Like most clubs in the Premier League, Everton will be keen to get work done in the January transfer window.
While manager Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands have indicated that the Blues won’t be busy that is unlikely to be the reality. Both know that stating their intentions openly is a foolish move. Indeed, it was a pitfall the previous regime fell into and ended up suffering because of.
They also know, however, that this is a squad that remains in transition and needs several areas addressing before it is capable of achieving anywhere near their goals.
That makes it likely Brands and his team will be working hard behind the scenes to improve Everton’s squad this month.But what work do they need to do? The following three should be the focus of their attention.
Find a striker
Anyone who has watched Everton over the last two years can tell you one thing, they need a striker. Despite selling Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United two years ago they’ve still failed to replace the Belgian.
Cenk Tosun was brought in last year but has failed to fill the void. A bright start last season has not been built on this year. There were hopes the Turkey international would flourish in Marco Silva’s attacking style but that has not happened.
Everton’s other attacking options have also struggled to reach the grade. Richarlison has impressed as a central striker and his nine goals is no mean tally but he is better suited to a wide role. The Brazilian flourishes when he can run at defenders and cut inside and is often ineffective with his back to goal.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the other option and has chipped in with five goals. However, he is still young and it is evident that he lacks the cutting edge to be the first choice at this stage of his career. Everton will be delighted with his development thus far but know he is not at the level they need yet.
It makes finding a striker a chief priority for Brands this month. If Everton can secure one and get him firing, it could provide them with a huge boost in the second half of the campaign. Fail to do so and they will likely continue to struggle up front.
Sign Andre Gomes permanently
When the time comes for people to determine the signings of the season, Andre Gomes will be up there.
Some Evertonians questioned why the Blues were making a move for the Barcelona midfielder in the summer. They had seen how he struggled at the Nou Camp and doubted he was good enough.
It appears it was a case of the pond being too big for the Portuguese midfielder. After getting back to full fitness he has shone in Royal Blue and firmly established himself as a fan favourite. It would be surprising if he isn’t a shoo-in for their player of the year.
Sadly for Everton, his deal is not a permanent one, nor does his loan deal have an option to make it permanent. Fixing that this month would be a smart move for the Toffees. Gomes has rebuilt his reputation in England and several bigger clubs are likely to be keen on his signature.
It would be a huge disappointment for Everton to miss out on him after spending time and resources to rebuild his fitness and confidence.
With Barcelona reportedly willing to sell the midfielder for around £30 million that would not only be a steal but a small price to pay for the man who is finally filling the hole left by Mikel Arteta.
Continue clearing out the deadwood
When Marcel Brands arrived at Everton in the summer he knew he had quite the task on his hands. The squad he had inherited from predecessor Steve Walsh was old, bloated and largely useless.
While there was the spine of a team there were many that needed to be shipped out. That was a task he succeeded in as no fewer than 12 players departed either on loan or permanently.
The mass exodus was a necessary one as the Dutchman sought to trim down the squad and an exorbitant wage bill. Unfortunately, despite the mass departures, there is still work to be done in that department. Everton’s squad is still riddled with unwanted players.
Work has already begun in that regard with Mason Holgate heading out on loan to West Bromwich Albion and several others likely to follow him out the door.
The likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Oumar Niasse and James McCarthy might be better suited finding pastures new while discovering permanent homes for those out on loan who are similarly unwanted would be smart.
Continuing to clear out the deadwood this month would not only help to open up spaces in the squad but also reduce the wage bill. Similarly, it will help the Blues be better prepared for another important summer transfer window.
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