We’ve had a tremendous summer transfer window so far.
And the summer shopping shows no real sign of abating although every other club is now fully aware that Everton mean business this season and hence some additional price hiking is to be expected.
Together with the departing Tom Cleverley, Arouna Kone, Brendan Galloway on loan, and no doubt a few more yet, the most prominent exit door slammed behind Romelu Lukaku.
Based on last season’s goals, the big Belgian leaves a massive hole to fill. Ronald Koeman though has, quite rightly, said he’d rather have more players chipping in with ten plus goals each than one 25-goal scorer, the fact remains we will need a proven scorer to lead the line.
Visit any of the Everton forums and there are any number of names being bandied around and some more than most.
Here then is a cold look at some of the ‘leading contenders’ on fans wish lists to replace Lukaku up top, taking their domestic, not international records over the past four years for a comparison benchmark exercise.
Two highly rated youngsters whose names have been mentioned in despatches are Kasper Dolberg of Ajax and Moussa Dembele of Celtic.
Dolberg is just 19 and with only one senior season behind him in which he made 42 appearances bagging 22 goals and 7 assists; Dembele is a year older at 20 and in his four pro seasons has netted 51 times in 113 appearances with firstly Fulham and then last season north of the border with Celtic.
Would Ronald Koeman be interested in signing them, probably is my guess. But he might be hesitant to put a young striker straight into the Premier League spotlight, assuming either could be lured?
Let’s look a little then at the more prominent strikers detailed above.
Looking purely on age, the giant Edin Dzeko must be ranked as the outsider.
There are some who think he got a bit of a raw deal during his time with Manchester City, and certainly his form since joining Roma would suggest he made a very smart choice as he’s looked very impressive for the Italian club. Powerful in the air as you would expect given his height, Dzeko has shown no shortage of ability on the deck since moving to the Italian capital and looks a much more accomplished player than he did in his City days.
Many feel Inter Milan sniper Mauro Icardi would be a tremendous signing. Not the tallest, the Argentinian is an out and out finisher and together with Dzeko, has proven that the ultra-defensive Serie A couldn’t thwart his natural instincts for filling the onion bag.
Olivier Giroud is proven in the Premier League as are both Jamie Vardy and Christian Benteke.
Giroud is a classy centre forward, not physical but knows how to find space and importantly, finish. There is interest in his signature from Marseilles and he’s believed to want to stay with the Gunners although that situation might change depending on who else Arsene Wenger tries to recruit and whether Alexis Sanchez moves on.
Vardy is quick and aggressive with a touch of snide in his game – something Everton are often accused of lacking – although some (fans) have doubts as to his personal character, and he’s also the smallest on this list of possible targets.
Former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke is something of an enigma. On his day, he can be unplayable and a devastating header of the ball. On his off days though, he appears disinterested and lazy – traits we’ve seen before wouldn’t y’all agree?
Motivation though could be a factor for Benteke – a return to Merseyside could offer him the chance of redemption for his largely disappointing time across the park with ‘them’.
I’ve seen a fair number of shouts for another Belgian, Michy Batshuayi of Chelsea who barely got a start last season, the vast majority of his appearances being off the bench. That fact alone though makes his goals per appearance record look pretty impressive.
Another long shot would be the vastly experienced and proven Thomas Muller.
Still only 27, despite having been at the top with Bayern Munich for what seems ages, would Muller leave the relative comfort of perennial Bundesliga favourites Bayern for a more physical and demanding challenge of spearheading an Everton challenge for four trophies?
Well unless we make contact and an audacious move for him, we’ll never know… Ronald Koeman might be tempted by him, like Wayne Rooney, having the priceless habit and mentality of being a winner.
Who will we get to lead the forward line is anybody’s guess right now.
Maybe by the time the squad return from Tanzania, we’ll know a bit more as with the opening games in the Europa League to be played this month, Ronald Koeman will surely want his line leader signed and ready to go?