The January transfer window has finally closed, and for the most part, Everton made out well.
For David Moyes, his shopping list was all crossed off.
Goal-scoring striker? Check. Nikica Jelavic heads south from Glasgow Rangers to ply his trade for another side in blue. Though he has only played 30 minutes for his new club, look for Jelavic to find his way into the first team soon.
Incisive winger? Check. South African star man Steven Pienaar returns from a stint at White Hart Lane to give Everton pace on the flank once Landon Donovan returns to Los Angeles. His chemistry with Leighton Baines is self-evident.
Defensive help? Check. Darron Gibson might make an impact in front of goal as he did against Manchester City, but more often he’ll be holding down midfield with Marouane Fellaini. On the periphery at Old Trafford, Gibson should make a more substantial impact in Merseyside.
But what of the future? A mid-table finish seems in the cards for Everton in 2012, but the summer transfer window will allow hope to spring eternal once again. The Toffees might still be cash-strapped, but we can dream.
Here are six players Everton should consider for the summer.
Fiorentina winger Alessio Cerci might be on his way out of Serie A football, with his Italian side recently giving him the high sign to look elsewhere. Delio Rossi’s system change is not inclusive for the outside man, and with Everton still running their 4-2-3-1, a move to Merseyside could be in order.
With three goals in this year’s league campaign, Cerci could certainly boost an Everton starting XI in need of scoring. Royston Drenthe and Pienaar certainly can score when called upon, but behind them there aren’t many proven wingers off the bench. Everton can only rely on young players like Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley so often.
Though predicted to move in January, Cerci will stay in Florence until season’s end. Once the summer transfer window rolls around, the electric 24-year-old should be on the move, and if they can afford him, there’s no reason why Everton shouldn’t be in the bidding.
Ederzito Antonio Macedo Lopes, better known as Ederzito to the footballing public, is little known outside Portugal, but the 24-year-old Academica striker has caught the eye of the sports inside men.
Everton were taking a look at the young man from Guinea-Bissau last January, but a deal never materialized. With seven goals across all competitions so far this year, Ederzito has proven he can score at a high rate, and would be an asset for any side up front.
Everton has been a team generally devoid of pace up front, something most of the top sides in the Premiership can’t claim. England’s top league demands quickness up front to test the opposing back line, and Ederzito could answer the call.
While the common thought process surrounding Everton this past transfer window was to get a goal scorer, perhaps David Moyes should be looking to deepen his defense as well. If he considers that approach, Lewis Dunk could be his man.
Injuries to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin have underlined how thin Everton are in experience along the center of defense. One day Shane Duffy will be able to adequately fill the role, but not now. A makeshift stop-gap of Tony Hibbert and Johnny Heitinga, though they looked good against Manchester City, cannot last with both men playing slightly out of position.
Playing currently for Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship, Dunk is a promising English talent currently in the nation’s under-21 side. At only 20 years old, Dunk has a lot to learn, but he wouldn’t be asked to start right off the bat. Depth, not a lack of competent starters, is Moyes’ defensive problem, and Dunk could provide that while getting experience in the top flight.
Dunk should prove a cheap option to augment the Toffees defense when the summer transfer window rolls around.
Despite his advancing age, there’s a sense that 27-year-old Kenwyne Jones still has some great football ahead of him. Why not find it at Everton?
Since signing with Stoke City in 2010, Jones has yet to truly make his mark. Now used mostly in a substitute role with the addition of Peter Crouch, Jones could find himself on the move to a club where he could see more time on the pitch.
If playing time is what he craves, Everton could be a solid destination. Jelavic looks like a good buy from Rangers at the moment, but if he doesn’t pan out, another skilled striking option would be a valuable asset.
The one problem—as it always seems to be—is money. Should Moyes reach for Jones in the summer, he might not be able to afford him, and even if the club does find the money, there’s not guarantee of return on or off the pitch.
Still, Jones could be a positive option for Everton next year.
The African Cup of Nations couldn’t come sooner for Chelsea’s little-used Salomon Kalou, for I imagine the bench has been getting uncomfortable game after game. The 26-year-old Ivorian is all but forgotten in West London, and it’s time for a move.
Few teams were eager to spring for the high-priced Kalou this past January with the African Cup looming, but that shouldn’t be the case this summer. Kalou brings pace and a nose for goal along the wing, and would be a huge get for any side in the Premiership. Everton would do well to be in for him when the time comes.
Problem is, they’re likely to get outbid by a team from overseas. Kalou could easily find himself a home in Germany, Spain, Italy or even Holland, making Everton probably one the lower bidders.
Still, it’s fun to dream. Speaking of dreaming…
One question: Why not?
After publicly refusing to come on against Bayern Munich last year, Carlos Tevez has been a virtual outcast at Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. Essentially unused since his spat with the manager, Tevez seemed to be on his way out in January, but improbably no team took up his contract.
The January transfer window is a tricky period, with no team wanting to splash the cash unnecessarily or on a less than sure thing. Tevez, with his transfer fee certainly north of £20 million, was apparently too much of a risk to take. Again, the summer should change all of that.
Most of the big teams in England and abroad will seek to claim his services, and Everton should be one of the many clamoring voices. Do they have the money to outbid the top clubs? No. Should they try? Absolutely.
The aggressive Argentinian has proven goal-scoring credentials and will instantly impact any team he wants to play for, with the emphasis on want. With high risk, but high reward, don’t expect Tevez to be wearing City sky blue come September. Can’t you imagine him an Everton shirt?