After last season's seventh-place finish and qualification for the Europa League, Ronald Koeman had vowed to strengthen his squad early this summer.
Everton's need to complete their transfer business early was made even more important after the 2017/18 Premier League fixture list was released on Wednesday morning and pitted Everton against four of last year's top-six teams in their opening five games.
Less than 48 hours later the Blues had spent more on transfers in one day than they had in any other transfer window in the club's history.
The signings of Sunderland's Jordan Pickford for a club-record fee and Ajax's Davey Klaassen for a fee of £23.6 million is a sign of the club's ambition and intent. And there will no doubt be more new signings to follow too.
'Pickford could be Everton's number one for the next 10 years'
Everton's decision to pay Sunderland a club-record fee of £30 million to sign goalkeeper Jordan Pickford may have raised a few eyebrows, especially considering he is a goalkeeper with just one full Premier League season behind him. After all, the price tag makes the 23-year-old the third most expensive goalkeeper ever and the most expensive British goalkeeper. But the deal could prove to be great business for the Blues.
The goalkeeping position was a weakness Ronald Koeman knew he had to solve this summer; neither Joel Robles or Maarten Stekelenburg inspired confidence following indifferent campaigns last season and neither are seen as a long-term option. The signing of Pickford not only sees the Blues capture a highly-regarded young goalkeeper who has already made a mark on the Premier League, but a goalkeeper who has the potential to be Everton's number one for the next 10 years.
Still only age 23, Pickford has established himself as one of the finest young goalkeepers during his 18 months in the Sunderland first team. And, despite a dismal campaign for David Moyes' side that ended in relegation from the top-flight, Pickford still managed to impress at the Stadium of Light.
Critics may point to Sunderland's defensive record, which saw the Black Cats concede 69 goals last season, while Pickford only managed to keep four clean sheets all season. However, the England Under-21 international enhanced his reputation as a highly-regarded young goalkeeper as his impressive saves and displays were as vital in prolonging the Black Cats' fight until the end of April as the goals of the vastly experienced Jermain Defoe.
Pickford's performances clearly caught the eye of Koeman and the Everton scouting network. He made 135 saves last season, more saves per game than any other goalkeeper, while no Premier League player created more chances from inside the defensive third (four). His performances saw him named Sunderland's 'Player of the Year' for the 2016/17 campaign in addition to being nominated for last season's PFA Young Player of Year award.
The 23-year-old has already shown that not only does he possess potential, but he is already a high-performing Premier League star, hence Koeman and Everton's director of football Steve Walsh being happy to part with a club-record see to secure Pickford's services.
'Klaassen will add another dimension to the Blues'
If the signing of Jordan Pickford wasn't enough to bring delight to Everton supporters on Thursday afternoon, they were treated to another addition late on Thursday evening. The Blues completed the £24 million signing of Ajax captain and attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen to take their total spending spree on Thursday to £54 million.
Koeman was keen to add more productivity to his side this summer and Klaassen certainly fits the bill. The attacking midfielder will add energy, creativity and goals to the Everton midfield; qualities that at times were lacking for the Blues last season.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gana Gueye have both impressed since moving to Goodison Park last summer, but both midfielders are better-suited playing in the combative role in front of the defence rather than an attacking or creative role. 18-year-old Tom Davies has also impressed since breaking into the first-team, but he is another player who enjoys breaking-up play and distributing the ball, rather than a natural creative player.
After the 26 goals which Romelu Lukaku scored last season, Ross Barkley's tally of six was Everton’s next highest goals total for the 2015/16 campaign. Barkley was also the Blues highest assist maker with nine. And for a team, who hope to build on their seventh-place finish from last season, being unable to spread goals and assists around the side is a concern and a problem that Koeman was always going to be keen to address this summer.
Klaassen is a player who has shown he is dangerous going forward; having been involved in 43 goals in his last 63 Eredivisie games for Ajax. The attacking midfielder improved on his 15-goal tally from the 2015/16 campaign last season, scoring 19 goals and assisting a further nine from midfield in all competitions. Not only is the Dutch midfielder impressive going forward, but he's tenacious and has shown his leadership qualities, having been the Ajax captain for the last two seasons.
A sign of Everton's intent and ambition with more signings to follow
The signings of Pickford and Klaassen are a statement of Everton's intent and ambition; not only because of the money spent on bringing the pair to Goodison Park, but also the type of players Koeman has brought into strengthen his side.
The goalkeeping situation and the team's productivity were two areas where Koeman wanted to improve and the club acted quickly to sign Pickford and Klaassen. In Pickford, the Blues have got a highly-regarded young goalkeeper as their new number one, who has the potential to be at Everton for a decade and beyond. Outfield, Klaassen will be instrumental in the middle and final third of the pitch as he adds another dimension to Everton's midfield; creating chances and goals, while he also has an eye for goal himself.
If reports are to be believed then more signings are set to follow Pickford and Klaassen through the Goodison door this summer. Everton have also been strongly linked with a £16million move for AC Milan striker M'Baye Niang. The 22-year-old had a spell on loan in the Premier League at Watford last season. The club's director of football Steve Walsh was seen in Milan on Wednesday as the former Leicester City chief pursues a selection of high-profile Everton transfer targets.
The Toffees are also awaiting a decision from Malaga's striker Sandro Ramirez, who has reportedly held talks with clubs officials, while Burnley defender Michael Keane and Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson are also believed to be targets.