With doubt surrounding the potential loan of Lacina Traore, the question is; if this transfer is cancelled what is Roberto Martinez’s Plan B?
With Arouna Kone’s knee injury look to be ruling him out for most of his first season with the Blues, the sale of Nikica Jelavic and Romelu Lukaku’s exhaustion affecting his form, Martinez looked to bring in Traore to further freshen up his attacking options following the arrival of Aiden McGeady.
The Ivorian only signed for AS Monaco at the start of the month but the signing was obviously one for the future, given the striker’s age and the fact Monaco accepted a loan offer from West Ham United less than a week after he had arrived.
Traore failed the medical at the Hammers due to a hamstring injury. Everton then had a loan bid accepted for the ‘Gentle Giant’ and this time Traore did pass his medical in Liverpool earlier in the week. He was then granted a work permit and it was a case of dotting the ‘I’s’ and crossing the ‘T’s’ to complete the loan deal until the end of the season.
That was until star striker Radamel Falcao injured his left knee in a challenge with Soner Ertek on Wednesday night playing in the Coupe de France for Monaco. Scans on the Columbian’s knee revealed that he would need a sixth month lay-off which will ultimately rule him out of World Cup action in the summer.
If Monaco decide to keep Traore as a result of Falcao’s injury, Martinez must look to purchase a striker going into the final week of the transfer window. But how will the Spaniard approach this dilemma? There is speculation of opening talks with Standard Liege over Michy Batshuayi, although if a deal was going to be struck for the Belgian in January you would think it would have already been completed. If that is the case will Martinez look for a foreign import?
It would be more assuring if the Toffees signed a proven Premier League goal scorer but there aren’t many around, even less available in January and further less not for an inflated price. Perhaps the solution derives from taking a punt on a Championship goal scorer. Forwards such as Jordan Rhodes, Charlie Austin, Danny Ings, Ross McCormack and Adam Le Fondre have all scored goals consistently in the lower leagues. Even though strikers in lower divisions will cost less there is an increased element of risk that they will not make the grade in the elite division, and are they names that will push the Toffees into a Champions League position? Who knows, it can often be like Russian roulette buying from divisions below. On the one hand you could sign another Tim Cahill and on the other you could sign another Jermaine Beckford.
One thing is for certain, if Everton want to convert a great start to the season into a great season they must acquire a striker. Given the circumstances of Kone, Jelavic and Lukaku as well as the lack of trust in and opinion of Apostolos Vellios, whether it is Lacina Traore who arrives or not, it is imperative that the Toffees recruit another striker.