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

Are 8 good players better than 1 Lukaku?

Everton have enjoyed a positive head-to-head record against the Potters too.

But the manager concedes that, for all Everton's shrewd business, it may only allow them to stand still, at least in terms of league position.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has claimed that his side need to bring in another striker if they are to break into the Premier League top six this season.

While the Irishman has returned to training after missing out on the last pre-season game against Sevilla due to a knee knock, he's being left out of Saturday's matchday squad as a precautionary measure.

He's a very clever player who will score goals and bring his teammates into the game. They have brought in Kurt Zouma on loan and Darren Fletcher but they look weaker heading into this campaign. "We are looking forward to getting started".

United put all their eggs in a Europa League-shaped basket last season and it paid off as Mourinho led the club back into the Champions League with a 2-0 final win over Ajax.

The striker looks to have the physicality and keen eye for goal to thrive in the Premier League, but does he have the right mentality?

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"A hard game, Stoke City is always a battle", he remarked. His last win was in 2009 as Manchester City manager.

"If not, he is a player of Everton and if he shows to me he is one of the best then it is possible he can start, like everyone else".

Veteran Stoke striker Peter Crouch has been involved in 10 goals against Everton in his Premier League career (six goals, four assists) - only against Aston Villa (11) has he been involved in more.

Everton are ready to do their talking on the pitch after a summer in which they have made the size of their ambitions clear.

"They've got a good side and they've spent money from letting good players go, perhaps similar to Southampton a couple of years ago. I heard some rumours that the talks broke down but we are still in negotiations with Swansea".

Having said that I'm backing them to kick the season off with a win against a Stoke side I fear will struggle having lost Marko Arnautovic to West Ham.

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