COMMENT By Matt Farr
The January transfer window is fast approaching, and the majority of Premier League clubs are expected to do business in a bid to meet their ambitions for the second-half of the campaign.
Everton made a shaky start to the campaign, but have since steadied the ship, and are one of the sides expected to enter the transfer market next month.
Ronald Koeman already has a list of targets, some from the Premier League, and some from Europe. However, if there is one position the Toffees must look to strengthen first, it is in attack.
Just 23 goals have been scored by Everton from their first 18 Premier League games this term, and that is an alarming statistic for Koeman.
Romelu Lukaku has been Everton’s main goalscoring threat with 10 goals from 18 games in all competitions, but no one else has really stepped up.
Kevin Mirallas has also found the back of the net, but the burden really needs to be lifted off Lukaku’s shoulders.
Ecuador forward Enner Valencia, meanwhile, has yet to score since arriving on loan from West Ham in the summer, and Arouna Kone has had few first-team opportunities.
Ex-Everton boss Roberto Martinez spent £13.5 million on Oumar Niasse in the last winter transfer window, but the Senegal striker has spent the season playing for Everton’s reserve side under new boss Koeman.
A need for reinforcements is clear in next month’s window, and Koeman needs to address the issue as soon as possible. The former Southampton boss failed in his attempts to sign Napoli’s Manolo Gabbiadini in the summer, but could do no wrong by renew his interest in the striker’s services.
A move for the Italian shouldn’t prove as difficult as their last attempt, with Napoli likely to let him leave the club after agreeing a deal to sign a new striker.
Gabbiadini, 25, has not been in the best of form for Napoli this season, scoring just three goals in 17 appearances in all competitions, having fallen down the pecking order under boss Maurizio Sarri.
His form over the current campaign isn’t particularly flattering, but Koeman will still be conscious of what drew him to the striker in the first place.
The Italy international simply can’t adapt to Napoli’s new style under Sarri, and that looks to have been the final nail in his coffin.
The Toffees offered £18 million in the summer to no avail, but he could be available for a similar price given the club’s desire to start afresh.
The 25-year-old is a tall striker, and his heading ability will be a great asset to an Everton side with quality wide players and full-backs that often push up to attack and deliver crosses.
His shooting ability is also excellent, particularly from range, while he can be a threat from set-pieces – an area where Everton have not made the most of this season.
Excellent positioning, movement and athleticism are all aspects that Gabbiadini can inject into Everton’s attack next month, and Koeman needs to make it happen.
In other Everton news, Joel Robles reflects on his performance against Leicester on Monday.