As the transfer window was drawing to a close, there were rumours that Everton were about to bring in Michy Batshuayi. We know how that story ended – he joined Crystal Palace instead, and not for the first time in recent years we were left empty-handed. Although that was frustrating, there weren’t too many Everton fans left disappointed by the news; but there’s a case to say we should have been.
Since the turn of the century, only two players have managed to score more than twenty goals for the Toffees in a single season; Romelu Lukaku and Yakubu. With the 2020s creeping up on us faster than any of us would like them to, that’s a cause for concern. We, as a club, have aspirations of breaking into the Champions League places. The appointment of Marco Silva, along with the recent influx of money into the club, was supposed to be the key to opening that door. It certainly won’t be happening this season.
It’s too early to blame Silva or the adjusted board for that; they’re entitled to a season of adjustment, and we’re a patient fan base. It does seem clear, though, that we don’t have a 20-goal-a-season player in our current team. We find goals hard to come by, and we have done for years. That, more than anything else, is what has to change if we’re going to see improvements in results, and trophies at Goodison Park.
While we’re in a better financial position than we used to be, we still don’t have the resources of Manchester City, Manchester United or even Arsenal. We can’t go out and pay £90m for one player and rely on them to propel us up the table. For us, signing a striker will work exactly how playing ‘Striker Goes Wild’ at UK Slot Games works. We have to set ourselves a budget, look for opportunities, take a chance and hope that when we put money in, we’re going to get something out of it. Spending money on a striker is every bit as much of a gamble as taking a spin on an online slot is, so where do we find the best value for money? Let’s look at the options.
For the sake of this article, we’re disregarding Gylfi Sigurdsson, Richarlison and Theo Walcott. Although all three have qualities we admire, none of them have ever looked likely of getting us twenty goals a season or more, and we don’t expect them to start now.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Projected cost: £0 as already owned)
The one player we do have in our ranks who might be capable if given a chance is Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He’s had more game time recently than at any point in the past and has taken chances when they’ve come to him. Calvert-Lewin is home-grown, fast and skillful. He scored the winning goal as England won the Under 20s World Cup in 2017 to cap off a brilliant youth career, and clearly has much to offer as a player. We’d love to see the young lad step up and do the job, but we wouldn’t want to put too much pressure on him at a young age. We think he could use a more experienced strike partner to get him there.
Michy Batshuayi (Projected cost: £27m)
Batshuayi is only on loan at Crystal Palace, and will likely be available to purchase in the summer as there appears to be no way back for him at Chelsea. He has shown glimpses of class on occasion, and is capable of scoring goals, but hasn’t had a sufficient first-team run in any team for long enough to form a coherent judgment on his potential. If he knuckled down and worked hard, there’s every chance he could be finding the back of the net 20 times a season. Without substantial evidence though, he represents a risk.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Projected cost: £20m)
Fulham are having an absolutely dreadful season. Paralyzed by the sacking of two managers and with zero consistency among a disheveled squad, they’re already relegated in all but name. Despite that, there’s been one positive about their performances, and that’s in the performances and attitude of Aleksandar Mitrovic upfront. He’s scored ten goals so far this term in a terrible team and demonstrated the same abilities in a similarly-weak Newcastle team previously. With better support around him, he’d be capable of far more. He’d find more chances at Everton, and would likely score more goals.
Duvan Zapata (Projected cost: £31m)
Thinking outside the box, there’s Duvan Zapata. If you’re not familiar with the name, it’s because he’s never played in England before, and is only now showing his full range of abilities at the age of 27. Colombian international Zapata is currently at Atlanta, on loan from Sampdoria who would likely sell the forward if the price was right. Thus far, he’s netted 16 times in 23 games for the Serie A club and looked good doing it. Atlanta aren’t a side in danger of topping the table in Italy but are comparable to Everton in terms of their relative qualities, and the gap between them and the very best. If Zapata can score prolific amounts of goals for Atlanta in Italy, we’re confident that he could do the same for us in England.
We’ve seen other names linked with the club. Edin Dzeko, likely to be made available by Roma in the summer, is one of them. Dzeko has a proven track record and scored plenty of goals at Manchester City, but will be 33 by the time next season starts. That’s no good to us when we’re building for the future. We’ve also seen Jean-Kevin Augustin linked, but he’s a 21-year-old with no history of scoring consistently, and will likely be overpriced. Of what’s on offer, we think Mitrovic would make a great addition, with Zapata also looking like he has what’s required if a deal could be struck.
Agree? Disagree? As always, feel free to let us know your thoughts. Who would you like to see harassing opposition defenders in a blue shirt next season?