Everton confirmed Sean Dyche as their manager on Monday and set about trying to strengthen his squad by making a bid worth up to £45m for Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and pursuing the Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Other clubs are interested in Gallagher, who was part of England’s World Cup squad in Qatar and has started nine Premier League games this season, including the past two against Crystal Palace and Liverpool. Everton’s offer is £40m with the rest in add-ons. It is unlikely the 22-year-old will want a move to Goodison Park.
Everton have not made a signing this month but Anthony Gordon’s sale to Newcastle has released funds and the 20-year-old Sulemana, a member of Ghana’s World Cup squad, is another target.
Dyche has said Everton need everybody aligned in their fight for Premier League survival after being appointed on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
He was confirmed as Frank Lampard’s replacement having emerged as the frontrunner when talks with Marcelo Bielsa, the first choice of the owner, Farhad Moshiri, broke down. The 51-year-old takes over a team who have won once in 12 Premier League games and are joint-bottom. He also takes over a divided club, where supporters are calling for Moshiri to sack his board after years of mismanagement.
Dyche, the eighth permanent manager of the Moshiri era, has called for all parties to work together to help preserve the club’s 69-year top flight status. He said: “It is tougher times. All I can ask for is a bit of a breather because I know there is a lot going on but we need the fans, we need unity and we need to be aligned from right the way through the ownership, right the way through me, the staff, into the team and out to the people.
“Anyone can take the wheel of a ship in calm waters, but it’s not calm waters at the minute. You have to earn the right and it’s my job to earn the right. It is not a given. We have to make sure people are getting something.”
The former Burnley manager, who has been out of work for nine months, added: “Hopefully, with hard work from myself, my staff and the players we can reignite the passion of the fans. It is still there. You have seen it. We need a chance to find that alignment, that’s a really important thing, and that starts with the team and me as the manager.
“We’ve got to give the fans something so they can start regripping hold of the club through the team. That’s what I’m going to be working to. It starts with hard graft. The connection with the fans can grow very quickly because they are very passionate, but we’ve got to give them something to be passionate about.
“We want to change the shape of this club going forward, remodel it in our style, but in a way that we can win. That’s the task in front of us – make sure we’re building, tactically and technically, giving players organisation, allow them the freedom to play, to go and enjoy their football because it’s brilliant when the team’s playing with a smile, but we’ve got to win.”
Dyche has been joined by his former Burnley backroom team of assistant manager Ian Woan, first-team coach Steve Stone and sports scientist Mark Howard. His first game will be against the league leaders, Arsenal, at Goodison Park on Saturday
“There is quality in this squad, but we have to make them shine,” he said. “I have played against these players and I know some of them personally. There is quality. There is not that much wrong, not as much as you think. Sometimes, the lines between success and failure in football seem massive, but there are some good things here and now it is about adapting to what is already here and how I think we can make it work better than it has been.”
Dyche held talks with Everton’s director of football, Kevin Thelwell, last week and visited the club’s Finch Farm training ground over the weekend while his contract was being finalised.
Everton’s chairman, Bill Kenwright, a target for the fans’ protests, said: “Kevin and I spent some valuable time with Sean over the past few days and he quickly convinced me that he has exactly the right attributes to make himself a great Everton manager – and a man who could inspire our fanbase. And Farhad felt the same when he met him, too.”