With chairman Bill Kenwright currently strapped for cash, don't expect Everton to be exceptionally busy during the upcoming January 2012 transfer window. With the Toffees unable to contract players long term, expect most if not all of their incoming moves to be either loan deals or free signings.
That being said, manager David Moyes should still be on the lookout for new (and old) players who can help remedy Everton's lack of finishing quality.
The People's Club created more scoring chances than Manchester United last weekend, out-shooting the Red Devils 14-5 yet coming away with zero goals. Everton showed a scoring touch recently against Fulham, beating the Cottagers 3-1, but they have yet to do so against the Premiership’s top sides.
With no money and little hope for Europe, here are five deals the Toffee head man should at least try in January.
Of all the summer signings Everton was capable of, the contracting of Royston Drenthe has been one of their best. The Dutchman has been a superb asset so far on loan and should merit a permanent signing.
With a handful of goals already to his name, the fan-favorite Drenthe would be a welcome sight for years to come in Everton blue. While his improved form will doubtless attract a higher fee from Real Madrid, Bill Kenwright would be well served to make Drenthe a priority signing. A show of support during the January window might go a long way in negotiating.
Drenthe provides an athleticism and flair that the Toffee midfield has sometimes lacked. His pace in the midfield creates more opportunities and excites the crowd. His goal from range against Fulham was top class, and Everton would benefit from seeing more of its like.
While they might not be able to afford him now, David Moyes should remember Drenthe come January.
Sold to Tottenham mere months ago, David Moyes could be eying the return of Steven Pienaar to Merseyside.
The former Everton winger has yet to make an impact on Spurs, with groin injury in August hampering his chances to settle in with the first team. With a contract of only £3 million, bringing back the South African might be one of the highest value moves Moyes can make.
While he wasn't a superstar in Merseyside, he could be expected to start often and provide a bit of pace and experience on the wing.
Everton was so keen on Pienaar the first time he played for them as a loaner for Borussia Dortmund that once the loan expired, the Toffees promptly signed him. Perhaps that lost love can be rekindled come January.
Of the few players Everton can hope to actually buy, American defender George John could be in the running.
Speculation has emerged surrounding David Moyes' interest in the 24-year-old as a rotation man for his back line. While it's hard to imagine that John would start as soon as he puts on the blue, he might become a reliable substitute for Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin or Tony Hibbert on the wing.
Moyes will need to act fast, as John's interest in the Premiership and relatively cheap £2 million price tag has already attracted other suitors. Over the summer, Blackburn Rovers came close to signing the American for a reported £1.8 million before talks fell through.
While the effect won't be intimidate, John could provide some defensive depth as the league season chunders on. Freshness on defense will be key to limit late goals, something Everton must do to stay competitive this season.
Multiple sources have linked David Moyes with BSC Young Boys' midfielder David Degen, and with the Swiss international likely to come cheap, the move isn't out of the question.
Degen has become a mainstay in the Swiss side, appearing in 10 matches this season with a goal and three assists already to his name. Young Boys are only three points off the Axpo Super League leaders FC Basel, and have benefited from Degen's distribution.
While Degen looks to be within Everton's price range, he would fill the same roll as Steven Pienaar at right wing. Put a choice of the two men, while Pienaar would be a welcome sight, his contract compared with Degen's might be the decisive aspect.
With the Toffees strapped for cash, it isn't hard to imagine that Moyes would go for the bargain then pay up for a player who already got himself transferred out of Goodison Park.
With limited options, Degen might be one of the better moves that Everton can make come January. They will have company in the hunt for his contract, as the Serie A side Fiorentina are reportedly sniffing around as well.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is quickly falling out of favor at Goodison Park, and should be dealt for cash come January.
His poor distribution was on full display last weekend against Manchester United, and with Everton already lacking clinical touches in the midfield, Bilyaletdinov compounds the problem. With Ross Barkley on the upswing and Royston Drenthe in encouraging form, the Russian should not be making the starting XI.
Selling Bilyaletdinov opens up some money, however little, for David Moyes to sign a younger, more consistent player who touch isn't so suspect. While it's true that Bilyaletdinov has scored some fantastic goals in Toffee career, past successes aren't enough to keep hm around when his present has been so lackluster.