"The size of the squad has to be at least, including goalkeepers, 23-25," Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday afternoon.
"Not more. In this moment we have more players than 25 but I think we can find a solution until the end of the market."
The actual squad size, right now, is 32.
Down on the 38 players Marcel Brands and Marco Silva inherited two summers ago, but still too many. In short, players have to go.
And if Ancelotti hopes to add more new faces to his squad before the transfer window shuts next month, then even more will need to be shifted out.
Signing Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez now looks like being the easy part. With just over two weeks of the main transfer window left, the hard work intensifies.
It complicates, too, if you add in any remaining requests over incomings that Ancelotti may have.
So let's break it down. Who's in the 25 and who could be for the chop?
The following list is based on players who have already played this season, or who would've most likely been in the frame to, had they not been injured.
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Lossl, Virginia (3)
Defenders: Coleman, Kenny, Keane, Mina, Holgate, Branthwaite, Digne, Nkounkou (8)
Midfielders: Allan, Doucoure, Gomes, Gbamin, Delph, Sigurdsson, Davies (7)
Attacking midfielders: Rodriguez, Gordon, Bernard, Iwobi, Walcott (5)
Forwards: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Kean (3)
That list contains 26 names.
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Already, Ancelotti is over his own limit. And when you start adding in the manager's desire to add another centre-back, albeit on loan, then the job of moving players out becomes greater again.
So what about the players, not on that list, but who have been training with the first-team since pre-season?
That list contains: Besic, Bolasie, Sandro, Tosun, Baningime and Gibson. Youngsters such as Ellis Simms, Kyle John and Dennis Adeniran, we'll discount for the purposes of the discussion.
Gibson is being lined up for a loan to Huddersfield, so there's one player less off the list, and Baningime was, before a deal to Blackpool fell through. His next step is uncertain.
So just to get the current squad to Ancelotti's desired 25, Gibson, Baningime, Besic, Bolasie, Tosun and Sandro will have to be moved on AND one more.
Cenk Tosun is still not fit, we can't forget.
You then complicate matters by wanting to add a defender on loan - possibly Fikayo Tomori - and that becomes two of the active playing squad that must go.
Things get even more complex if the Everton boss asks for even more new faces. A right-winger or even a striker, perhaps. Three and four of that squad would have to find new clubs.
The Premier League's main transfer window closes on October 5 yet Ancelotti, confidently, said on Friday: "I think we can find a solution until the end of the market."
It all comes back to a conversation we had on this page a few weeks ago over the club's wage bill and how something - or somebody, more to the point - would have to give.
So, ultimately, does a new club have to be found for Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson or Bernard, for example, in order for Ancelotti to head into the derby on October 17 with a squad he is really happy with?
He, so far, says the squad is "good" and "competitive". Allan, Doucoure and Rodriguez have made an instant impact and that will only strengthen Ancelotti's position if he wanted to add more of his targets to the squad before the deadline.
But, the problem is, the manager's squad limit.
Adding to it was the easy part, taking parts away less so. Everton felt like they had to adapt to the market and secure Ancelotti's targets as soon as they became available, and focus on offloading players after, when they had planned to do it the other way around.
We're at that point now. But a difficult task has been complicated by the need to still add a player(s) at the same time.
It promises to be a busy couple of weeks.