Previous contributor, Harry Hamling is back with his views on the Everton goal scoring crisis that is threatening to derail a promising season. Do you agree with Harry’s view or do you remain hopeful that Roberto and Bill have a long-term plan in mind to return the Blues to past glories?
In recent games for Everton Football Club, there has been a lot of what could have happened and what should have happened, instead of what actually happened. Coming off the back of two heartbreaking 1-0 losses to Tottenham and Chelsea after periods of dominance by Everton, the question on fans and pundits lips are, “Why can Everton not turn this possession into goals and wins?”. The simple answer is, they do not have a proven, match-fit goal-scoring striker. For the first part of the season, their answer up front was Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku who began the season with a 1 in 2 scoring record, but after scoring his last goal in late December and picking up an injury in Everton’s loss to Liverpool, the Belgian has not been the answer to Everton’s goal-scoring problem.
In January, the pressure was on manager Roberto Martinez to bring in a striker to replace Lukaku for the long-term, as Lukaku is only on loan until May when the season ends. Martinez’s answer to this was bringing in Monaco and Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore on loan until the end of the season. While this did please the fans as the club had acquired another striker, it was once again on loan, like so many of Everton’s star players this season (Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barry). The issue with bringing in so many loan players who start the majority of games is how is the club going to perform next year when these players go back to their parent clubs? Will Everton ever spend any money, or will it just be year after year of loan signings? How will we build a team whose core changes every 12 months? These are all questions Everton fans are asking and have so far received no answer back from the club’s board of directors or owner Bill Kenwright. After the £27.5 million sale of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United and the two £6 million pound sales of Victor Anichebe to West Brom and Nikica Jelavić to Hull, you would have thought Everton and Martinez would have a solid transfer budget to improve the team with, totalling to around £39-40 million. Now £12 million of this was spent on James McCarthy and £6 million on Arouna Koné, but as for the rest, it seems to have either gone into paying for loans or being kept in a bank, which is mind-boggling to the fans who have seen their club sell 2 strikers and an attacking midfielder, just to bring in 2 strikers on loan and a young defensive midfielder.
So, where does that leave Everton from here? Without a 20-30 goal a season striker, the hope of Champions League football seems to be gone, especially with free scoring Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the way of achieving that. Everton are still in the FA cup, but face a hard tie with Arsenal ahead. So taking this into consideration, it seems as if it will be another above mid-table season for Everton after not being able to close out fixtures in which they dominated possession, but just did not have the clinical presence to take them over the line.
It is clear that Everton need a strong long-term striker, but it is not clear who that could be. Some names being thrown around are Standard Liege’s Michy Batshuayi, who stated he would not leave his club in January, but in the summer, he does not know. Also Lyon’s Alexandra Lacazette, a young and upcoming talent in Ligue 1. Aside from those two names, there haven’t been too many others mentioned, but one thing is for certain. Everton’s main problem right now is scoring goals, and the only way to stop this problem is by signing one or two top class strikers, whoever they may be. It needs to happen this summer or they could face another season of mediocrity, pondering on what could have been different, which is something no fans wants to be doing. If it means spending a bit of money, it’s a small price to pay if it brings some success to a club that has been trophy-less for nearly two decades now.