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Everton are still looking to sign Swansea's talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson, who have valued the Iceland worldwide at £50m.

In truth, we'll probably have a decent idea of how realistic this ambition is, by the end of September. "That is what we would like to show to everybody. If all the big ones are really strong and doing what they need, it is very hard".

Koeman added: "I still believe he will make the move". That record should not inspire a lot of confidence heading into this fixture, especially if we consider that Everton have improved vastly compared to last season.

The downside for Everton has been the loss of top scorer Romelu Lukaku to United - albeit in a deal potentially worth B£90m - while the future of midfielder Ross Barkley remains uncertain.

Rooney and fellow new signing Sandro Ramirez (formerly of Malaga) will lead the attack for the Toffees.

"It is hard to replace Romelu Lukaku", he said in Thursday's press conference.

"A lot of cleverness on the pitch and a great goal and a great header. That's encouraging for us, we know we're a good side with good players, we just need a little bit more of a cutting edge and that ability to take chances if they are few and far between in games which it was today".

Rooney still seems to be getting back to his top fitness level and with tough tests to come against Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, as well as a two-legged Europa League first-round play-off tie against Hajduk Split, he is sure to be tested to the max. But he will not be considered for the Premier League opener against Stoke City today, having had only two sessions. The best proof of that is their activity in the transfer market, as they stand pat with the exception of acquiring Bruno Martins Indi and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

It was at Malaga, the club that he represented in the last season that the player truly caught the eye of the pundits and fans with his performances.

"To play for this football club again is a huge deal for me", Rooney told Sky Sports.

"My understanding is it's very close", said Hughes. I think that all bodes well for the games we have ahead of us.

It's what they have lost that is troubling.

Everton will hope to get off to a good start at home as they seek to finally qualify for the Champions League. "We are looking forward to getting started".


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