Another week, another terrible result and seven more days to sulk around our houses until the Chelsea game – with relegation still a murky possibility, will Everton take a dip into the transfer market this January?
Yes, I know, "no money", "sell to buy" and so on. However, thereĀ“s an argument to be made for the need to invest in the playing squad so as to remain in the division. The financial benefits of remaining in the Premier League far outweigh the possibility of playing in the Championship.
Of course, Everton have known far harder times. Relegation is not the certainty it appeared to be before Gareth Farrelly nailed a volley to save us in 1998, or Barry Horne and "The Dogs of War" pulled off the "Great Escape" in 1994. The playing squad we have today is of the quality to be reasonably confident of surviving no matter how much bad luck we have.
I say the squad is of the required quality, but perhaps certain areas of the first team arenĀ“t. By which, I speak of our striking options.
With Yakubu loaned out to Leicester and Cahill off with the Asia Cup, weĀ“ve looked painfully limited up top. Louis Saha has shown glimpses, but remains injury prone, with Victor Anichebe, Jermain Beckford and James Vaughan not exactly the twenty goal a season type as we stand. Of course, like all Evertonians I get behind whoever wears the Royal Blue, but it would be foolish to not recognise the limitations we have and look towards correcting the issue.
Aston Villa had the same problem. Agbonlahor, Carew and the rest of the Villa attack have scored even less than Everton this year. Relegation seemed a real prospect. However, the big money signing of Darren Bent will guarantee goals for the Villains and most pundits will bet on them finishing in and around the top half.
Although Everton cannot hope to blow the same amount of money (primarily generated through the sale of Milner last year), the same principle has to apply for Everton to ease away from their relegation fears, with 18th-place only five points away.
The Toffees can ill-afford to "settle" on a mediocre position in the league this year, as that attitude could go spectacularly wrong.
Everton are only four points off 7th place with a game in hand as we speak. Europe is still a distinct possibility, but Kenwright and the Everton board have to act now.
With finances tight, questions regarding the acquisitions of Magaye Gueye and Joao Silva – two completely unused players – have to be asked. Why did Everton invest in two young players when todays squad needed strengthening? Similarly, Eric Dier, the young player brought in on loan recently, is a bright prospect but not a lad who will change our on field fortunes as we stand.
Whoever it is (if anyone) that arrives this January, they need to be a player of calibre, preferably a goalscorer, someone who can make an instant impact a la Kevin Campbell at the Premier League level.
The problem is whether such a player exists who is within Evertons financial reach, and whether the one week until the transfer window slams shut is long enough to find the answer to our problems. If Everton find such a player, perhaps itĀ“s practical to loosen the purse strings to bring them in, rather than to search for the elusive quality striker on loan.
ItĀ“s not all doom and gloom at Goodison, even though it may feel it. With the return of Tim Cahill and one or two decent acquisitions, Everton may well be climbing up the ladder rather than wondering nervously whether weĀ“re about to fall off it.