It doesn’t take a genius to realise that Everton need to sign another striker before the end of the summer transfer window. Wayne Rooney’s return to Goodison Park was emotional but to think that the England man, now 31 years old and coming off the back of his worst ever season, can lead the line on a weekly basis is fairy-tale stuff. Rooney is still capable of doing a job but he is a squad player and Ronald Koeman should be using him sparingly.
Romelu Lukaku’s departure was always going to hurt Everton but his absence will be more noticeable if the Toffees fail to sign another competent forward. Koeman’s side scored 62 Premier League goals last season – Lukaku bagged 25 of those. As a percentage, the Belgian, now plying his trade with Manchester United, scored 42% of Everton’s league goals in the 2016/17 campaign, per ESPN and the current crop of players cannot make up that deficit.
Tick Tock Goes the Transfer Window Clock
Everton have made a number of handy signings so far this summer but another striker is an absolute must. If the Toffees are serious about challenging for the top six, Koeman needs to act quickly. Lukaku was Everton’s top scorer by some distance last season; Ross Barkley, also linked with a move away from Goodison Park this summer, was second with six goals and defender Seamus Coleman was joint-third with four. Whether Koeman wants to admit it or not, a potential goal scoring issue is developing.
Everton have failed to score in the first half in their last 7 games in all competitions. #EFC
— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) July 27, 2017
The real question is, who should Everton sign? Koeman could have gone all in on Arsenal star Olivier Giroud but a move looks unlikely now. The Gunners forward would have been the ideal fit for Everton’s style of play and his record of 69 goals in 164 appearances for Arsenal is impressive to say the least. Giroud has come under regular scrutiny during his stint at the Emirates Stadium and a move to Everton could see the France international regain his best form.
The Toffees, valued at 5/2 to finish in the top six according to betting site Bet Way as of August 7th, were also linked with a move for talented youngster Moussa Dembele. The 21-year-old was outstanding for Celtic last season, notching 32 goals in 49 appearances as Brendan Rodgers’ side won the treble. If Everton acquired Dembele, he would give the Toffees a new dimension in attack – his speed and directness would keep defenders on the back foot. He isn’t world class yet but the potential to mature into a top talent is there.
Ice-Cool Sigurdsson Can Make A Difference
Everton’s latest draw with Sevilla highlighted plenty of issues for Koeman to sort before the end of the transfer window and fans are worried that the current squad is too light. If you believe the media reports, Swansea City and Iceland star Gylfi Sigurdsson looks set to join in the near future and he will give the Toffees some added depth in midfield. One more arrival isn’t enough though and Koeman knows it – the Everton boss has demanded at least two more signings before the window slams shut.
With Sigurdsson and two more, Everton will have spent close to £200 million this summer – and heavy spending like that brings expectation. Should the Toffees hierarchy back Koeman with more money, the Dutchman cannot afford to fail. Seventh place or higher will suffice this season as Everton continue to develop and plan for future success. Building a squad that is capable of challenging against England’s top sides is important but supporters must be patient: these things take time.
If Not Olivier Giroud, Why Not Danny Welbeck?
A few media sources, including Ninety Minutes Online, have reported that Danny Welbeck could join Everton if the Toffees are unable to sign Giroud. The Rooney-Welbeck combination worked well at Manchester United and for England and that familiarity could help Koeman’s men in their pursuit of glory. Is Welbeck good enough to replace Lukaku? No, but he can help fill the void – as can Rooney, Sigurdsson and fellow summer signing Davy Klaassen.
So Mr Koeman, please sign another striker. Acquiring the likes of Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klaassen will help but with all due respect, it’s not enough. Replacing Lukaku with another world class forward isn’t realistic but spending more money is. In today’s game, money talks and Everton must go heavy on a centre forward. If you want quality, you have to pay for it.
Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty
Europa: Thur (18:00); Apollon Limassol at Tsirio Stadium
Premier: Sunday (14:15); Liverpool at Anfield