‘I worry’ - Paul Merson makes ‘big struggle’ Everton claim amid transfer ‘problem’

The pundit has expressed his concern for the Toffees this season.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has claimed that Everton could be in for a “big struggle” this season if they are to avoid another Premier League relegation battle.

The Toffees narrowly beat the drop last term after a spirited run of form in the latter stages of the campaign, but lost their 2022/23 opening day fixture against Chelsea seven days ago.

This summer, Frank Lampard has moved to reinforce his defensive line with the additions of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski, while Dwight McNeil and Amadou Onana have also arrived for considerable amounts of money.

But speaking on Sky Sports ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s clash against Aston Villa, Merson suggested that Everton are still lacking in genuine quality, and believes that they could be in for a difficult season.

He said: “I think Frank is right up against it this season at Everton. I think he did great to keep them up last year, but I think they’re in for a big struggle this season.

“I worry for Everton - a couple of injuries again, if they lose today.

“It’s hard to be a top, top manager, you need top, top players. Let’s be honest, they don’t have top, top players. Maybe one or two.”

Likewise, former Scotland striker Kris Boyd criticised the Toffee’s lack of depth in attacking areas, with first choice centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin currently sidelined due to a knee injury.

He said: “You can sign all the defenders you want. You know that in this league, with the quality of opposition, you need to score goals to win a game of football - that’s just a fact, obviously.

“I don’t see where Everton have improved going forward.

“You look at Dwight McNeil. He did unbelievable at Burnley, but he’s not someone who is going to come in and get you even 10 goals a season, is he? He might create, but who is going to create for?

“I think even when you saw the game last week, Anthony Gordon is someone who I think is a really good player, but it was unnatural for him to be in that position.

“You just get the feeling that Everton are not going to score a lot of goals, and it’s up to Frank to solve that problem.”