Everton currently find themselves with only one proven Premier League striker in their squad, leaving David Moyes with a brain teaser as the Blues aim to kick on and charge up the table.
This week has seen Everton loan out Nigerian hitman Yakubu Aiyegbeni to Championship side Leicester City, leaving Moyes with only Louis Saha as a notable marksman in the entire squad.
This fact was exacerbated on Sunday in the Merseyside derby where Louis Saha missed out via injury, when Moyes started with Victor Anichebe – a man used more as a right winger than a striker in recent seasons – and Jermain Beckford, a striker of undoubted talent but one who is still finding his feet at Premiership level after plying his trade in the lower leagues for his entire career.
Injury-plagued James Vaughan played a role off the bench against Liverpool, but was used as a first line of defence rather than a goalscoring threat, whilst Jose Baxter has yet to make the leap to first team football after showing much promise in at youth and reserve level.
Interestingly, out of all five of these players, Saha and Beckford are the only players who Everton have brought into the club (Beckford on a free transfer, and Saha free with performance-related fees) whilst the others have come through Evertons lauded youth academy.
With little to no money available for the Blues to play around with in January, and proven goalscorers a luxury afforded only to the oil-soaked rich boys such as Manchester City, David Moyes is presented with a massive problem. Where are consistent goals going to come from?
Tim Cahill, of course, has been utilised as a forward recently, and leads the clubs goalscoring charts. But there´s still some doubt as to whether he can partner another striker effectively and even if Tim does prove to be the long term answer for Everton, an injury to the Australian – or a badly timed Oceanic tournament – would see Everton struggling to put together a winning side yet again.
Therefore, there´s only one thing to do. The suddenly reclusive Bill Kenwright has to come up with transfer funds for David Moyes to bring in a decent striker to give Evertonians a bit of hope that we can move away from our perilous position close to the relegation zone and possibly challenge the Europa League places before the opportunity is lost.
Otherwise, Everton may find themselves in a bit of trouble. Relegation is unthinkable, but a poor season followed by the break-up of a talented squad isn´t.
Without a sign of ambition from the Everton board, perhaps some of our star players – and maybe even our management – may resign themselves to the fact that Everton wish to be nothing more than makeweights, rather than the English heavyweights we once were.