Next up in our review of the past Everton season, in which each area of the pitch will be recapped and rated, is strikers, featuring Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun.
Coming into the 2019 summer transfer window, the striker situation was full of uncertainty. Was Richarlison a true, full-time lone striker? Could Dominic Calvert-Lewin take a step up to the next level? Would the club need to bring in another striker?
Thankfully, all of the answers to those questions were solved over the course of this season. First, on August 4, the club announced the signing of young, promising Italian striker Moise Kean from Juventus, a signing that caught the eyes of many around the world.
Despite the signing, though, Calvert-Lewin started off up top with Richarlison starting on the right and Kean and Cenk Tosun finding themselves on the bench. Quickly, that changed as the team scored just six goals in eight games and Marco Silva was in desperate need of a change.
Still the goals failed to come, resulting in the sacking of Marco Silva and the hiring of Carlo Ancelotti. The new hire brought hope and excitement not only for fans, but for players, too, and it showed on the pitch. The only player to not benefit from a new manager - Tosun, who still saw little playing time before being loaned out to Crystal Palace in January.
- Calvert-Lewin began the season starting three games as the lone striker before being used as a sub in five of the next eight matches, while Richarlison, Kean and Tosun tried to solve Everton’s early scoring woes. Calvert-Lewin would quickly regain his starting role back, though, starting up top in every game he played in for the rest of the season before he was used as a sub in the final match against Bournemouth.
- Richarlison made 21 starts as a striker for Everton this season, often playing in a two-striker system with Calvert Lewin on his side. He also found himself playing on the left and right wings, specifically during the Silva era of 2019-20. The Brazilian started every single match he played in this season.
- Both Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin played just more than 3000 minutes this season, each scoring 15 goals apiece. The pair also had five total assists together.
- Kean started just six games for the club, making 24 more appearances off the bench, managing two goals and two assists over that time. The Italian striker scored a goal in each of his last two starts for the club.
- Tosun made just five appearances for the club, scoring just one goal in his substitute appearance against Tottenham, before being loaned out to Crystal Palace where he played five more times before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury that ended his season.
There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding this position before the season started and the beginning of the season didn’t help to answer any questions. Richarlison was undeniably the best of this group coming into 2019-20 (and he certainly didn’t disappoint), but the club needed more from the traditional strikers on their roster.
It took some time, but Calvert-Lewin finally made his breakthrough this season as he went on a tear after the firing of Silva. Before Silva was sacked, he had just three goals in 13 appearances. Following the sacking, he scored 10 times over the same span. He failed to score after the restart, but many would say that was more due to a lack of distribution than Calvert-Lewin’s lack of ability.
Kean had his ups and downs throughout the season, accumulating yellow cards for stupid fouls almost immediately after coming on, but showed a lot of promise, as well. His skill and power were on display every time he stepped on the field and his positioning as a striker was solid, too. The biggest knock on Kean would be what seemed like a lack of fitness at some points, but there is still a lot to find out about the talented young striker and he will, most likely, have a bigger role in the team this coming season.
Tosun once again gave his all for the club every time he stepped on the pitch, but the lack of chances due to the youth and talent in front of him is what hurt the Turkish striker at Everton. If he is at the club next year, it will be hard to see him getting much playing time, if any, unless there is an injury that opens up a hole for the Turkish forward to slide in and make one last ditch effort to prove himself.
With Richarlison (23), Calvert-Lewin (23) and Kean (20) as the top three options at the position, the future is bright. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin have already proven that they have the talent to lead the lines for the club for a long time, even without top notch distribution.
Kean still has a ways to go, but it could be a big year from him as Ancelotti looks to find a role for the dynamic Italian.
This group did as much as they could with the little help they got from other areas of the pitch. The top goalscorer for the club after Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (15 each) was Bernard with just three goals.
I would have liked to see more from Kean after the hype he got before joining the club, but I expect that to come with more playing time in the future as he finds his way in this new club and new country.
The addition of maybe one more striker if Tosun is no longer with the club and Ancelotti continues with the two-striker system might be necessary, but it isn’t a top priority as this position is pretty solid as stands. It’s time we finally get them some help.