Frank Lampard says it is “vital” Everton recruit shrewdly to improve on last season’s fight in the Premier League’s lower reaches.
Manager Lampard was barely in his post when the winter trading window closed, albeit he completed two deals in advance of a tense climax to the campaign.
Everton reported for pre-season training on Monday, one month before Chelsea visit Goodison Park for the opening game of 2022/23.
Lampard’s team secured their top-flight status with one game to spare in May after claiming 14 points from a rush of eight matches in six weeks.
“Recruitment – and who goes out – is a huge part of any football club,” Lampard told evertonfc.com.
“Particularly when you are a manager who comes in mid-season.
“The transfer window shut one day after I joined, so you work with the players you have straight away.
“But when you look forward, you think about how you can strengthen in different areas, ‘How would this look?’.
“It is vital to get that right.
“It will be a big challenge for me and the Club… to make sure we go in the right direction, because it is clear we don’t want to be fighting relegation and recruitment will be a big part of that."
Lampard began forming tentative transfer plans during his opening months in the job.
The gravity of Everton’s situation, however, dictated the majority of time was given over to ensuring a successful battle against relegation.
Equally, Lampard’s results-first mantra prevented the former Chelsea boss and his staff from starting work in earnest on a long-term playing style.
Lampard didn’t abandon thoughts of the future altogether, however. And a five-week pre-season creates an opening to grow the germs of ideas that began taking shape last term.
“I think about it [identity of his Everton team] every day.” said Lampard. "This job is like that and demands you think that way.
“Because of our situation at the end of the season, the now was so important and consumed a lot of time.
“But you learn a lot about the players every day.
“You see how you want to tweak the team and get where you want to be – to what would feel a team I love seeing and coaching; a team the fans love seeing, which is so important.
“We are a unique club and I have to understand what the fans want and give them at least the basics of that, because those core demands are the same as mine."
Everton have tied down a succession of Under-21 players to new deals in recent weeks, while Lampard finished last season by handing 18-year-old midfielder Isaac Price a debut off the bench at Arsenal.
A host of the Club’s youngsters trained with Lampard’s First Team, too.
There is a recognition from Lampard of the developmental benefits for inexperienced players routinely rubbing shoulders with their seniors.
As a man who launched his illustrious career on loan with Swansea City in the third tier, though, Lampard is keen on a portion of the emerging generation gaining competitive experience elsewhere.
“The case for every young player is different,” said Lampard.
“As a club, we have to find a balance between having a strong academy, in terms of the teams we put out, because we are Everton, they have to stay strong – but also thinking about the important part of every player’s personal development and whether can they make the First Team.
“In most cases, the best route is to go out and play. Most players can really benefit from going away and playing football on loan, in the Championship and, sometimes, in foreign leagues.
“I am very open to that.
“Unless we feel their development is best served here in the Academy, or they are touching the First Team – sometimes you want players training with you daily, so you feel you can affect them here – it can be the right time to go out.
“We – myself and Kevin Thelwell [Director of Football] – will be very ‘on’ those situations.”