Everton pinning leap up the table on Premier League veterans

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Ashley Williams is the latest man through the Everton door this summer, signing for the Toffees for a rumoured £12m fee on a three-year contract.

The former Swansea captain will turn 32 in the first month of the new Premier League season and his arrival gives a clear indication of the Merseysiders’ priorities under Ronald Koeman.

The club could have plumped for a young centre-half that can develop and become a long-term fixture at Goodison Park. Instead, they went for a defender with an impressive body of work, built over five top-flight seasons, that can slot straight in.

Considering the club have just sold the one centre-back in their squad that met the first profile – sending John Stones to Manchester City for a cool £47.5m – the change in mentality is an intriguing one.

Stones, for all his natural ability as a footballer, divided opinion on his primary role in the team; defending. By comparison, few talking heads ever question Williams’ capacity to halt the opposition.

In all of the Toffees’ transfer business this summer Premier League experience has been the key feature.

Williams has it an abundance and the other two arrivals, Idrissa Gueye and Maarten Stekelenburg, are by no means top-flight newbies either.

Even the players Koeman is rumoured to be chasing hold the same common denominator.

Lamine Kone may have only arrived at Sunderland in January, but settled quickly and was a key figure in the Black Cats’ survival.

Yannick Bolasie, thought to be closing in on a £25m Goodison switch, has played over 2000 minutes in each of the three seasons that Crystal Palace have been back in the top tier.

After consecutive 11th-place finishes led to Koeman’s arrival in the dugout, there appears to be little time for the Dutchman to take a slow, rebuilding approach to climbing the standings.

Instead, signing stars that are accustomed to the division and can help make a sudden ascent is the clear strategy.

We make Everton 7/2 to land in the top six this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.