Ronald Koeman should abandon Everton to take the Netherlands top job
Everton has had a poor start to this season. Awful, boring, clueless a few words to describe Ronald Koeman's side. Is it time for the Dutch manager to move on, with the Netherlands his next destination?
The Toffees languish 16th in the Premier League table, losing half of their eight games. There's no sign of a turnaround. Everton's summer spending has also been questioned, and rightly so. Romelu Lukaku's departure left a gaping hole which hasn't been adequately addressed yet.
Most recently, only salvaging a draw away at Brighton proves how far Everton's standards have dropped from last season. Unless the situation quickly changes, Ronald Koeman will be out of a job before Christmas.
How could something that was so good, turn so bad?
It's a simple answer: poor choices. Financially, selling the club's top goalscorer meant a massive windfall. Failing to identify suitable replacements, however, could cost the Toffees boss his position. Koeman raided Ajax to sign Davy Klaassen in summer, but he should've purchased another talented attacker from his former club in Kasper Dolberg. That duo would have worked better than Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney.
Additionally, Everton's frontline currently has no pace. Gerard Deulofeu's return to Catalonia left the Merseysiders with just one fit out-and-out winger in Kevin Mirallas. Also, purchasing slow attacking midfielders in last transfer window has left the side short of speed in a crucial area. The pragmatic, non-adventurous style has been noted by many football pundits.
The Toffees defence is equally laboured. With a three-man set-up, which lacks defensive positioning and genuine pace, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford are being cruelly exposed.
The team's problems have had a significant impact. Koeman's win percentage at Everton is the second worse of his career (played 56, won 24: 43%). At clubs where he's lasted more than one year, this is his worst record. The Dutchman must find a quick solution. Whether that's for Everton or himself remains to be seen.
A Dutch homecoming?
A new Oranje generation needs ushering in. Having played a crucial role in his nation's only tournament winning side (1988 European Championships), Koeman's return would inspire. Whereas the current Netherlands manager, Dick Advocaat, has failed miserably in that regard.
As the likes of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, and Wesley Sneijder disappear from the international scene, younger players full of optimism must carry the Oranje torch. With 23-year-old Memphis Depay having a big role to play in the Dutch rebuilding process.
Koeman's functionality while at Southampton is what Dutch football now craves. The job won't be time-consuming over next six months as the Netherlands failed to qualify for 2018 World Cup, meaning a new manager would have longer to implement ideas. Despite recently refuting claims, Ronald Koeman is the perfect candidate to improve his national team's fortunes.
What would Koeman do?
Koeman likes his sides to be unflappable at the back. The Oranje already has a fairly solid spine - Virgil van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij would form the central defensive partnership, with Kevin Strootman anchoring midfield; possibly alongside two players who Koeman has previously signed in Jordy Clasie and Klaassen. By using Roma's Strootman as the midfield pivot, triangles can be played among those five players.
Since Louis Van Gaal's departure in July 2014, the Oranje have been in rapid decline. It began with a fourth-place finish in the Euro 2016 qualifying group, behind the Czech Republic, Iceland and Turkey. Further misery followed. The Dutch national side failed to qualify for next year's World Cup, losing out to France and Sweden.
The Netherlands is in desperate need of a manager who will command authority. Someone who won't stand for Ruud Gullit's antics. As a former Dutch international, now with over ten years of managerial experience, Ronald Koeman is the right man to ensure progression.