Everton are back to their normal selves again it seems after a pretty disappointing campaign last year. Without the distraction of the Europa League and flourishing young stars throughout the spine of the team, the Toffees once again are proving sweet.
John Stones, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku have all improved on their already pretty high standards and the returning Gerard Deulofeu is showing what made him a Barcelona player in the first place at last.
It’s no surprise to see that quartet all linked with moves away, but as the club showed in the summer during the John Stones saga, they aren’t likely to sell their players without a fight. What’s more important as we approach the winter market is adding to what they’ve already got.
With Chelsea in disarray and the footballing world unsure just how likely Leicester are to keep up their good form, there is potentially a place up for grabs in the race for Champions League football this season. Arch rivals Liverpool and a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur seem to be the favourites to land the much coveted space, but there’s no ruling Everton out with the form they’ve been in this year.
With some additions this January, there’s no reason why they can’t launch a serious assault on the top four this season.
With that in mind, here are FIVE bold January transfer Everton can make to boost their Champions League hopes..
The Russian wide man has been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital in recent times, with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal. As Euro 2016 approaches, the 26-year-old is keen to get some first-team football under his belt in order to prepare for next summer’s showpiece.
Lining the ex-Villarreal loan star up on the opposing flank to Deulofeu, either side of Ross Barkley is a potentially mouth-watering prospect. The future of Kevin Mirallas is uncertain at the moment as the Belgian has been linked with AC Milan so there is potentially some wiggle room in wide areas.
Securing the Madridista, even on a six month loan deal, would boost the attacking ranks at Goodison Park and give a speedy, direct option in contrast to the more technical Deulofeu on the right.
Jack Butland has been mightily impressive between the sticks for Stoke this season, emerging as a genuine contender for Joe Hart’s previously undisputed role as Number 1 for England. The former Birmingham man has as a result been linked with Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton.
An ambitious move, but Toffees custodian Tim Howard has come under fire this season for some shaky performances and Butland could presumably play for another 15 years.
Reportedly a £17m target, Roberto Martinez could boast a spine of Butland-Stones-Barkley-Lukaku at Goodison Park, a fearsome quintet.
It would not be an easy move to pull off, but an excellent long term option.
We’ve heard a lot about this man in recent months, with a host of Premier League clubs thought to be keen on landing the Ukrainian international. Despite recently signing a new deal in the Ukrainian capital, manager Sergei Rebrov recently admitted he is powerless from letting the 26-year-old star leave.
A versatile forward, Yarmolenko would add another layer of quality to the frontline to supplement the electric Lukaku. Arouna Kone has been reliable when called upon but the thought of the Dynamo Kiev star lining up on Merseyside is without doubt an improvement.
AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda is in and out of the Rossoneri team at the moment, and reportedly unhappy with his role at the San Siro. The attacking midfielder is understood to be on Everton’s radar this January, and what a signing he would be.
Able to play across the frontline, the Japanese international is an expert deadball specialist and able to dribble past defenders as if they weren’t there. The 29-year-old has an outstanding pedigree in European competition and his arrival would no doubt add quality to attacking positions.
His versatility could prove valuable into the winter months and towards the business end of the season.
Inaki Williams has emerged as one of Spain’s most exciting talents this year. His early form was added to with an astounding volley for the Basque club against Espanyol, alerting Premier League clubs to his situation.
Should Everton follow up their reported interest in the Spanish under-21 international, it would be quiet the statement of intent. Though his buyout clause is understood to be in the region of €20m, a hefty sum of money for a 21-year-old, Williams has the potential to go on to great things in the game.
Now the £28m for Lukaku is reaping the rewards, Williams might just be a gamble worth taking if Everton want to sustain their attempts to break into the top four for the first time in a decade.