While Phil Neville’s declaration that the Toffees would be challenging for Champions League qualification with a top-class striker leading the line still feels a somewhat partisan one from the former Everton skipper, the quip on Match of the Day 2 no doubt raised an interesting point.
Everton have never come close to replacing Romelu Lukaku, who left for Manchester United at the start of last season, and Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce all in some way ended up paying the price for that.
There isn’t much Marco Silva can do to significantly improve that department until January at the earliest. But in the short-term, is there a solution to Everton’s lack of game-winning quality at the tip of their attack? Football FanCast lay out six strike options for Silva to mull over before Everton’s Premier League clash with Fulham on Saturday and then give our readers the chance to have their say…
Everton paid big money this summer to make Richarlison the left prong of their attack, a position that lacked an obvious long-term candidate throughout last season, but as the club’s Premier League top scorer so far this term there’s certainly some logic to moving him more centrally and getting the prodigious Brazilian that bit closer to the goal.
Richarlison is best famed for his instinctive flair but the 21-year-old can be combative and physical too – which gives him a chance of being equally effective against two centre-halves.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin became Everton’s ad hoc front-man at times last season and although he’s more of a wide forward, the youngster did show some promise at the tip of attack – especially in terms of bringing others into the game.
The 21-year-old has opened his account for this season as well, but it proved too much of a burden for him to start every week under Koeman and the 6 foot 2 attacker still has some way to go in terms of consistency.
Neither managers nor team-mates have particularly warmed to Oumar Niasse during his time on Merseyside yet he’s probably been the club’s most reliable goalscorer since Lukaku’s departure with twelve goals in his last 43 Premier League outings – albeit four of those coming during a loan spell at Hull City.
Certainly not the most glamorous or technically astute of centre-forwards but Silva got a tune out of him for the Tigers and when playing well, the Senegal international does carry genuine goalscoring threat.
Theo Walcott desperately craved opportunities in the central striking role during his time at Arsenal and the former England man would surely snap up the chance to prove himself there once again.
But there’s always the argument not to fix what isn’t broken and Walcott’s managed to net five times from 20 Premier League appearances as a wide-man since leaving the Gunners in January – changing his role from one he’s played in almost exclusively for the Toffees could disrupt that steady flow of goals from out wide.
For all the criticism Cenk Tosun’s received, he’s still averaged one goal or assist every 201 minutes in the Premier League, which isn’t the worst return considering Walcott and Richarlison are both chipping in with goals either side of him, and the Turkish international has shown some momentary glimpses of brilliance during his short stint at Goodison Park – albeit, not as consistently as many would like.
He’s still the best finisher and the most natural striker at the club, so even though Tosun continues to underwhelm perhaps its a case of the devil Silva knows for the time being.
Everton clearly have big plans for Ademola Lookman, or else they would have sanctioned his departure in the summer, but the promising youngster is still waiting for a role in the starting XI to be truly carved out for him. Although he’s considered more of a winger, perhaps that could be centre-forward.
After all, the 20-year-old is frighteningly quick and showed his netting prowess with five goals for Leipzig in the second half of last season. Giving Lookman the nod there would solve two problems – his seeming desire to leave Merseyside and Everton’s need for a convincing option to lead the line. It’s still a pretty big gamble though and one that will require Lookman to adapt quickly.
So, Everton fans, who should play up front when Fulham come to town on Saturday? Let us know by voting below…