Currently sitting in 7th place in the Premier League table, three points behind 6th placers Manchester United, Everton are a team who have quietly gone about their business in the league, slowly building momentum under new manager Marco Silva.

Silva has done a remarkable job of making Everton’s defence more solid over the summer. He added Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne to the squad on permanent deals, while also securing Kurt Zouma on a loan deal from Chelsea. These defensive additions have proven worthwhile. The Toffees have thus far only conceded 17 goals in the league this season, with only four teams having conceded fewer.

There was a time when Everton were challenging for a spot in the Champions League. Back in the 2004/05 season, when David Moyes was manager, the club reached fourth place in the Premier League. They finished three points above arch-rivals Liverpool, securing a spot in Europe’s most prestigious competition.

Top six finishes were a regular occurrence under Moyes and the club’s fans always craved more. Since Moyes’ tenure, the club have been unable to find consistency in the league and Everton have only finished in the top six once since the Scotsman’s departure.

Step in Marco Silva, the former Watford boss who has already introduced new players, like the £35 million Brazilian Richarlison, who also joined from Watford. Fellow Brazilian Bernard also joined the club and Andre Gomes was signed on a loan deal from Barcelona. Everton’s transfer dealings were looking good.

As the clubs around them continue to suffer from indifferent form, Everton continue to pick up valuable points. They could easily finish in a Europa League qualifying place. For them to be included in the Champions League odds anytime in the near future is likely to take a miracle given the clubs they’ll be competing against.

Marco Silva seems to have an eye for talent though, and this could serve Everton well in the near future. Even if the club reluctantly let go of Richarlison, chances are they will make a substantial profit which they can then reinvest into the playing squad.

Signings from high profile clubs like Barcelona and Chelsea will help Everton to progress further than they have done over the last decade. But it might be a while before they see themselves back in the Champions League. In Silva they have a manager with great potential and if they can hold on to him, as well as Richarlison, then the club too has great potential.

Everton’s remaining December fixtures include defending champions Manchester City, who will be looking to overtake Everton’s arch-rivals Liverpool, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion. Everton should be looking for maximum points in at least two of those games, while they can hope to take a point from either City or Spurs.

After the busy Christmas period we will have a clearer idea as to where Everton will finish and should they start to drop down the table. Then Silva may look to the January transfer window to strengthen his squad prior to the end of the season.