Stats: 2021/22 Everton Strikers
After a down year for the club, in which relegation was a real possibility until the last week of the season, Everton needs a healthy Dominic Calvert-Lewin more than ever before. After a rough, injury-riddled campaign last year for the Toffee’s number nine, an injury looks to sideline the English international for the first few weeks of this new season too.
But if the player can return in September feeling good and playing sharp, the Blues can be a much better team this year than last. This team is full of players who performed quite well - albeit still inconsistently - for Carlo Ancelotti during his brief tenure with the club. While the Rafa Benitez era was inglorious concerning the performances of the players and squad as a whole, Frank Lampard is looking to build something different than either of his predecessors.
With Richarlison’s exit this summer to Tottenham - amongst other names - and the signings of James Tarkowski on a free from Burnley and Dwight McNeil for a fee, reinforcements have arrived from Turf Moor. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is going to need all the help he can get, up front with him, upon his wings, and across the rest of the team too.
Outside of DCL and Richarlison over the last few seasons, there has been zero striking depth upon this team; with another month of the transfer window remaining, Frank Lampard and Kevin Thelwell will be looking to fix that too.
In order for Calvert-Lewin, Salomon Rondon, and whoever else should join them this season to score more frequently, Everton will have to have a more fluid style, with more offensive options in the final, attacking third. More functional depth at the striker position will help the Toffees threaten more consistently and more often against opponents on the road or at home on Merseyside.
Everton’s number nine didn’t have an easy season last year, but when his team needed him the most, he came through with a headed goal against Crystal Palace that will live on in the minds of those who watched forever. DCL struggled last year with not only physical injuries, but with mental health issues too - as he has himself spoken about. As he looks to overcome a new, early-season nick as this new campaign gets underway, he’ll have his sights upon an early to mid-September return to the pitch.
When healthy and on form, Dominic Calvert-Lewin - still just 25 - is a real problem in the box and can also hold up possession from long balls. He can initiate offense in this capacity, but has no issue running to get his head or feet on a well-played ball from a teammate either. Playing alongside Dwight McNeil is going to be really fun to watch. If a name like Maxwel Cornet should get to Merseyside too, along with some combination of the rumored Amadou Onana/Idrissa Geuye, Armando Broja and/or Michy Batshuayi, there could be better service, creativity and finishing at Goodison Park than has been seen over the last calendar year.
Having lost Richarlison to Spurs this summer, it remains important to have Everton’s number nine for at least another year - if not longer. But the team needs him healthy and effective, and will do anything to assist him in whatever manner necessary. They need him playing like he did two seasons ago, and not during last year.
Salomon Rondon remains at Everton despite an underwhelming first season on Merseyside and rumors that linked the player with a Spanish club. For Everton, he remains the only experienced help that Dominic Calvert-Lewin has at the moment, and so, while either or both sides might wish to move on from the relationship that began with hope under Rafa Benitez, the Venezualan appears set to play some part in this team’s plans for this year.
Should some of the aforementioned forwards end up coming to Everton, however, that part could be significantly smaller than what it would be should the Blues fail to sign more experienced help for this squad. A smaller part would likely suit the player's current ability and what he can presently provide at 32 years old, but that luxury might not exist for either the player or the squad if some deals cannot be reached before the summer window shuts.
With both Ellis Simms and Lewis Dobbin on loan at Blackpool and Derby County respectively, Rondon is currently the only other out-and-out striker on the squad. While a player like Dele Alli could perhaps play as a false nine at points, the amount of strain and pressure the lack of reinforcements at the centre-forward position creates for the entire side puts this team at a disadvantage it can ill afford in this upcoming campaign.
State of the Position
Everton have one really good striking option when healthy, and another option that feels like it would be best if used only sparingly and when absolutely necessary. Signing the likes of Armando Broja or even Ludovic Ajorque would dramatically reverse that trend and give the Toffees much more creativity, versatility, flexibility, and danger on the attack. Failing to sign help, however, would be unsustainable across the upcoming season, and would put the Blues in real peril of finding themselves back in the relegation battle for another year.
I do not believe that will be the case, as my own predictions concerning Everton demonstrate. But I do see where issues could arise if innovations are not made in the final month of the summer window. Calvert-Lewin is really good when healthy, but he needs pieces around him - across the entire side - to unlock him properly, and having some depth around and with him as it concerns Everton’s striker room is a massive part in that as well.