Now, it seems as if a dark cloud has settled over Goodison Park, as Manager David Moyes is increasingly concerned about the club's lack of activity in the summer transfer market.
"It's now getting to the stage where you are wondering how long it takes for new players to settle," he said. "But I'm not going to turn around and say I am totally confident because you never know what happens. It's not just a new face we need -- it's new faces."
The 46-year-old Scot has been unable to pursue a number of transfer targets because of budgetary constraints. Club chairman Bill Kenwright recently admitted that he doesn't have the resources to compete with the big spending of Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.
"Bill has never attempted to hide the fact that he, personally, does not have the funds to move his club forward to where he and the supporters want it to be and to where they believe it should be -- at the forefront of the English game," a spokesman said.
Adding to the gloom is a recent decision by local government officials to launch a public inquiry into the club's proposed move to a new stadium in Kirkby, which will delay the start of construction on the complex. The $800 million project is meant to attract to foreign investment to the club.
"As far as Bill is concerned the club has been for sale for the last five years. This is nothing new. Bill has always said that he would sell the club if the right people with the right finance came along," an official said. "Self-evidently any club which can boast a stadium which is modern, fit for purpose and capable of expansion does represent a more attractive proposition to potential investors."
For now, Moyes will have to work with the small amount of funds available to him. He's currently pursuing Sporting Lisbon captain Joao Moutinho. The young Portuguese international impressed during the Euro 2008 tournament, but the two clubs have not been able to agree on a transfer fee. Sporting is demanding $40 million for the midfielder.
Meanwhile, Everton is rumored to have offered $6 million for temperamental Newcastle forward Alan Smith and is also trying to sign Real Zaragoza striker Diego Milito on loan.
At the very least, Moyes will be glad to receive some cash for Andy Johnson. The English forward is closing in on a move to Fulham that could be worth up to $26 million. Lee Carsley has already left for Birmingham, while Portuguese Manuel Fernandes and Dane Thomas Gravesen have departed after their loan spells with the club came to an end.
Everton returns to England after a preseason trip to the United States. The club lost, 2-0, to the Chicago Fire before beating the Colorado Rapids, 2-1.