Have Everton made a mistake not signing a prolific striker?

lukaku-mOne of the great things about being an Evertonian is the difference of opinion we all have over a seemingly simple issue.

This has been, I believe to be possibly the most ‘productive’ transfer window since the unaffordable influx of Dacourt, Materazzi and Collins back in July 1998 to be followed in the coming months by the incomparable Steve Simonsen and Bakayoko. Our first seven games have yielded just one defeat and the doom mongers amongst us are starting to gather despite the transfers.

It’s very easy to be critical, which I think has more to do with our lack of silverware in over 20 years. We are getting more and more frustrated with every passing year. Many golden opportunities have passed us by, none more so than the guilt edged chance to win the FA Cup, little over 16 months ago.

We failed on that day ironically because our most prolific striker in 30 years, who has now left in order to win trophies, ‘decided’ not to produce the goods when the chance of a trophy showed itself. Frustration, therefore completely understandable, we all feel it. I remember the long wait between 1970 and 1984 which seemed to me to be a lifetime, followed by an amazing outpouring of emotion when the FA Cup had been delivered. Surely that wait will end this season won’t it?

Yet despite the optimism, theres a feeling that we have made the most basic of errors in not signing a target man. Now i’ve never been a successful footballer at any kind of decent level, never mind managed. I did once referee an under eights match and apart from gaining the utmost respect for referees, I vowed never to referee again. However, year in year out it’s generally inferred that if we should sell a player in a key position, it’s common sense that you should have a replacement lined up.

Lukaku still had two years left on his contract so was it so desperate that we should sell now? OK, there does appear to be a lack of potential replacements, so much so that Benteke was even mentioned. Maybe, just maybe if we had gone for potential strike targets early in the window, a head or two may have been turned. Don’t forget, the lure of the Champions League means five clubs had a head start over us and arguably first pick but we still had the lure of European football albeit starting in balmy July.

It’s clear to me and a great many others that during the first seven games we have lacked a goal threat. I also believe that you don’t buy anyone just for the sake of it (Andy Carroll anyone?). I also remember that the last time we qualified for the Champions League (play off) back in 2005, the leader of the line was Marcus Bent who scored 7 goals in 42 games and Duncan Ferguson, 6 goals in 37 games maybe showing that being prolific isn’t really the point. It’s also worth noting that with 45 goals, Everton scored the same amount as Southampton did that season and Southampton finished bottom.

You could also argue that our last great team (1985/87) didn’t possess a genuine 30 goals a season man (Linekers one season aside) and the goals were famously spread around the team with famously no less than five different players reaching double figures. Ultimately it’s down to the manager and we must trust him, we have little choice. Maybe January will bring the striker we need or maybe Oumar Niasse will bring about the greatest escape since Houdini.

Maybe Dominic Calvert-Lewin will do the business, he’s looked pretty good so far but he’s young, or maybe a combination of Sandro and Rooney will weigh in sufficiently between them, who knows.

I have already noticed that a combination of Walsh, Koeman and Kenwright are getting some stick on social media for not signing Lukakus replacement which is ridiculous. What should be remembered however is that we are only just into the second year of a project; that we have spent more on players than we ever have before and that we have the excitement of new ground in the pipeline. What we avoided doing was signing the wrong striker out of desperation and ended up with the equivalent of Andy Carroll.

The big one in my opinion however is that compared to this time last year, despite Lukaku leaving we have a better squad of players. Onwards and upwards blues!

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Paul Chaloner

Paul Chaloner was born less than a mile from Goodison Park in 1962. He retired to Spain where he follows Everton from afar. He went to his first Everton match in 1970 (5-2 v chelsea), sold cushions in the stands throughout the 1970s until they were abandoned in the early 1980s and continued to watch the blues until relatively recently before going to live in Spain. He has three sons, all blues!

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