Everton boss Roberto Martinez has revealed the club and AS Monaco are in talks over the future of Lacina Traore after the player picked up a hamstring injury during the pre-match warm-up against Chelsea last Saturday.
The Côte d’Ivoire international, 23, may require season-ending surgery on the hamstring which would prematurely end his loan spell on Merseyside.
Traore, who joined Monaco from Russian Premier League strugglers FC Anzhi Makhachkala for an undisclosed fee last month, has played in just one match for the Toffees this season, scoring in the FA Cup clash against Swansea City on 16 February.
“It is important we are working together with Monaco and what we need to get right is the player gets the perfect treatment: when I say the perfect treatment, this is not a straightforward injury,” said Martinez.
“Lacina had a previous injury a few months back but he was fully fit and without fatigue – because obviously in the warm-up you don’t incur any fatigue – so that injury is a bit of a worry.
“The injury can be solved by conservative treatment or it can involve surgery – that is a massive decision.
“Depending on what route we are going down is going to have certain consequences.
“It could mean Lacina could play for us again or if he can’t – it’s a bit too early.
“You get to a point where if it is only going to be a matter of three or four weeks we want Lacina to be here until the end.
“If it is going to be any longer than two or three months then the loan period is over.”
With Traore out, former Rangers forward Steven Naismith had been tasked with leading the line for Everton but that will change against West Ham United on Saturday, with star striker Romelu Lukaku expected to return after a month on the sidelines.
Lukaku, who last featured for the Toffees in the Merseyside derby on 28 January, has been a tremendous signing for Roberto Martinez this term, having tallied nine goals and five assists in 19 English Premier League appearances.
Many were shocked when Jose Mourinho allowed the former R.S.C. Anderlecht starlet to leave Stamford Bridge on loan for a second consecutive season, casting doubt on the 20-year-old’s long-term future in West London.
Moreover, the Portuguese has made it clear he expects to bring in a top-class striker in the summer transfer window, with moves for Diego Costa, Edinson Cavani and Karim Benzema mooted.
Mourinho may not want Lukaku but Roberto Martinez is absolutely delighted to welcome back the Belgium international, who is priced at 7/2 to open the scoring against the Hammers at the weekend.