With Europa League football and a long league campaign to come Everton are in the market to bring in a new striker.
The Toffees have been heavily linked with a permanent move for Chelsea’s young striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored 16 goals on-loan at the Merseyside club last season.
With Lukaku returning to Chelsea and stiff competition for his signature this summer, Everton could be left with very few attacking options next season.
Arouna Kone, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith are the senior striking options for the Toffees, with youngster Conor McAleny looking to break through to the senior squad on a regular basis.
It could be argued that Mirallas and Naismith are much more useful playing as attacking midfielders or wide players, despite their ability to play as a central striker. Kone spent most of last season sidelined through injury and hardly had a chance to make an impact for the Toffees.
Lukaku led the Everton front line with distinction last season and heavily contributed to the Toffees finishing fifth in the Premier League table. His future is in doubt at Chelsea, but there have been claims this morning that Chelsea may want £30million for the striker.
That amount would likely be too much for the Merseysider’s, who are not accustomed to spending big on players in recent years. However, boss Roberto Martinez does have money to spend, believed to be in the region of £25million.
An alternative to Lukaku would be Swansea’s Wilfried Bony. The Ivory Coast international scored 16 Premier League goals last season, in a team that spent most of the campaign in the relegation dogfight.
Bony’s performance last season led to summer interest from the likes of Tottenham and Everton’s neighbours Liverpool. The Toffees were linked with a move for the striker earlier in the summer and if the Lukaku deal does not happen then surely they could re-ignite their interest in Bony.
Wilfried Bony has been pretty consistent in front of goal in the last couple of seasons. Those 16 league goals were preceded by 46 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie for Vitesse Arnhem in 65 appearances, which by most strikers’ standards is a good scoring rate.
The fact that Bony found the net 16 times in his first season in the English top-flight suggests that he can only get better now that he is accustomed to the league. There were doubts about his scoring record because the Eredivisie was regarded as a poorer standard of league.
However, after a slow start the £12million signing proved his pedigree in front of goal, helping the Swans to avoid the drop in the process.
Everton have had a good team for the last couple of seasons, but at times the final piece of the jigsaw was missing, which was a prolific striker. Lukaku filled that role last season and the Toffees gained their highest ever Premier League point’s total of 72 points.
The Merseysider’s do not look that far off competing for that fourth spot, despite some of their rivals strengthening their squads this summer. The Toffees are no longer regarded as a team that punch above their financial weight.
Even the big spending teams do not like facing Everton, because they are a side that are very dangerous. With a prolific striker they could be a major threat to the Champions League places next season.
The odds are currently against Everton signing Bony this summer, with their neighbours Liverpool currently 4/6 favourites to sign the Ivory Coast international, while the Toffees are odds of 14/1 to sign Bony.
Everton are major outsiders to claim fourth spot and a Champions League spot next season. The addition of a goal scorer would aide that bid. It will be very unlikely that the Toffees could challenge for a Champions League spot with their current strikers, so a new striker is vital for Roberto Martinez’s team.
Could Wilfried Bony solve Everton’s striker crisis?
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