Let’s recap this past Saturday’s matchup with West Ham:
That's 2 hours of my life I can't get back.— Brian Foley (@foleysthoughts) April 22, 2017
Now that we have that catatonic performance covered, let’s continue to count down to the summer by wildly speculating about possible transfer.
In this same space last week, I discussed how the development (or lack thereof) of the young, fringe defenders like Matt Pennington and Jonjoe Kenny will be the last domino to fall in determining how to reinforce and reinvigorate the back line for next season’s top four push.
This week, let’s ruminate on the ‘attacking situation.
Now, this conversation begins with, and is ultimately shaped by, how the club decides to progress with Romelu Lukaku.
For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the best and work off the premise that Rom will be suiting up for the Toffees next season.
(There are plenty of future mailbags to deal with…..well…you know what...if it happens)
The golden-boot race leading Belgian has certainly had the most productive season of his career, especially considering his current robust goal total is aided by exactly ZERO PKs.
So assuming he stays around, what type of signings do the Toffees need to make to make a legitimate push into the top four?
Looking at the cache of attacking talent currently held by the Toffees, a fan can find themselves equal parts concerned and optimistic.
The loss of Yannick Bolasie was a blow the squad took a few weeks to get over.
(I wouldn’t be surprised to see a player of similar traits pop up in a Toffees jersey.)
Kevin Mirallas is still earning starts, though his lack of goal production (or creation) make him a better change of pace player off the bench than someone to be counted on to create on a consistent basis.
Because he has consistently shown he can’t.
Enner Valencia is a great spark off the bench, but with our aspirations I see him as a third option as opposed to a second one. He’s just not clinical enough.
With his price tag, however, I don’t see Koeman keeping the South American around to sit that deep on the depth chart.
Aaaron Lennon has obviously seen the end of his chances in the final third, and Arouna Kone is an active member of the AARP.
The emergence of young talents like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman is certainly reason for optimism, though I venture to guess Koeman would prefer to have more Premier League proven scoring talent currently at his disposal.
The short of it:
YEAHHH! Our young guys played a lot!
BOOOOOO! Only because we didn’t have better options.
So who would the front office LIKE to bring in?
Peeking at other attackers Everton have been linked to/ admitted interest in and we see a pattern.
Lucas Perez was snatched out from under our noses when Arsenal made a panic buy at the end of the window, and his skill set seems to be the clearest marker of what Steve Walsh is looking for:
A dynamic threat on goal, Perez holds the ball well and is also incredibly adept at creating space for his own shot, hence the long shots strength.
(He has a ROCKET of a left foot BTW.)
Additionally, Perez also creates for his teammates, and his link up play in a two forward pairing is impressive.
Not a strong aerial player, I would imagine Koeman and Walsh pictured him playing Kevin Mirallas, role except with more threat from distance and as a physical presence, the ability to be an outlet pass so that Lukaku doesn’t have to do it by himself.
Bolasie did this for a while too, it was nice to have Lukaku running off someone else.
Other attacking targets (albeit not forwards) are of similar ilk.
It may seem far-fetched to compare a backup Gunners forward like Perez with more of a #10, but Toffees target Gylfi Siggurdsson shows many of the same strengths as Perez.
Also strong in the final third in both setting up others and finishing himself, Sigurdsson could also slot in as a wide player tucking in, or as a true #10 under Rom.
Either way the Icelandic wizard, much like Perez, shows a propensity for creating for his teammates, as well as himself, and finishing when he finds on the doorstep. (Or in the driveway....Gylfi can really bomb them.)
Toss in his RIDICULOUS set piece prowess and it’s not hard to see why Walsh and Koeman see him as a perfect fit to play with Rom.
In addition to more direct and central forward players like the two just mentioned, I have no doubt that the Toffees will be in the hunt for a ‘winger’ or two who can work outside in and stretch the field.
Looking at his Southampton setup, and based on how he shipped off Gerard Deulofeu, Koeman obviously fancies more diverse skills sets (Sadio Mane) over the technical brilliance and defensive apathy of a player like Geri.
It will certainly be compelling to see how the attack takes form around Lukaku in the 2017-2018 campaign.
Because he’s going to probably most likely hopefully stay!
Ok..enough of that talk.... I don’t want to think about him leaving ANYMORE!
Let’s move forward!
ONTO YOUR QUESTIONS!
Alright alright....my comments above and my increasingly pessimistic Rom-O-Meter deserve a few words.
I wasn’t before.
Now I am.
I think he is going to leave.
I know Totti.....I know....
While the loss of Lukaku would certainly hurt, I do have trust that current management will maximize our profits and reinvest wisely.
I’ll save the long form for next week, which I am sure will be on the heels of a performance that will remind us why his departure will stings so badly, but I’ll leave you with this:
MY THREE WISHES IF LUKAKU LEAVES
1. He heads to somewhere outside the Premier League. Seeing him twice a year would just be too hard.
2. We receive a PROVEN player back in addition to money. (50 million and Dybala sound good to me for example...I know I know.... it won’t happen..... just an example.)
3. He leaves by July so everyone has time to get over it and the new scorers can integrate.
While I am well aware that more than likely none of these wishes will come true, I also never thought I would write a column about Everton that is read by millions of fans world wide on a weekly basis, but here I am today!
Speaking of my millions of readers, if you weren’t able to get your eyes on last week’s mailbag, I began answering the following question:
Following standard journalistic procedures for these types of situations, I immediately tasked myself with determining each squads spirit animal, and providing a brief summary as to why.
Now, onto the top of the table!
PS. I’ve included some incredibly relevant videos for your enjoyment.
Seriously...what do you want me to even put here?