The January transfer window will no doubt see a number of teams at both ends of the Premier League clamouring to secure deals in the hope of bolstering their squad ahead of the second half of the season.
Everton are likely to be amongst the sides on the lookout for reinforcements with new manager Sam Allardyce hoping to put his stamp on the Toffees squad following an underwhelming start to the campaign.
The former West Ham and Bolton boss has overseen an upturn in fortunes and Everton have managed to move into 10th position following victories against Huddersfield and struggling Newcastle. Wayne Rooney is one player who has benefited from Allardyce’s arrival and he has netted nine goals from just 12 shots on target, which is a 43% conversion rate but Toffees supporters are still calling for more firepower in the final third. Prior to their match with Swansea on December 18th, Everton have netted just 21 times in 17 games and are the second lowest scorers in the top half of the table so reinforcements in this area are likely.
After splashing out on Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaasen this summer, many pundits felt that the club had still failed to adequately replace the departed Romelu Lukaku who netted 25 times during the 2016-17 season. Allardyce’s robust approach requires a hold-up player, a big target man who is likely to help the ball stick in the final third whilst the midfielders burst forward in support but the squad don’t possess this type of player at the moment.
Christian Benteke has been mentioned as a possible target alongside Watford striker Troy Deeney and West Ham powerhouse Andy Carroll. Current Everton striker Sandro Ramirez, who hasn’t settled in Merseyside, has been linked with move back to Malaga which is likely to clear the way for a big money splurge on a proven Premier League performer. Benteke netted for Crystal Palace on December 16th and although he’s had a difficult season in South London, he is likely to remain at Selhurst Park.
Both Benteke and Andy Carroll have previously worked under Allardyce at previous clubs and the latter has seen very little game time at the London Stadium so far this season. He once commanded an eye-watering fee of £35 million when moving from Newcastle to Liverpool – almost equivalent to the largest amount of lottery money ever won in the UK which was landed just months before Carroll’s switch from Tyneside. Everton may not need a significant Lotto windfall to afford the 28-year-old and will be hoping for a cut-price deal. The forward has suffered from a stop-start campaign and West Ham are likely to be keen to offload the former England International.
Troy Deeney is currently serving a lengthy ban at Vicarage Road and despite his recent bout of ill-discipline, he remains popular with Watford fans. He is likely to remain loyal to the Hornets despite being linked with a move to Goodison Park.
Allardyce may not be required to display the kind of pragmatism which saw him help both Sunderland and Crystal Palace beat the drop although he is still likely to target a powerful striker in the January transfer window with Benteke and Carroll likely to be his first choices although the latter may not be able to feature regularly enough to justify the price tag he is likely to command. Everton fans can expect to see plenty of movement in early part of 2018 and a competent target man is almost certainly the priority for Big Sam.