It just had to be, didn’t it? Game week one and it was a fairytale return for Rooney as he scored the winner on his Premier league return thirteen years on, in front of a packed Goodison Park. His 199th Premier League goal was enough to see off a resilient Stoke side who created very few clear-cut chances. Doing a bit of research before the game, I saw Everton had drawn their last four opening day matches, and after the first 45 minutes, I was worried the lack of creativity and presence up top was going to keep that record going. But with the signalling of one minute of added time, and ironically just as I heading downstairs to sample the new delights of Carling from the Gwladys Street pumps – shite by the way – Rooney began a great move with Gueye and Sandro, which resulted in the ball being played down the right flank to Calvert-Lewin who whipped in a beautiful cross for the sprinting Wayne Rooney to meet and power the ball past Butland, with a great header. And yes, I did fucking miss it. But no time to moan, it was an important goal right on half time and just what we needed.
The second half was much better, Rooney was a well deserved man of the match, who was a cut above the rest, scoring a great goal and working his arse off all over the pitch. He actually came second only to Morgan Schniederlin in distance covered with an astonishing 6.8 miles, not bad Wayne, not bad at all. He most certainly showed everyone why Koeman was so keen to bring him back. A smart, intelligent player and a natural winner, just what we needed. Honourable mentions go to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who as a striker was pushed out into the unknown territory of right wing back. Despite this he still put in another good performance, setting up a great goal and in the second half he looked very sharp up top along with Sandro and Rooney, who was dropped back into a deeper role of the trio. Defensively Everton looked sharp and despite his tooth going to get the hot dogs in at half time, Michael Keane put in a full blooded dominant performance. At such a young age, he could certainly go on and rule the Everton defence for years to come. Pickford’s superb stoppage time save from Xherden Shaqiri also deserves a mention. Whilst he had very little to do on the day, he dominated his area and he was fully alert to deny Stoke an underserved point late one. Three points on the board and away we go…
Okay that’s the positives out the way. Now it’s time to assess the uncomfortable but necessary. WE NEED ANOTHER STRIKER AND CREATIVE MIDFIELDER! The creative midfielder role will be sewn up if the Sigurdsson deal can ever be finalised, however as each day goes by, my confidence in the same dwindles. Like a dog chasing cars, I hope Everton don’t chase this one until the last day of the window only for the deal to end up on the ‘Fucked it pile’ with the likes of Yarmolenko, Riquelme and co. If the deal isn’t done this week, the club should switch their attention elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how the Barkley drama plays out. With no clubs seemingly willing to pay the fee for him, I wonder whether there will still be a doorway back into Koemans plans. No denying the talents he has and I couldn’t help but think of him on Saturday when we seemed to be struggling with a creative spark in the first half.
If there’s one thing we have learnt quickly in this Post-Lukaku area, it’s that we are still lacking that outlet up top. Sandro (too soon) and Rooney (too late) aren’t the type of player to spearhead an attack. Calvert-Lewin maybe eventually, but he needs time to keep finding his feet at this level. With time ticking on, I have had a look at a few potential targets, what they can bring and the chances of securing them with 16 days to go in this window.
For me, he was the perfect fit and I think Everton may look back on this window wondering whether they did enough to bring the Frenchman to Goodison. The man clearly has Premier league quality, closing in on 100 goals in just over five seasons in England, but was once again down the pecking order at the start of the summer at Arsenal. With power, height and not to mention dashing good looks, it seemed a perfect piece of business for Everton. Sadly, the ship has all but sailed on this one, with the Frenchman seemingly ready to fight for his place at Arsenal and after he scored a vital late winner from the bench in a cracking 4-3 game on Friday night at the Emirates, it’s maybe time to let this one go… *sheds a tear*
Maybe not Plan A. Everything about him screams stag doo in Blackpool, but he’s got pace and when he’s on it, he really is one of the best in the league. A premier league winner, record holder and he started the season with a bang on Friday, scoring two tidy goals. I wondered when he was walking off the Emirates pitch after Leicester snapped defeat from the jaws of victory on Friday, whether he was regretting turning down a move to Arsenal just twelve months earlier. Would this play into Everton’s favour if they made a move? With Mahrez likely to leave the King Power before the window shuts, its likely Leicester will be wanting an excessive fee for the player, which may keep Everton away.
Urgh I know, an ex-Liverpool player. Flopped pretty badly after his £32.5 million move to Anfield from Aston Villa, but keep in mind Liverpool are masters of ruining promising careers. Robbie Keane, Alberto Aquilani, Nuri Sahin, Charlie Adam, Andy Carroll, Joe Cole…. Believe me, the list really does go on. Follwoing his move to Crystal Palace, Benteke scored 15 goals last season and scored 42 at Aston Villa previously. He is strong and physical and arguably to closest thing to Lukaku out there. Palace look another cert for a relegation scrap this year and after a hiding at home to newly promoted Huddersfield, Benteke might be ready to get out whilst he still can before their season turns ugly.
I haven’t seen much of the lad, but after some frantic googling he seems a decent goal scorer. The 29 year old has netted 33 times in 84 games for Fiorentina . The Croatian has put clubs on alert that he may want out but with numerous reports saying he favours a move to fellow Italian club, the spendaholics of 2017, AC Milan, this one may be dead in the water before it even gets going.
I think minus the above, Everton are shit out of luck in terms of strikers who can improve the squad, we’ve brought in more goals from other areas of the pitch but haven’t replaced the meteor sized 25 goal gap left by Lukaku. With a hectic season ahead, Koeman and Walsh must move fast to get a deal over the line in the next 16 days.
Watch this space…
– David Hughes (@DAHughes92)