The January transfer window is rapidly approaching and as we have been made to believe, new manager Carlo Ancelotti will have plenty of money to spend on new players for Everton if he so chooses.
However, in comments to the media, it appears the savvy Italian is not looking to make wholesale changes to the squad in a few days. When asked if the Blues will be in the market for a new striker, he was quite blunt -
“No, we didn’t talk about this but, for sure, I am not asking for a striker because upfront we are really good.
“Anyway, we didn’t talk about this because I think until January 5 we have to be focused on these games, we have four games. After that we can talk if we need something or not.”
As quoted by the Echo, he added that he is only looking to bring in “one or two” players to the squad next month. That January 5th date is relevant, because Everton take on Liverpool in the FA Cup Second Round, and should the Blues lose, then the schedule from there on out is fixed and it’s one game a week for the remaining 17 Premier League fixtures.
While Twitter outrage has been palpable about Ancelotti suggesting the Blues are not going to be looking for a striker, it’s also not unreasonable especially if he’s only looking to add a couple of players.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in good form right now and is scoring at the rate of a goal every two games. Moise Kean was one of the players that Ancelotti wanted to bring to Napoli in his previous role, so we can assume he knows what he has on his hands there. Richarlison has also been scoring consistently and seems to be settling into this auxiliary striker role when the Blues go two up-top.
These were the manager’s comments on Calvert-Lewin after yesterday’s win -
“He is a fantastic striker in my opinion, strong with the head.
”Where he can improve and he has to improve is the movement without the ball. He has to be more focused on the goal.
“He is really generous so he moves up and down, left and right, he has to stay, in my opinion, more focused in the centre of the box.”
Even if the rumours of interest in Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse come true and the pair leave in January, the Blues are much better suited to giving youngsters like Anthony Gordon (as a winger) and Ellis Simms a chance to prove themselves over keeping the pair.
Speaking of rumours, apparently Manchester United are targeting Richarlison. Well, don’t even bother with that one, because Everton can happily quote them a nine-figure sum for him, and if they are willing to pay it’s a great deal for the Blues.
The Blues needs in central defence and midfield right now are much more pressing than anywhere else. Michael Keane is currently playing like he’s afraid of his own shadow, which means Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate will play every game from here on out. The former has proven to be not infallible when it comes to injuries while the latter occasionally shows lapses of judgement which he will have to grow past.
Injuries in the middle of the park have decimated the Blues gameplans this season. Jean-Philippe Gbamin is still out for a number of weeks (if not months), while Andre Gomes is moving around but yet to resume training. Morgan Schneiderlin could start working with the squad again around now, while Alex Iwobi is unlikely to return to the squad until mid- to late-January. Fabian Delph is back now, but has struggled with injuries himself while Gylfi Sigurdsson has been pressed into action as a midfielder, though his legs appear to be gone as well with half a season still to play. Bernard as a pseudo #10 did well yesterday, but is rarely capable of going the full ninety himself.
Director of Football Marcel Brands has often said that he is not a fan of the January transfer window due to the inflated prices and that real value is often hard to get in that period.
With that in mind, it really will not be a surprise to see Everton make just a couple of signings next month, or even possibly just loan deals, as they try to make room on the wage bill by getting rid of more players and focus their energies on a big summer.
PS - It is fun hearing some of the rumour mill chatter on players we’re being linked with now that Ancelotti is in charge though ;-)