FIVE January signings to get Everton’s season back on track

After their impressive league standing last year, it would be wrong to speculate Roberto Martinez’ job could be under threat at Everton.

But the Toffees have endured a horrendous start to the new Premier League season, as they currently lay just two points above the relegation zone with the worst goals conceded column in the division.

Clearly, something has to change and some additions to the squad in January certainly wouldn’t go amiss – like always, squad depth is already proving to be a problem for the Goodison outfit this season.

With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE signings, all realistic and available to Everton in January, that could turn their fortunes around.

[ffc-gallery]CLICK ON MARTINEZ TO REVEAL

Martinez[/ffc-gallery]

FABIAN DELPH

Fabian Delph
According to the tabloids, Everton are eying a January deal for Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph:

The Toffees are already blessed with quality and mettle in the middle of the park, through the likes of Ross Barkley, Leon Osman, Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and Mo Besic, but keeping them all fit has been a real problem this season and another body could do Everton’s squad depth a world of good.

Meanwhile, the 24 year-old’s stock has soured over the last twelve months. Last term, he bagged the Supporters’ Player of the Year award at Villa Park and he impressed on his England debut in August, featuring in a 2-0 win over Switzerland.

Delph’s a real box-to-boxer, with an endless engine and the ability to contribute at both ends of the pitch, perhaps epitomised best by this stunning goal against Chelsea last season:

Most appealingly, the England international’s Villians contract is up at the end of the season and appears to be holding out on a new deal. Paul Lambert is so concerned he’s flying to the US to discuss his budget with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner.

That could force the Birmingham outfit to sell in January, but as revealed above, Everton face competition from Arsenal for his signature.

Potential transfer fee:£8million-£12million

MOUSSA DEMBELE

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League
Another Premier League midfielder linked with a Goodison switch in recent weeks is Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele:

The Belgium international’s bounced back to first team status in recent weeks after spending much of last season of the peripheries of the squad.

But he’s never quite replicated the form that earned him a £15million move from Fulham to White Hart Lane in summer 2012. Here’s a look at Dembele in action for the Cottagers:

And with Spurs already privy to a number of like-minded industrious centre-mids, such as Paulinho, Benjamin Stambouli and Etienne Capoue, whilst Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin also remains on their radar, the Lilywhites could be convinced into selling when the transfer window reopens.

A phenomenal athlete with good technical quality and an eye for goal, the 27 year-old is certainly a natural suitor to Roberto Martinez’ progressive philosophy. And a reversion back to the more advanced role he adopted for Fulham could see Dembele return to his former best.

Whether Daniel Levy is willing to do business with a direct divisional rival midway through the season however, remains to be seen.

Potential transfer fee:£8million-£10million

CHRISTOPHER SAMBA

Christopher Samba
Everton desperately need some added cover at centre-back. John Stones has been ruled out until 2015 with an ankle injury, whilst there appears to be a rift developing between Sylvain Distin and Roberto Martinez, following the Goodison gaffer’s decision to leave the Frenchman out of his match day squad for the Merseyside derby.

How about Congo international Chris Samba? His short stay at QPR in 2013 was rather disappointing as the West London side plummeted into the Championship, but he was once regarded as one of the better centre-halves in the Premier League amid a 161-game tenure with Blackburn Rovers.

Samba measures in at 6 foot 4, offering a beastly presence, experience in the top flight and a decent contribution to the goal tally – his strike-rate was one-in-ten at Ewood Park. Here’s a look at Samba in action:

There are certainly less risky options on Everton’s radar, such as Stoke City centre-back Ryan Shawcross.

But the 30 year-old’s contract at Dynamo Moscow has reportedly entered its final year according to Transfermarkt.com, suggesting the Russian side can be convinced to sell in January.

At the same time, Samba staged a half-time walk-out after being subject to racial abuse against Torpedo Moscow back in September, and already constituting the second incident of this kind since moving to Russia in 2012, it’s likely he’ll be keen on a return to England too. His family are still based here.

Potential transfer fee:£6million-£8million (but wages could be an issue).

FABIAN SCHAR

Fabian Schar
A more youthful centre-back option for Everton to consider is FC Basel’s Fabian Schar, often linked with north London duo Arsenal and Spurs:

Statistically, the 22 year-old was the best defender in the Champions League last season, as viewable below:

schar cl

And the Swiss international’s World Cup performances weren’t too bad either, making eight interceptions during two outings at Brazil 2014.

A front-footed, goalscoring defender, who once netted this incredible strike during his FC Wil days:

Schar would fit Roberto Martinez’ progressive philosophy perfectly. Here’s another look at him in action:

Like many of the names of his list, his contract is set to expire at the end of the season and a new deal looks unlikely with a plethora of European clubs circling.

There’s still time for Everton to weigh in, but recent speculation suggests Inter Milan are currently leading the race for his signature:

Potential transfer fee:£6million-£10million.

ANDRE AYEW

Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew looks set to become one of the best value-for-money deals of the January window and Everton would be wise to get in on the act.

The Ghana international has emerged as one of the French top flight’s leading widemen over the last few years, racking up 51 goals and 18 assists in 171 appearances for L’OM. That includes this ‘rabona’ finish against Reins earlier this month:

He also enjoyed strong form at the World Cup, as detailed below:

Andre Ayew 2

The 24 year-old isn’t the most conventional wide man but he’s strong defensively, notoriously versatile and as shown in the video below, is outrageously good at heading for a 5 foot 9 winger:

Capable of adopting virtually any role in midfield or attack, Ayew would add quality and depth to Everton’s squad, and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, will be available for a pittance in January.

But there appears to be a plethora of competition for his signature:

And his virtually-guaranteed absence whilst the 2015 African Cup of Nations takes place from January to February remains an issue.

Potential transfer fee:£5million-£8million