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Ronald Koeman: Everton improvement is impossible in Premier League this year

12 August 2017

The Toffees lost last season's club top striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, and used the money effectively in adding top players, including Rooney.

Rooney has now been involved in 300 Premier League goals - 199 scored himself and 101 assists.

The free-spending Toffees, who have signed Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and the returning Wayne Rooney in this summer window, will host the Potters at Goodison Park.

Ronald Koeman has told Ross Barkley's suitors - including Tottenham - that Everton will not accept a below-market offer for the England worldwide near the end of the transfer window.

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"We know at home that we have that fantastic support and hopefully we can get a good win this Saturday".

"To replace Lukaku is really hard".

Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are out injured and will not feature in the Premier League opener.

Winger Yannick Bolasie (knee) and defenders Seamus Coleman (broken leg) and Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) will miss the start of the campaign with longer-term problems.

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It is hard when you have a good team and a clear philosophy and the plan you want to follow, it is not easy to find the right profile [of player].

This is because four of Everton's first six league fixtures see them face Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Man United, with only the Spurs game taking place at home. They have brought in Kurt Zouma on loan and Darren Fletcher but they look weaker heading into this campaign. The additions should make the team much stronger than before.

For Stoke, Mark Hughes opts for a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Saido Berahino picked to lead the line with support from Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic. This side plays some attractive football and they have done well in the past few seasons so I am interested in seeing how they play.

Hughes, meanwhile, will hope that his side can spring an opening day upset and get themselves off to a better start than last season when it took them until October to register their first league win.

Stoke's only Premier League opening day victory came in 2009, seeing off newly promoted Burnley (D3 L5).

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Ronald Koeman: Everton improvement is impossible in Premier League this year