As 2012 slowly creeps onto humanity’s calendar, so must the January transfer window darken the mind’s door of many a true football fan. Evertonian hearts yearn for fantastic winter moves, yet the rumors swirling around David Moyes’ side range from a euphoric high to a monochromatic mess of disillusionment and discontent.
All onlookers agree that Everton need goals, and the quickest way to produce them would be to employ the services of a striker who can score them. With Louis Saha invisible, Tim Cahill visibly struggling, Apostolos Vellios inconsistent and Leighton Baines a defender, the Toffees’ only recourse seems to be movement in January.
Strikers aplenty highlight the following list, but that position is not Everton’s only need.
Landon Donovan’s arrival will act as a balm for a chaffed, stiff midfield, but the effect will only be temporary. The unit needs a long-term cure, and Donovan isn’t quite the pill they’re looking for, with the American primed to race back to Los Angeles once his two-month loan spell is concluded.
Everton could use some attack-minded players up front and center, but the back line could also use polishing. Neither Johnny Heitinga nor Sylvain Distin has solidified a starting center-back role alongside Phil Jagielka, so perhaps Moyes would like a fresh talent in defense.
Whichever void Moyes attempts to fill, he’ll have to do it—as always—on a strict budget. Evertonians know full well the cash limitations chairman Bill Kenwright has despite the promise of more January spending money. Still, Moyes has a history of generating more with less, and will need to do so again in 2012.
Consider this list of 10 rumored Everton targets to sign as possibilities for a brighter future.
Already a proven trafficker in under-21 attacking talent (read: Apostolos Vellios), it should come as no surprise that Everton would be keen on signing the prolific Rory Donnelly from Cliftonville come January.
Already with 17 goals to his name, the Irish lad has caught the attention of several Premier League clubs, most notably Liverpool and Swansea. Emitting a palpable desperation for goals, David Moyes recently threw his hat into the ring for the 19-year-old.
It’s unlikely that Donnelly would immediately make a move to the first team should Everton acquire his services, but with such a dire goal situation, anything is possible. An infusion of more young talent might be just what the club needs.
The American international is no longer a rumor, inking a two-month deal with Everton just weeks ago, but many have wondered why Landon Donovan doesn’t make the move permanent.
If the 29-year-old proves as effective the second time around as he was in 2009, supporters will cry out to the Toffee brass to make Donovan an offer he can’t refuse. Despite Donovan’s insistence on staying with L.A. Galaxy for the foreseeable future, he should be competing on the highest level, and that means significant time in England.
To be sure, the club will gain a boost in profile while the American star plies his trade at Goodison Park. Already owning a soft spot in the United States due to its employment of keeper Tim Howard, Everton could take a huge step closer to becoming America’s team with a long-term Donovan signing.
Hopefully, Donovan’s second stint at the People’s Club is as eventful as his first. The side needs his nose for goals if they are to move forward.
Already sporting Everton blue, the signing of loaner Royston Drenthe might not be the worst move Everton could make in January.
Since his arrival from Real Madrid at the end of the summer transfer window, Drenthe has caught Goodison Park by storm, adding verve and creativity to the Toffee midfield that has been severely lacking. When the Dutchman was sidelined by injury recently, the club looked noticeably more bland and straightforward with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov filling the role.
Drenthe’s crowd-pleasing flair has not only brought life back into the Everton midfield, but also a sense of purpose. He’s got enough ideas to manufacture chances on a consistent basis, and seems to be inspired every time he’s on the ball.
A midfield with Drenthe and Landon Donovan manning the wings is a tasty proposition indeed.
While Madrid will raise the price on Drenthe after his successful loan spell, David Moyes should extend a permanent contract to the midfielder in January. The Toffee manager has already expressed interest in such a move if Drenthe can continue his run of good form.
David Moyes has reached out to the New York Red Bulls’ designated player for a short loan spell, but little has come of it. At 34, Henry barely has enough in the tank for his MLS side, much less a Premiership one.
Though the 209 goals he scored for Arsenal and Barcelona in his heyday look an appeasing prospect, the fact is Everton would not be getting that Henry. The Frenchman would be more effective in a leadership role than he would be in front of goal.
Still, if for some reason Henry did arrive at Goodison Park, the response from supporters shouldn’t all be negative. However, here’s hoping that Moyes can do better. It won’t be hard.
A tantalizing prospect for many Evertonians, the acquisition of striker Federico Macheda could do wonders for the Toffees’ attack.
Little-used at Manchester United, the 20-year-old Italian has shown interest in a loan move within the Premeir League despite his protestations of United loyalty. It’s a fair statement from a gifted young attacker who can’t get a game at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson is spoiled for choice up front, and Macheda can’t seem to make the cut.
For the record, Everton already tried for the youngster last January and were rebuffed, but hope springs eternal in Merseyside. Macheda could usher in a more positive two-striker formation, giving Louis Saha and Apostolos Velliosa a partner to bounce ideas off of. Who knows, perhaps his arrival might change Tim Cahill’s luck up front?
Macheda is one of the better options for Everton out there at the moment, and David Moyes should try for another loan contract.
An intriguing prospect out of Bristol City, forward Nicky Maynard could be a viable option up front for Everton. At only 25 years old, the Englishman has plenty of football left in him, so why not spend it in Toffee blue?
Since joining the Robins in 2008, Maynard has netted over 40 goals in the Championship, including seven during the current campaign. As a forward, Maynard provides flexibility in attack that a pure striker might lack.
Maynard might not be the best option out there for Everton, but he’s far from the worst. He’ll be best utilized as a strike partner rather than a lone man up front, again heralding a positive formation change for David Moyes.
If David Moyes seeks to improve the defense in January, Mexican center-back Hector Moreno might be a possible choice.
Already linked to clubs like Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Benfica and Palermo, Moreno would be a fine addition to any back line. A partnership with Phil Jagielka would give Everton a world-class center of defense.
If Moyes decides to pursue a defensive course of action in January, he’ll need to get players like Moreno to keep games close.
Moreno has been solid for Espanyol, but perhaps the time has come to move to a more high-profile club. Everton might not have the money to purchase the defender—valued at around £8 million—but a contract attempt could be made.
Another defensive option, Emiliano Moretti could be employed as a veteran backup to Leighton Baines on the left of defense. Moretti might be convinced to leave Genoa if the right money was offered. The Toffees tried for him years ago, but were unsuccessful.
Unfortunately, David Moyes lacks the funds that could pry the 30-year-old Italian loose, and it might not be the best choice to spend money on one of the few positions that doesn’t need help.
Still, Moretti has proven stalwart over his long senior career and could give Moyes the freedom to move Baines further up the pitch, perhaps as a holding midfielder where he could be more central to the action.
It’s absolutely true that Everton need a change of emphasis formation-wise, and Moretti might be the man to help them along.
Once an Everton cast-off, Steven Pienaar could be making his return to Goodison Park after being sold relatively recently to Tottenham.
Injuries and poor form have kept the South African midfielder out of Spurs’ first team for most of his spell in North London. Pienaar has only seen limited action in cup play, and might feel underused on a team that seems to be doing quite well without him.
David Moyes has reached out to the former Everton Player of the 2009-10 season, but it’s unclear if Pienaar has reciprocated.
With Landon Donovan realizing that once a Toffee, always a Toffee, it’s time for Pienaar to come to the same concussion. It’s just as Cheers said: It's great to go where everybody knows your name.
Mohamed Sissoko seems content to remain in Paris with PSG for a few more years, but the irresistible siren call from the River Mersey might prove too much in the end.
Primarily a defensive midfielder, Sissoko has played for four top-flight clubs in four different European leagues since 2003, with his most recent stop in England as a member of Liverpool.
Sissoko didn’t entirely disappoint during his time as a Red, and could be yearning for the rarified northern air once again. Really, who wants to spend their career in Paris?
While Everton should be looking to spend their money on attackers, and Sissoko is unlikely to be pried from France, it might not be the best fit. Still, David Moyes has made an inquiry for the 26-year-old, hoping for the best.