Everton Transfer Rumours: Clint Dempsey and 6 Other Realistic Summer Targets
Despite still playing for the territorial bragging rights that would accompany finishing above Liverpool in the table, a lot of the excitement around Everton's season ended after the deflating FA Cup semifinal defeat to Liverpool at Wembley.
With this Premier League campaign almost in the books already, David Moyes has been quick to go on record and state how he would like to conduct his transfer business early this summer, so any new recruits have sufficient time to acclimatise to the club's ethos.
This is a stance many sides will surely adopt, with preseason schedules likely to be severely disrupted by Euro 2012 and the Olympics. Managers will want to act swiftly, as some (Chelsea and Arsenal) already seem to be doing.
For Everton, this depends entirely on how much money can be eked out of the club's notoriously stretched bank balance, guarded by some increasingly antsy bank managers.
Whether money is extracted, raised through the sales of current squad members, or if Moyes is simply forced to look for cut-price deals and free agents, the Toffees will undoubtedly need to look at several wide players.
A trio of loan acquisitions—Steven Pienaar, Royston Drenthe and Landon Donovan—have occupied the wider zones for much of the season. At other times it has been Leon Osman or Seamus Coleman who have filled the gaps, both arguably more suited in alternate positions.
Wide, creative players will surely have to be on David Moyes' agenda, as well as perhaps another striker.
Here is a look at some early targets Everton's manager may well be casting his eye over, all of whom would not leave the club drastically out of pocket.
Hoilett would not significantly dent the club's bank balance, as his contract at Blackburn is set to expire in June, however the youth team product would still require some sort of fee, likely to be set at a tribunal.
An agile attacker, the Canadian international boasts a wide array of skills and is capable on both flanks, but perhaps sits best just behind a striker.
His creative craft has been behind many of Blackburn's better attacking moves, and he has chipped in with a handy return of seven goals in what has been a trying season at the club.
With Ewood Park now consigned to host Championship football next season, Hoilett has almost certainly played his last home game there.
His versatility and pace would fill several voids in Everton's squad and fans would undoubtedly envisage his potential purchase as being an excellent transaction.
The only trouble is, half the Premier League may also be coveting Hoilett's talents.
Comfortably settled in the North West of England for the past eight years, perhaps nearby Everton can convince Hoilett he is best not straying too far from home.
Wigan's recent sprint away from the relegation zone has been nothing short of spectacular, and one of the key catalysts in this surge has been the form of Victor Moses.
Positionally not too dissimilar to Hoilett, Moses is capable on a flank, or just off a front man, areas Everton desperately need boosting this off-season.
He provides pace, and a unique set of skills that has seen him achieve one of the best dribble success rates in the Premier League over this season.
Money has already thwarted the Toffees' progress in the past, and clearly Moses' recent form will have inflated his current value, yet what helpfully quells his price is the fact he has apparently been unwilling to extend his contract, which expires next year.
Since returning to Everton on loan in January, after spending a year on the fringes of the first team at Spurs, Pienaar has been integral to the Toffees' late season charge.
He has created chances, scored goals, and already made more assists than any other player at Everton this season, despite only featuring in 13 league games.
His intricate interplay and outstanding vision adds another dimension of fluidity and speed to the Toffees' passing game, allowing them to penetrate through teams, instead of overly relying on Leighton Baines' crosses.
There have been rumours he wants to remain at Goodison Park, with several tabloids claiming a deal is Everton's priority this summer. David Moyes has certainly not been shy to voice his views on how Pienaar should stay in an environment where he clearly thrives.
With Tottenham reluctant to give him a stage to perform on, hopefully Pienaar will be keen to return permanently, as Moyes has already stated is so.
In terms of price, Rodallega is the ideal fit on this list, as he would be free. His contract expires in June, and his purchase would not require a tribunal, as Junior Hoilett's would.
Naturally a front man, the Colombian is still adept in a wider berth of a 4-2-3-1 formation, a scheme the Toffees often adopt, and his presence would greatly boost David Moyes' attacking options.
Everton have been attributed interest in Rodallega before, in both the previous winter and summer transfer windows. The player himself has even publicly revealed this admiration, so further interest should not be unexpected.
When dissecting the current squad, Nikica Jelavic's scintillating form can easily mask the scare alternative options Moyes has to toy with up front.
Victor Anichebe is unfortunately almost perennially recovering from injury, Denis Stracqualursi is likely to return to Argentina when his loan deal expires, and Apostolos Vellios is still very much a working progress.
Adding Rodallega to the mix would clearly augment the Toffees' fire-power without significantly troubling the bank balance. Is there a free agent currently out there who is better suited to Everton?
One thing Everton have done most seasons is juggle around their reserve goalkeeper.
Marcus Hahnemann, Jan Mucha, Carlo Nash, Iain Turner, John Ruddy, Stefan Wessels, Richard Wright and more have all sat on the bench, watching Tim Howard in action.
The last three reserve stoppers, Hahnemann, Nash and Mucha, have all been fairly advanced in years and have arrived with almost completely developed games.
Mucha and Hahnemann are the current deputies and, with both likely to move on this summer, is it time for Everton to groom an understudy a little more carefully?
Joe Lewis was surprisingly released by Peterborough recently, as the club made drastic changes to their playing staff. Making a move for the 24-year-old could prove a shrewd manoeuvre, especially as Aston Villa had several bids rejected in January for the stopper.
Another free agent, having been exposed to Championship football for a couple of seasons, Lewis may well benefit from honing his skills whilst backing up a Premier League goalkeeper at this stage of his career.
He is not without potential too, still very young in goalkeeping terms, Lewis is a former England Under-21 international, and twice made the senior squad's bench under Fabio Capello.
Everton have been linked with a move in the past, and attaining his signature would make a lot of sense.
Perhaps a player that could command a little too much for Everton, given their financial restraints, yet Jarvis would be an ideal fit for the Toffees.
Naturally left-sided, with exceptional delivery and a strong shot, Moyes could position him on the right cutting in, or complementing Leighton Baines on the left of midfield.
His knack for scoring (he has seven league goals this season) would also help out the Toffees, who have yet to see anyone, bar Nikica Jelavic, pass five Premier League goals this season.
Now that Wolves are officially relegated, the England international is unlikely to remain at Molineux next season, but can Everton muster up enough income to compete for his services?
His recent international recognition will only swell up his value, but should money be raised by selling current squad members, Jarvis should be a target that is very closely considered by the Toffees.
The current pin-up boy of American soccer, Dempsey has had a remarkable season at Fulham, leading them into the top half of the league with 23 goals in all competitions. He has also just become the first American to reach 50 Premier League goals.
With just one year left on his current deal at Fulham, Dempsey's name is a recurring feature of transfer gossip columns at the moment, with many predicting he will be at a new club by the end of the summer.
For all his stunning feats this season, his expiring deal and the fact he is in his 30th year will undoubtedly diminish his value, and make him more approachable to the likes of Everton.
Capable of playing in most midfield roles, as well an attacker, his versatility would be cherished by David Moyes, and the Toffees have been one of the clubs more heavily linked with his transfer thus far.
Again, there may be a few too many competitors in the water for the Toffees' liking, and with such prominent American owners now dictating proceedings at Anfield, would it be a surprise if Liverpool were to make an active pursuit of their nation's poster-boy?
Who would you take on this list? Who else do you see Everton pursuing this summer?
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