Cenk Tosun is off to a tough start this season. After bagging five goals in 14 appearances in the 2017-18 season, the Turkish striker only just broke his goal duck a couple of games ago against Fulham. While presented with a number of opportunities, the 27-year-old just seems stuck in a bit of a rut from where he should be able to play himself back into form.
His struggles meanwhile have opened the door for Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The young England Under-21 striker has already gotten four starts, while the Senegal international has made four substitute appearances.
Marco Silva ended up making a change for this last game at Leicester City, choosing to push Richarlison into the striker role with Bernard looking pretty good in his last couple of appearances at left wing.
Richarlison hasn’t necessarily succeeded at the striker position, though in the Premier League for Watford FC he’d only played as striker or second striker on four occasions. Only one of those appearances was while Silva was in charge, ironically enough a 2-1 win over Leicester City.
However, that was enough to get the transfer rumour mill churning furiously, especially with the notoriously unreliable Turkish media. Niasse has been linked with Galatasaray for a long time now, and it really looked he was heading there this summer. More recent rumours have suggested that Everton and Besiktas already have a deal in place for a Tosun return in the January transfer window.
By no means do we know if Marco Silva is thinking of Richarlison as the permanent solution on the basis of Saturday’s performance, but initial indications say no. The Brazilian is always better when running at defenders than at holding up the ball and bringing his teammates into play. Against static, towering hulks like Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire, Richarlison was always going to put them under the cosh. However, against more mobile defenders he will simply get eaten alive and disappear.
It is no coincidence that Silva decided to use Richarlison at striker against Leicester, but quite doubtful that he stays there for every game. Meanwhile, it’s upon the trio of Tosun, Calvert-Lewin and Niasse to show Silva during training that they can fit into his system and can make the necessary goal contributions, via assists if needed, that he demands from all his forwards.
The winter window is always a difficult time to find quality replacements, so it will be interesting to see if first of all Everton decide to go out and get a striker, and if indeed they do get one, then which of their existing forwards gets sent out.