In Everton’s top six heyday under David Moyes, their success was built on a stingy, combative back line, which makes the haphazard nature of their defensive performances in the current campaign all the more painful.
Even the arch pragmatist Sam Allardyce has been unable to turn Ashley Williams and Michael Keane into a half-decent centre-back pairing. As a result, Everton have the fifth worst defensive record in the Premier League this season.
And, if you believe Everton fans, signing Phil Jones from Manchester United in the summer will not go far to solving the problem that started under Roberto Martinez and has got worse season on season.
But considering the injury-prone Jones has never started more than 26 games in a league season in eight years at United, and remains capable of the most schoolboy errors, it is understandable that Everton fans are feeling a little underwhelmed.
Jones has plenty of talent and time to improve but, in truth, this transfer smacks of a lack of ambition and imagination. Another reason, then, for Everton to give Big Sam the big boot come the end of the campaign.
#EFC tenuously linked with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones & Jack Wilshere. Do we ever learn our lesson buying top 6 cast offs? (With the exception of a few)— David Downie (@daviddownie17) March 14, 2018
Jack Wilshire and Phil Jones as if this season could get any worse! #EFC— Phil Clarke (@Clarke17EFC) March 14, 2018
Everton are rumoured to want to sign Phil Jones if Sam Allardyce remains as manager next season.— Bradley Cates (@Bradley_Cates) March 14, 2018
If that's not enough motivation to sack Allardyce, I don't know what is. #EFC
Vardy, Wheelchair, Jones. I could do Steve Walsh’s job from my sofa #efc— Richard Cohen (@Mr_C_78) March 14, 2018
Please god no— Marc (@marcp72) March 14, 2018
Steve Walsh unearthing an unknown gem again— Ian (@ianarm75) March 14, 2018
Yet another reason to get rid of him lol— Robbie Leatherbarrow (@rwl140172) March 14, 2018
No. Just no. Can we just play with 10 instead.— Mr Black, Dies... (@Andgenuflect) March 14, 2018
Let’s get him sacked soon then— Matt (@portsmj) March 14, 2018