New signing Youssef Chermiti was at Goodison Park to watch Everton’s 1-0 defeat by Fulham on Saturday. During the half-time break, the €12.5million (£10.8m; $13.7m) addition from Sporting Lisbon had photos with supporters and shared a brief hug with director of football Kevin Thelwell in the Main Stand.

Even by that stage in proceedings, Chermiti’s new team-mates could have been out of sight. Manager Sean Dyche may have bemoaned the decision to disallow an Everton goal when James Tarkowski was adjudged to have impeded Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno but his side were also ultimately culpable in their own downfall.

Chance after chance had gone begging, with Neal Maupay, one of the players the Portuguese may well replace long-term at Everton, twice spurning golden opportunities to open the score.

Much maligned after a difficult first season on Merseyside, Maupay was not the only culprit on a frustrating afternoon for Dyche’s side. Abdoulaye Doucoure fired too close to man of the match Leno when clean through, while Nathan Patterson struck the bar in front of an open goal at 0-0.

It continued the pattern of last season when wasteful finishing put Everton within half an hour of their first relegation in over 70 years. Only Chelsea underperformed their expected goals (xG) by more, with a difference of 12 between Opta’s model and their actual goals-for column.

Saturday’s season opener was a continuation of that trend, undermining an otherwise positive team display. Admittedly against an undercooked Fulham team without dangerman Aleksandar Mitrovic from the start, Dyche’s side looked fitter, more energetic in the press and better organised than they had done at times last season.

By half-time, they had registered an xG of around two. By the end, that total had risen to just under three, with Sky Sports statistician Matt Cheetham noting that their number was more than any side created in a single Premier League game last season without scoring.

“I thought we played well, a lot of the things we’re working to bring to the performance were there,” Dyche said.

“It was one of the highest chance counts we’ve had since I’ve been here. And a high quality of chance, which has always been one of my things.”

Chermiti was at Goodison Park on Saturday (Photo: Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Once again though, this was a tale of familiar failings coming back to bite. Talismanic striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, absent for much of the last few years, was left out of the squad altogether as he finishes his rehabilitation programme. Arnaut Danjuma, brought in on loan from Villarreal this summer, was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.

“He (Danjuma) knows he needs more base fitness because he missed a lot of pre-season and then got a niggly injury which probably cost him about seven days,” Dyche said. In their absence, Maupay toiled in front of goal again, with Opta attributing 1.35 of Everton’s overall xG total to him.

Striking additions have been a priority for the club in this window — just as they were over winter — but tight finances have thwarted a number of potential deals. It is accepted internally that the signing of Maupay has not worked out and that, in an ideal world, there would be another more experienced option between Calvert-Lewin and the 19-year-old Chermiti. The search for such a player is likely to be a key preoccupation before the close of the window, particularly with Chermiti a work in progress.

“He’s a young player and needs to get Premier League fit,” Dyche said. “He’s a young talent but we have to develop him and remind ourselves he’s a future player.

“If he surprises us and he’s ready straight away, then great. But he’s here to continue learning his game in the Premier League.

“We’re only in the testing phase to see where his body is. We’ll find a mixture of the games programme and get him involved to see where he’s at.”

Everton continue to explore deals for several forward options. They have shown an interest in Paris Saint-Germain striker Hugo Ekitike this window, going as far as to sound out the French club over what he would cost. The numbers fed back gave most at Everton the impression that he would be out of their price range unless something changed significantly.

PSG are thought to value Ekitike at around €35million, while his wages are also prohibitively high. It remains to be seen if the French club lower their demands or if Everton step up their initial interest.

Southampton’s Che Adams has admirers at Goodison Park and represents a more experienced option at Premier League level, while the club also remain interested in deals for Leeds United forwards Wilfried Gnonto and Jack Harrison. The Championship side said in a statement on Friday that the Italian would not be sold despite him indicating a desire to leave — but his team-mate has been of interest since the start of the window.

Wide options are in perilously short supply at present. With Dwight McNeil injured and Danjuma building up his fitness, central midfielder James Garner was tasked with filling in on the right. Strengthening Dyche’s options there and up front already feels essential to Everton’s hopes in the coming season.

“In terms of the way the club is trying to grow, of course you need experience — but also that next level of player that is beginning to grow and come through,” Dyche explained.

“That balance isn’t easy, and the deals have to work. We have to rely on those within the squad because that’s what we are at the moment. If we can affect it, we will, but it’s not an easy situation.”

The aim is to bring players who can help them avoid situations like Saturday — where they cannot convert their dominance into three points.

It felt like a big opportunity missed. The new season may only just be getting off the ground, but the margins were so tight last time out that Everton can ill afford to write off many more before the window is out.

(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)