Up next in this mini-series is Everton. David Moyes has done a fantastic job at Goodison Park since taking over a just beyond eight years ago. However, they’ve found themselves to be slow-starters in recent seasons and unfortunately, this season has proven to be no different.
They currently stand a mere five points above the drop zone despite their impressive victory over Manchester City. Moyes is very much aware of the fact that he needs reinforcements to truly kick-start the club’s push for a European place in the table, but a lack of funds makes for a daunting trip into the transfer market, as has been the case over the years for the Merseyside club.
Despite that, Moyes is confident that he can get some players in who will improve the club. Fortunately, this winter’s loan market may have some exciting players. But, which positions at Everton need strengthening?
RB???- Phil Neville is doing his best in this position, but certainly, he won’t be around much longer. Fortunately, Seamus Coleman is there and is more than capable of taking over. He’s been deployed on the right wing, but that just proves he is capable of attacking as well as defending. He has been impressive this season. David Moyes said so himself. So, if Neville either gets injured or retires, Everton already have a long-term replacement in young Seamus Coleman. Therefore, there is no need for Moyes to look for a RB. Remember as well that Tony Hibbert is also at the club.
(1) CB– With speculation continuing to surround Johnny Heitinga and with Joseph Yobo on loan at Fenerbahce and unlikely to return, it seems as though the heart of Everton’s defence could be in a spot of bother should injury hit Sylvain Distin or Phil Jagielka. We already saw Tony Hibbert have to become a makeshift Center Back when Jagielka picked up a knock versus Manchester City. Young Ross Barkley is a very exciting prospect, but a horrible injury has ruled him out for the foreseeable future. Jack Rodwell and Marouane Fellaini can also play in the center of defence, but that would make midfield options sparse. Therefore, at least one understudy for the Center Back position is needed.
(2) RM– As aforementioned, Seamus Coleman has been deployed on the right side of midfield. The only other clear-cut Right Midfielder is Leon Osman and he has been struggling with injury this term. Steven Pienaar can also play on the right, but he is primarily a Left Winger. David Moyes spoke of wanting to be able to give Coleman a “breather” every now and then. So, a Right Midfielder definitely has to be a priority. A new Right Midfielder can also see Coleman drop back into his more familiar Right Back position. LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan would have been a great recruit, but any chance of him returning to the club recently took a hit. As a result, Moyes will have to look elsewhere to find an adequate player for the job.
(3) CM/CAM– Tim Cahill is without a doubt Everton’s most important player. Mikel Arteta may argue with that, but when Everton are down, it’s Cahill who takes matters into his own hands. Nine league goals for him already this season proves just how vital he is to the Toffees. However, if injury or suspension were to strike, who would Everton turn to? Who is going to play in “the hole”? It’s a very important role to have in a team, so, whoever plays there has to have the ability to create attacks as well as notch a few goals, just like Cahill. Marouane Fellaini is usually the stand-in when Cahill doesn’t play and the Belgian is indeed capable of notching the odd goal, but Moyes needs a proper stand-in for the job.
There is the option of moving an available Arteta into “the hole” in Cahill’s absence, but that would still mean that a central midfielder would have to be bought in order to take up Arteta’s vacant, deeper position.
LM???- “Will he or won’t he?” That is the question being asked concerning Steven Pienaar’s stay at the club. He will be a free-agent next summer and so far has not indicated (at least publicly) that he is willing to sign a new deal. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is a capable replacement, but if Pienaar left, whether in January or in the summer, there would be a vacant spot for the Left Midfield position. Surely, that’s something to keep an eye on.
(4) Striker– While their rivals, Liverpool, have too little strikers, Everton seem to have too many strikers. They have seven- Yakubu, Beckford, Saha, Anichebe, Vaughan, Gueye and Silva. Something common among all of them is their incredible inconsistency and impotency in front of goal. Saha and Anichebe are yet to get off the mark this season, while Yakubu and Beckford have just three goals between them. In fairness to Anichebe though, he’s just returned from injury. James Vaughan has been out on loan, while Magaye Gueye and Joao Silva are strikers for the future, as are Kieran Agard and Jose Baxter. Everton need strikers who can do a job in front of goal now. They cannot keep relying on Tim Cahill to come up trumps.
My recommendation is that they sell some of their senior strikers and bring in new ones who can do a proper job in front of goal. It is necessary if Everton are to climb the league table and eventually succeed in Europe.
So, those are Everton’s needs. As was said, David Moyes has limited financial resources. Therefore, both he and his staff have a huge job on their hands if they are going to find decent players for bargain prices. It’s a tough job and it will be a tough January, but Everton fans can rejoice and have hope because David Moyes is the manager in charge.
Read the Part 1 of the series: Which Players Should Liverpool Buy in January?.