Next up in our player by player review of the past Everton season, in which each individual will be recapped and rated is: Cenk Tosun
As much as the vast majority of Evertonians have wanted it to, Cenk Tosun’s career at Goodison Park has just never got going.
Signed from Besiktas for £27 million in January 2018, he was cited by then-manager Sam Allardyce as the key to steering the Blues further clear of any lingering relegation worries.
Tosun’s work rate has never come under question, and his desperate desire to succeed at Goodison is obvious and has endeared him to many Blues fans. And with five goals in 12 Everton appearances in 2017-18, hopes were high that he could continue his decent return into his first full campaign.
Sadly, though, it did not transpire like that. Strikers live and die by their goal record, and Tosun’s four strikes in 29 appearances this term is a meagre return for a player of whom so much was expected.
If he does not move on this summer, he has to improve markedly in this area next season, or his chances in Marco Silva’s side will become increasingly slim.
Tosun’s 10 per cent conversion rate rather tells its own story of how his season went in front of goal, while little more than half of his 31 shots were on target.
For such an imposing figure, a 39.8 per cent success rate in his 93 aerial duels may also seem a disappointing return, and perhaps outlines further why Silva clearly feels Tosun has not done enough to continue warranting his inclusion on the team sheet.
Tosun could not accuse Silva of only giving him sporadic opportunities in his starting XI - indeed, he began the season as Everton’s first-choice striker, starting all of their first five league games.
Understandably, though, Silva lost patience with him when the goals never came, and the Turkish forward eventually lost his place up top; first to winger Richarlison, and later to the younger yet more mobile Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The issue with Tosun at Everton does not end at his poor strike rate, though. Patently, his more aggressive, physical style of play is at odds with Silva’s more dynamic, fluid approach. In that sense, it is easy to see why Calvert-Lewin, with his quicker feet and greater aerial threat, has become the manager’s preference, despite him also lacking goals.
Calvert-Lewin’s profligacy can perhaps be forgiven considering he is only 22 and still learning his trade. Tosun was bought as the finished article, so such an excuse for the 27-year-old does not wash with him, as industrious as he may be.
To put it bluntly, Everton should look to sell Tosun this summer.
With Silva at the helm, it is difficult to see how he can adapt to his manager’s methods, and while Calvert-Lewin looks as if he is improving with each game, Tosun offers little encouragement in that regard and seems bereft of confidence; a man who knows he is on borrowed time.
There is no doubt the Toffees have more pressing needs to attend to than offloading Tosun before next season begins, but it would probably be best for both parties if this one was written off as another expensive mistake from the club.
Clearly a lovely individual with an impeccable attitude, there would be a tinge of sadness should Tosun leave. Everton have had countless bad apples poisoning the squad in recent years; he is not of them.
But, as Silva and director of football Marcel Brands have already shown with the phasing out of Leighton Baines at left-back or loaning Oumar Niasse to Cardiff City, for instance, there is no room for sentiment if the Blues are to progress.
Tosun will not look back on this season fondly, even if it was not for the want of trying. He just isn’t the answer for Silva’s Everton.