With Spanish striker Sandro Ramirez officially under contract at Everton, the Toffees have to begin assembling their Romelu Lukaku replacement plan. Sandro is quick, young, and impressed at the UEFA U-21 Euros — there’s reason to be optimistic about his future on Merseyside.
Assuming Lukaku leaves, Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh still have much more work to do before the club has a respectable attacking corps going into the start of the season. Enner Valencia and Arouna Kone also left the club this summer, leaving Sandro and fellow youngsters Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman as the club’s only true strikers.
With the Toffees’ tactics for next season still up in the air — Will they deploy one or two strikers? Will they move to three at the back? Will there be a true No. 10? — it’s hard to be sure exactly how much more help the club needs up front.
Needless to say though, at least one new striker needs to come to Goodison to either partner with or start ahead of Sandro. Below I’ve compiled a list of strikers — all of whom have at least briefly been linked to the Toffees — who might fit in at Everton.
The Basics: Let’s start with the least enticing of the bunch — the Toffees have been linked to West Bromwich Albion’s Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon. He isn’t flashy, but he’s big, strong, and brings decent hold-up play.
Key Stat: He has scored 18 goals in 78 matches in his time at West Brom. That obviously isn’t great, even if you factor in the caveat that he’s playing with an offensively anemic club. Could an improvement in the talent around him spark a higher output?
Would He Come to Everton: If West Brom is truly willing to part with the Venezuelan, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be keen on a move to a bigger club. It probably wouldn’t take a ton of money to pry the 27-year-old away from Tony Pulis either, at least not in the age of new Everton.
The Basics: Rumors regarding the 19-year-old Danish striker began to emerge around the same time Everton’s interest in Davy Klaassen was made known. His former Ajax teammate Klaassen has obviously already made his move to Merseyside, but reports on Dolberg have since dried up. He scored 16 goals in 29 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax this season, a good haul for such a young player, securing the league’s young player of the year award.
Key Stat: Dolberg scored six goals in 934 minutes of play in the Europa League next season — with those goals coming against some quality sides such as Standard Liege, Celta Vigo, FC Copenhagen, and Lyon. Those goals mean a little bit more than the ones scored in the inferior Dutch league — an indication that he might not be totally out of place in the Premier League.
Would He Come to Everton: Ajax’s bread and butter is developing and selling on talented young players, so there’s no reason to think the club wouldn’t let him go at the right price. Dolberg himself has proven to be good enough to test his mettle on a bigger stage, even at such a young age. The ultimate question is whether Everton thinks he’s good enough to pay a potentially substantial sum for him — and if they think he’s already good enough to be a go-to player up top.
The Basics: This 22-year-old is big, strong, quick, and can play as a central attacker or out wide — bringing athleticism and flexibility the Toffees may need in Lukaku’s absence. Despite a fair amount of time in Europe’s top flights though, it’s still tough to say what his best position might be, and if he’d be capable of shouldering the load as a first-choice central striker.
Key Stat: Niang, who is under contract with AC Milan, has spent the past six years with five different clubs across Europe, most recently an underwhelming loan spell at Watford. The Frenchman has loads of potential, but he’s yet to put all the pieces together, and questions about his attitude certainly don’t help perception of the player.
Would He Come to Everton: The Toffees were reportedly willing to pay £16 million for Niang, a price that would surely be high enough for Milan to part with a player who has yet to factor into their regular first-team equation in his five years with the club. Only one question remains then — would Niang want to come to Everton?
The Basics: By all rights, the Nigerian forward could have been a superstar by now if not stuck behind Sergio Aguero and now Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City. At only 20 years old, Iheanacho has scored six times in 10 appearances with his national team, not to mention 21 goals in 64 Manchester City appearances in all competitions. He’s a big, strong forward who doesn’t quite fit in Pep Guardiola’s system — but that doesn’t make him any less of a potential star.
Key Stat: In his two seasons at Manchester City, Iheanacho is averaging .86 goals per 90 minutes in all competitions — a ludicrously good return, even factoring in the quality of his attacking teammates and the often less-than-stellar ability of his opposition. He might not, now or ever, be the most technically-gifted striker, but that rate of scoring is impressive for any player, much less a 20 year old.
Would He Come to Everton: With Guardiola’s potential issues with Aguero sorted out (for now, at least) and Gabriel Jesus and Nolito both in the team as well, City seem willing to sell the Nigerian. West Ham United and Leicester City seem to be the teams in pole position for the striker as things stand now — but Everton would surely be a more interesting place for Iheanacho if the Toffees expressed interest. The club has higher aspirations than both West Ham and Leicester, and likely equal playing time to offer the young striker as well.
The Telegraph has reported that £25 million will be needed to pry the Nigerian away from City — and more interestingly, that Guardiola may seek a buy-back clause as part of any deal. Could those factors be what stands in the way of interest from Everton?
The Basics: Perhaps the most accomplished player of the bunch, the Colombian striker Bacca could soon be out of favor at AC Milan. Forwards Gianluca Lapadula and Andre Silva have both been signed by the Italian club in the last 12 months, potentially signaling a slide down the depth chart for Bacca. In what could fairly be called a down season in 2016-17, the 30-year-old still put up 13 goals and 3 assists in 26 starts and 6 bench appearances.
Key Stat: Since arriving in European football with Sevilla in the 2013-14 season, has scored 76 goals in the equivalent of 131 matches worth of minutes — essentially scoring .58 goals per 90 minutes in his four seasons with Sevilla and AC Milan. Everton could represent a logical next step for Bacca, as the Toffees are to the English Premier League what Sevilla and AC Milan are to La Liga and Serie A, respectively — very good teams knocking on the door of the country’s upper echelon.
Would He Come to Everton: If Milan is truly ready to sell the Colombian, Everton would be a sensible new home. He’s talented enough to be a regular starter on Merseyside, yet wouldn’t make the cut at teams substantially better than the Toffees. Of course, that would require Bacca to move to a third foreign country in six years, and for the Toffees and Milan to agree on a price.
The striker was reportedly one of the players on Steve Walsh’s radar during his trip to Italy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean interest from the club has continued.
The Basics: Giroud has spent the last five seasons in England, playing with Arsenal. He’s got 69 goals in 164 matches across all competitions in that time, and turns 31 in September. At 6’4”, he’s a constant threat in the air, and decent with his feet for a player of his stature.
Key Stat: Even in a season in which he was not a featured option for the Gunners, Giroud averaged 1 goal every 100 minutes of Premier League play in 2016-17. He’s not the creative force that teammate Alexis Sanchez or even Romelu Lukaku is, but he’s a damn good finisher.
Would He Come to Everton: If Arsenal does indeed look to sell Giroud (likely following the signing of Alexandre Lacazette and/or Kylian Mbappe), Everton would be the most sensible choice for the Frenchman, provided he wants to stay in England. The Toffees are easily the country’s best team in which he’d be a regular first-team player. But, his wages could be a potential stumbling block, as could a desire to return home to play in France.
Who would you prefer to see Everton add at striker?
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