Over the weekend and into Monday, rumours of potential interest from German giants Hamburg has developed into confirmed interest in Everton’s Nikica Jelavic.
Jelavic is a classic case of second season syndrome. After bursting onto the scene in the second half of the 2011/12 season, Jelavic struggled to recapture the same form of his first full season at the club, scoring only 7 league goals in 37 appearances, compared with 9 in 13 the previous year. There are many theories put forward for the decline in form of the Croatian hitman, but for me, the way he was treated and portrayed by David Moyes was the biggest factor behind his drop in form.
It was in the early stages of last season when David Moyes criticised the form of Jelavic, deciding to go public with concerns over the former Rangers strikers’ sharpness in front of goal. Bizarrely, Jelavic has just struck the winning goal against Sunderland to take his goal tally for the season to 5 from 10 Premier League games, a not too shabby return by anyone’s standards. Speaking to evertontv after the match Moyes raised concerns over the form of his centre forward; an extract of the article is included below.
Moyes was also buoyed to see striker Jelavic end a three-game hunt for a goal after admitting the former Rangers man was out of form following last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Fulham.
“He didn’t have a good game but I can tell you a lot of centre-forwards who don’t have good games and still score goals, and we’ll live with that,” he said. “You don’t want to take your goalscorers off, especially when you’re a goal down – you want to try to find a way through. We hoped that something might drop to him and I’m sure that goal will help him.”
Those comments sparked a run of just 1 goal in the next 19 Premier League matches with Jelavic clearly suffering a crisis of confidence following a very public dressing down from his manager. I am not one for criticising a manager and I am sure David Moyes thought long and hard before making those comments to the media, but on this occasion he failed to recognise the delicate psyche of one of his key players.
Nikica Jelavic is a talented goalscorer and players with such a natural instinct in front of goal are in short supply. His record since move to Britain has been phenomenal, 30 goals in 45 league appearances for Rangers and then 16 in 50 for the Toffees, 9 of those goals coming in the first 13 league appearances for the Blues. It is hard to disagree with those who say he has looked far from a natural goalscorer in the last 20 matches, but many of the world’s best strikers have endured a baron spell, when short of confidence.
At £6 million his value is as low as it will realistically fall and at that price, Everton will struggle to sign a striker of equal ability. Under Martinez Everton’s tactical approach will be significantly different, with Jelavic, Kone and Anichebe battling for the central striking birth in a progressive forward line, accompanied by quick paced and direct wingers. Selling Jelavic now would be a huge mistake and unless Hamburg significantly raise the stakes, Everton should do all they can to keep the Croatian at Goodison next season.