Centre Forward Thinking

Dominic Calvert Lewin

During the Premier League era, it has to be said that Everton have not been blessed with too many consistent goal scoring forwards over the years. Sure there have been some great ones like Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell and more recently the most prolific ,Romelu Lukaku. More often than not though, Everton always lacked that killer striker to take us further. David Moyes’ team that got to the FA cup final was a centre-forward short of competing. We had probably our best defence and midfield since the Premiership began back then however, the frustration of lacking a true goal machine could not take us to the next step. It was as if Yakubu had come too early and Rom too late. Anyway I find ourselves at this moment in time, in a similar situation. We are playing some great football at the minute, some of the best seen since Martinez’s’ first season and hopefully that poor run is well behind us. We have just absolutely thrashed Man Utd 4-0 yet not one goal came from a striker. So the question is, do Everton go in for someone who knows where the net is in the summer, or do we count on the personnel at our disposal to do things differently?

Enter the room, Dominic Calvert-Lewin. If any player has gone up a gear in the last couple of months, you would have to say Dom has improved the most out of this Everton side. He led the line against Liverpool, (arguably the best team in the league) scored against Newcastle, had a great second half against Chelsea, created a lot of chances for himself against West Ham and totally bullied Arsenal’s defence. He also put himself about all over the final third of the pitch against the red half of Manchester last week. However out of all those games I just mentioned, you may have noticed he scored once. Throw in the Fulham and more recent Palace game where he should probably be looking to score and the obvious problem is there. This isn’t a dig at Dom because I think he has been brilliant for us since he has been a regular starter, however the main position where every team needs goals to come from, (striker) is lacking too much in Everton’s case. Calvert-Lewin has bagged six goals in the premier league for us this season which, let’s be honest, isn’t a great return for a striker. It’s not his fault Everton have relied on him though, it’s just the way things have panned out the last couple of seasons. One reason for that is Romelu Lukaku simply has not been replaced.

At the start of Koeman’s second season, I remember sitting there in my living room eagerly awaiting deadline day to come to an end with all the optimism of Everton securing a top striker. We had Niasse and Dom. One who wasn’t fancied and one who was learning the game. Rooney was going to be in the midfield so surely all them rumours of a Giroud or Costa type striker was going to come true. However not only did it fail to happen, but three windows later, Everton have still not got it right.

Sam Allardyce, who I still can’t believe ever managed this club, did try to make amends for this and brought in Turkish international Cenk Tosun. Alarm bells rang when he couldn’t get into the struggling side straight away but he did eventually, netting five goals for the blues in the second half of that season. However, it feels as if it just hasn’t worked out for him under Silva. I think this is mainly down to Silva’s style of play. I’m not too sure Cenk is quick enough or mobile enough to do the work Dom is doing right now. I think he is a good striker, but can we honestly say hand on heart that we believe he is going to be our main man going forward? I have to say that I doubt it. Tosun has come out lately and said “I’m not coming back to Turkey. I’m so happy at Everton. I want to be here for a long time. For my homeland, I want to make my flag proud here. We represent Turkey. We represent not only our name, but also the whole country.” This suggests he is willing to fight for his position but he simply just hasn’t taken his chances this season. Actions speak louder, and I would love him to back it up, but only time will tell.

So if these guys maybe aren’t the answer right now? Who can Everton bring in in the summer? Tim Cahill recently mentioned that Diego Costa could fit the bill. Based on his footballing ability, I’d take him in a heartbeat to be honest with you. I loved him at Chelsea because he would do anything to win the game. This is just one suggestion though and there are so many other options out there. Plus I’m not sure he would fit Brands’ and Silva’s bill with rumours of his dressing room history. I have seen on social media people asking ‘Would you have Lukaku back?’ This isn’t even worth thinking about to be honest. He hates us when he was here and he hates us even more now. I just can’t see that happening at all. I would be mightily surprised if Brands and Silva don’t have a few names jotted down even if their priorities are Zouma and Gomes first.

There will probably be some blues out there who will be happy for DCL to lead the line for us next season and fair enough, lots of people have different opinions, I just think to push on, Everton need that fitting cog at the top end of this teams blueprint. Dom will get better there is no doubt, he is only twenty-two years old and still learning the game, heck four different managers have fancied him in their team, however having a proven striker will not only bag us the goals, but also help Calvert-Lewin in his development. Just look at the season overall, the striker position has been swapped around so many times with Tosun, DCL and Richarlison playing a handful of games up there. With Arsenal, Chelsea and Utd looking shaky, I think now is the time to break into that top six. Would we be in there now if we had that precious goal scorer all season? Yes I think we would to be honest. There is a big points gap but this is what brilliant strikers do, they win you games. In my opinion, it is absolutely vital that Everton search high and low for that player. I trust Brands to deliver and this could be the main step for us moving forward next season.

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