Vinagre arrived on loan from Sporting Lisbon. Usually touted as a potential challenger for European football, Everton need to set realistic priorities this season. They cannot expect Lampard to win them European football with the squad they have. A more realistic target would be to aim to comfortably avoid the drop this season and to play a positive brand of football. This will also be a strong test of Lampard’s man management skills and how he negotiates the months ahead could determine how his managerial career goes in future. Should he overachieve with the current side, he could go on to win trophies in future. If he ends up getting the sack early, his career in management could be rather average. If the worst happens to Everton next season, it will however not be Lampard’s fault. He inherited a squad which had been underachieving over many years due to poor recruitment under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri. With all his flaws, former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was clearly passionate about football, something Moshiri does not appear to be as he is rarely seen at Everton matches. This also explains how he has gone on to sanction the appointment of recruitment staff and board members who have clearly not been delivering.