With Everton likely to miss out on a European place again, are the club's limitations impossible to overcome in the foreseeable future?
The rumours concerning David Moyes’ future will remain until he either signs a new contract with Everton or leaves Goodison Park for good.
But in their four remaining games this season, the Toffees may prove what their manager is all too aware of.
Some limitations are possible to overcome. But others remain steadfast and problematic. In the case of Everton, their limitation is as prominent as ever.
Because as brilliantly as they have done this season, they are still likely to fall short of the Holy Grail of Champions League football.
And no matter how well they performed this time round, it is in many ways the story of their every recent campaign.
Having finally eradicated their habit of starting a season poorly and playing catch-up thereafter, this was hailed as Everton’s year; where finally they could secure a top-four finish and put to bed the spectre of their controversial 2005 play-off against Villarreal.
But it is Tottenham who have taken the mantle of gate-crashers, while Everton have fallen short.
Draws away to Arsenal and Spurs are impressive but not quite impressive enough, while last weekend’s defeat to Sunderland has ended whatever slim chance Moyes had of taking his side into the top four.
Their remaining four games are a tale of two halves, with home matches they should win and away matches they will do well to.
Should Everton manage to secure a Europa League place, it may show their manager they are still heading in the right direction; that he hasn’t taken them as far as they can go.
But should they fall short, Moyes may look at the sides above them and wonder if he can ever usurp them.
He said himself that his side needs rejuvenation. He mentioned youth and the need for at least five new players.
But until the day a new owner revitalises Everton the way others have revitalised their rivals, the third-longest-serving manager in the top flight may have to settle for being the best of the rest.
His side have been great for much of this season. That isn’t the concern.
The worry is that others have been better, too many others. And should they continue their slip in what remains of the season, Moyes may try his luck elsewhere.
It won’t be a decision he makes lightly. And he may decide to attempt what with each passing year seems a more difficult task.
But Everton are becoming the nearly-men of the Premier League. Something that many would give anything for, but something that may prove to be the parting of the ways for Moyes and the club he has guided so well.
Is this Moyes' last season in charge at Goodison Park? And if so, what next for the club?
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