Lacina Traore

Lacina Traore

A deal that’s believed to be so close to completion the player in question was spotted in a Merseyside Tescos two days ago, Everton have lined up a loan swoop for former Anzhi star Lacina Traore.

The striker, who measures in at a whopping 6 foot 8 and is often referred to as ‘the gentle giant’, will already be a fan favourite at Goodison Park, having netted a sensational long-range strike against local rivals Liverpool in last season’s Europa League tournament.

The 23 year-old bagged 18 goals in his inaugural campaign with Dagestani, including six on the continental stage, but this season found himself on the fringes of the squad, making just seven appearances in all competitions.

French big-spenders Monaco snapped him up earlier this January in a €12million deal, but with the Cote D’Ivoire international, who has four goals and seven caps for his country, unlikely to usurp £54million mega-signing Radamel Falcao from the Ligue 1 outfit’s starting XI this season, they’re now prepared to loan him out to the Merseysiders until the summer.

Traore’s height can be deceptive – despite his lofty frame, the African star’s strength isn’t in the air, so Everton fans shouldn’t expect a similar kind of service to Romelu Lukaku.

Rather, the former Cluj and Kuban Krasnodar forward is known for his direct running, powerful finishing from distance and deft touches in the final third. A loose comparison would be a more athletic Peter Crouch.

Traore has been receiving rave reviews from abroad for some time, and Roberto Martinez will be hoping his soon-to-be loan signing, whose services could be secured by the end of the day, can live up to all the hype in the Premier League.

Gaining the striker’s work permit could still prove to be an issue for the Toffees however.