The fresh air that has blown into the Blue half of Merseyside with the appointment of Roberto Martinez as David Moyes's successor after an 11-year tenure seems to have generated plenty of excitement among Evertonians for both the new season and a new era under very different management.
From players like captain Phil Jagielka highlighting the differences in the team's pre-season preparations to the signs of an embryonic, more passing- and possession-based game exhibited in the friendlies against Austria Vienna and Accrington Stanley, change seems very much to be in the air at Everton.
If there was one player in the side who might especially be looking forward to life under a new system and approach, you would think Nikica Jelavic would be it. While his head-turning introduction to the Premier League last year was a dream start, the Croatian suffered a nightmare first full season with the Blues – despite figuring in 37 of Everton's 38 League games, he scored just seven times, losing his starting berth to Victor Anichebe in the process.
Theories on the ex-Rangers forward's collapse in form ranged from tighter marking and closer attention from opposition defences and a disruption to his game caused by the presence of Marouane Fellaini in a more advanced role, to Moyes's own directives demanding more tracking back and running of the channels, and perhaps the simple weight of expectation created by his explosive goal return when he first arrived.
Whatever the cause, there was no doubt that a psychological barrier had developed in the player's mind, one not removed by a couple of key moments – dramatic last-minute goals against Tottenham Hotspur in December 2012 and Manchester City in March – that might otherwise have given him the mental platform on which to turn his season around.
His super-charged celebrations after both of those goals revealed huge relief and passion from a player clearly frustrated and somewhat confused by his struggles in front of goal and they helped retain a strong bond with supporters – fans to whom he had given hope in the first half of last year that they might finally be witnessing the resolution of a long-standing issue at Goodison: namely, the lack of a consistent and reliable goalscorer.
If Moyes's rigid adherence to playing a lone striker – one, it seems, that precluded Apostolos Vellios from establishing himself in the first team after a couple of disappointing outings leading the line in an isolated, solo role, but, equally, one under which Jelavic thrived when he first arrived – was a contributing factor to his problems last season, then there is a good chance that Jelavic could enjoy a renaissance under Martinez.
The player himself and Evertonians alike will surely be thinking and hoping just that for the coming season, which is why the emergence of Hamburg SV as suitors for the 27 year-old throws up something of a quandary, particularly if the transfer fee is only around the reported £6m mark… and even then, on the drip.
There is no doubt that the Jelavic of the second half of 2012-13 – the one who scored goals for fun with a deadly first touch – is much more valuable to the Blues in the team than a mere £6m. The agitated, stuck-in-a-rut Jelavic of last season whose touch and confidence visibly deserted him would, naturally be much less so and, depending on how wily Martinez can be in the transfer market, he could conceivably draft in a superior player to a Jelavic that falls somewhere into the grey area of mediocrity between those two extremes as well.
Therein lies the dilemma: you just don't know how Nikica will fare under the new regime and whether he will be able to surmount that psychological barrier that held him back so much last term. On the one hand, can we afford to persevere and coddle a player with such a psychological issue? Another barren season and his transfer value would be that much lower.
On the other, Jelavic surely deserves a chance to prove that last season was merely an acute case of second-season syndrome that he can overcome under a new manager. Another terrific spell in front of goal and he could either help the Blues into Europe or pose huge salable value in a year's time.
Much may depend on two important factors, the first of which is the system that Martinez employs. The Spaniard clearly favours a more attacking approach than his predecessor and even if he deploys just one recognised striker, it's unlikely that the overall formation will be as conservative as that under Moyes.
Indeed, his first five line-ups last season featured either a two-pronged attack with two forwards – including, it should be noted, at Old Trafford where Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone started – or one striker supplemented with an attack-minded midfielder in the form of Shaun Maloney or Jean Beausejour.
It's conceivable, therefore, that in addition to Kevin Mirallas, Martinez could play both Kone and Jelavic up front which would allow the former to maraud into the channels and leave the latter to concentrate on what he does best – converting in front of goal.
The second factor is the fitness of Mirallas. Due to a combination of Moyes's afore-mentioned selection policies and the Belgian's fitness struggles last season, a duo that many Blues fans were eager to see combine was rarely on the pitch at the same – Mirallas often made way for Jelavic late on in games, giving the latter little time to make an impact, particularly without the former's service.
With a full season under his belt, Mirallas has the opportunity to really blossom as one of the most dangerous forwards in the Premier League in 2013-14 and that can only help Jelavic, particularly if Nikica is on the receiving end of consistent service where he needs it in and around the six-yard box.
All those "ifs" are the problem, though, as we wait and see what happens with Jelavic this summer. A straight cash bid of around £8m for a player with so many question marks over his head would be hard to turn down; at £6m, even more so with payments on the "never never", both the head and the heart say that it probably would be better to give the lad one more chance to be reborn in the new managerial era at Goodison.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
738 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:01:17
Whilst of course he lacks pace and has a heavy touch the biggest problem is confidence. If ge rehaivs this he will be be the lethal striker we all saw. Surely it's a managers job to ensure he gets confidence. I'd be gutted if he was sold
741 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:02:57
Time to sell for £6 million plus IMO
742 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:09:38
744 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:05:50
While I agree a player doesn't become a bad player in a short space of time! Whether it was due to tactics or whatever the reason!
What if he had the best season as a one-off, and was never able to reproduce! It does happen!
I know that DM did have a knack of buying players with particular strengths, and after a reasonable honeymoon period, did not seem to be a shadow of their former selves!
Whatever transpires I trust RM will make the best decision for club and fans!
745 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:15:23
747 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:24:38
748 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:31:09
I don't think his style will suit a Martinez system. I think we need to find a taker on a straight sell and he needs to move on. We should do so soon as he always gave 100% - in form or out of form. For him and for the Club.
Lumbering CFs are not in our future. And I don't see a return of the one-touch wonder again.
749 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:29:15
We can't afford to keep him in the team if the 2012-13 Jelavic turns up, but we can't afford to let him go if the 2011-12 player was the real Jelavic. It's not a decision to be made lightly and I'm confident that RM will take his time before making any rash decisions on him. If he does become available I'm sure there are plenty of PL rivals who would take a punt on him, perhaps Swansea or West Ham for instance.
750 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:38:17
751 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:21:13
The reason I think he should stay for the next few months is that we've had enough changes in personnel to be going on with. A complete change of back room staff and four new players in. The threat of transfer still hangs over Baines and Fellaini - and if one or both of them go then there will have to be replacements. So be it. But, if we can avoid it, we should do without any further ins and outs before the season starts.
When RM took over, he stated that he wanted to maintain continuity but make some positive changes. Great, I thought, we want to keep what was good and improve on it. But, in my opinion, any more changes will possibly threaten that continuity. Don't forget, as well as personnel changes, the whole team is being asked to learn a slightly (or very?) different way of playing.
Let's keep him for now and give him another chance. Then, if he doesn't score regularly, put him on the market in January.
752 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:31:09
He had a truly awful season, yet still managed to score 7 goals. I think with better service and different tactics employed, we might just find we've got the striker we're looking for. Certainly (well I say certainly but it might not be that certain!) our manager wants/ needs another goal scoring forward; unless he's got someone up his sleeve from the continent, I don't see many more 10-15 goals a season player knocking around for about £5-6 million.
I think that if Roberto thinks Nik is worth persevering with, then he's spotted something that he likes and I'll be chuffed to see the lad play for a manager who will encourage him. I hope he stays.
753 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:41:28
755 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:48:58
With £6-8 million we could buy someone like Jele Van Vossen or someone who RM rates. Don't forget Martinez has a very good track record at being able to spot talent at bargain prices. After all, he signed a younger Kone for £3 million at Wigan
756 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:35:19
The biggest fear that summer was that he had a stormer at the Euro's and one of Europe's footballing superpowers would come in with a bid of £20m+ which we simply couldn't refuse.
I still can't fathom what happened to the lad since then.
I would love to see him given a chance because I'm convinced there is still a genuine 15-20 goals a season striker in there somewhere, but do we have the finances or patience to gamble on Martinez being the one who can find it.
758 Posted 22/07/2013 at 22:54:02
If he does find thing better, promise him a transfer out in January window!
Hamburg, the club that bought Keegan should stump up the lot in one go if they are that serious in January. The same goes for any dealins with Fernabache over Heitinga.
765 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:13:42
If Roberto doeasn't think Jelly'll fit in, or that he doesn't rate him, then sold he will be. But I just hope he sees something he likes in the lad and keeps him. I'd love to see him playing in a more attacking creative team and start banging in the goals.
768 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:09:43
769 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:28:32
770 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:28:30
771 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:32:38
They want to buy him in installments and if he doesn't come to fruition they don't want to pay the full amount,
This is attitude we should take, give him a chance and if he doesn't come up with the goods we've only lost a few million.
776 Posted 22/07/2013 at 23:41:30
Somewhere in the middle lies a championship standard goalscorer who is touch is much clumsier than Anichebe's and who rarely troubles defenders.
I don't know what went wrong last season but IMO he was given more than ample opportunity to get it right and failed miserably.
The Premiership is no place to hide and IMO he needs to be off the wage bill and leave room for a young up and coming striker to flower with us.
779 Posted 23/07/2013 at 00:18:08
Horrible technique. It's not Moyes fault he blew one on ones and open goals galore.
Offside far too much.
786 Posted 23/07/2013 at 01:17:08
To me, a player who can put the ball in the back of the net -- the most elusive talent in football -- should be given a chance to duplicate his first season before being banished because of his second. Jelavic has always been inconsistent -- he preceded his Rangers brilliance by managing only 27 in 71 for Rapid Vienna. But if RM decides to use two at the front and keep Mirallas on the wing, Jeli might be the ideal partner for an aggressive attacker like Kone, who creates lots of loose ball situations in the box. And if there's one thing Jeli is good at, it's getting to those rebounds.
And if he can't cut it, the deal Hamburg is offering will hardly disappear, because it's not exactly dazzling, is it?
789 Posted 23/07/2013 at 01:47:33
Martinez is already showing he has a different way and, while not soft, I imagine he will be able to bring Jela round................. hopefully.
791 Posted 23/07/2013 at 03:21:54
They will know the type of player needed for success and anyone not fitting the bill will be gradually moved on. All decent new managers do this and hopefully, Martinez is one of the better ones.
He will have already decided what to do with Jelavic,.who will not want to sit on the bench with the World Cup coming up
For me, the Hamburg business has legs. It would benefit all parties and he could well be on his way. .
793 Posted 23/07/2013 at 05:06:26
802 Posted 23/07/2013 at 07:48:27
Now of course this all depends on Martinez wanting him.
Review at the Jan window.
806 Posted 23/07/2013 at 08:26:04
He needs a team flowing at pace and in sync behind him, both Pienaar and Baines fell away compared to the purple patch of the previous season and Mirallas was fitful as mentioned by the OP.
Effectively that is our creativity gone!
That said it's like groundhog day with a long list of strikers disintegrating under Moyes so I'd deffo give him a go under a more forward thinking coach.
The lad clearly wants to do well here (perhaps too well) and contrary to previous pretenders we've had here I reckon that's important.
One thing we can see with Roberto he's decisive and consequently ahead of the game so if he keeps or moves him on there'll be good reason.
809 Posted 23/07/2013 at 08:53:12
Similarly, although the history is different, I think Vellios isn't going to make it either. Bargains in strikers are very vary rare. I think we`re kidding ourselves if we think we can find one. Bringing talented youngsters on like we brought on Wayne is the only "bargain" we are going to have. And who is there amongst our current youngsters?
Isn't this the reality, toffee mates? Sorry to be so negative!
812 Posted 23/07/2013 at 09:36:16
The reality is probably that he's not as bad as he was last season and not as good as the season before. Trouble is that that though he may be a good finisher the rest of his game is not up to much and I suspect RM needs a forward with better touch and agility (such as Kone presumably).
814 Posted 23/07/2013 at 09:46:47
815 Posted 23/07/2013 at 09:52:33
My gut feeling is that things are so tight at Goodison that the money his transfer will raise is needed to ameliorate the flow of funds into Wigan`s kitty since the managerial appointment.Any further signings will depend entirely on what comes in from Old Trafford....or anywhere !
817 Posted 23/07/2013 at 10:22:58
818 Posted 23/07/2013 at 10:23:05
Have we had a season on season successful forward under Moyes? I cannot think of one.
828 Posted 23/07/2013 at 11:42:01
Give him the chance to get his form back and we're all be happy.
831 Posted 23/07/2013 at 11:52:09
As said above, a first season Jelavic is worth more than Everton could ever afford to pay.
840 Posted 23/07/2013 at 10:45:15
It did last year. Jela was a shell of his former self. In order to overcome his frailties, he has to show the balls to keep going for chances, and risk looking an idiot. He didn't do that enough for me last season.
You also need to rediscover the arrogance that great strikers have. That was woefully lacking. But the first step is to take chances (that is, to gamble on shots, getting into the right areas of the box and having a go). Also, I was not blown away by the Jela and Mirallas combo in the games they played together last season, either.
Whether Martinez is willing to gamble on Jela may depend on who else is available and gettable. We have attacking midfielders now in Mirallas and Deulofeu - though I would also chance our arm on a one or two-year deal for a much cheaper Donovan again - but require at least three proven strikers. At the moment that reads Kone, Anichebe and Jelavic. Frankly, that doesn't inspire confidence right now. It's a big call for Martinez, and who is out there to take Jela's place? Frankly, it would need to be someone young, not a Defoe.
841 Posted 23/07/2013 at 12:31:32
We absolutely battered teams with both our full backs regularly in and around the 18 yard box - whether the team sheet says one striker or not has nothing to do with how attacking you are, look at Spain for god's sake.
Jelavic simply missed chance after gilt edged chance.
I don't buy the 'tracking back / working the channels' argument either, Jelavic did more or less the same thing in his first season and he certainly didn't have less chances per game in his second season, he just missed most.
842 Posted 23/07/2013 at 12:43:58
846 Posted 23/07/2013 at 12:42:49
I believe all the players need a chance under RM even Vellios. It's sometimes amazing how things can change when a new man is at the helm and we all hope this will be the trend here.
We know Jela can score goals so let's keep him at least until January. Who knows even this new Spanish lad may kick in a few beauties.
865 Posted 23/07/2013 at 14:09:28
All this talk of selling him is madness - we need 3 strikers and Mirallas is as much a winger as he is a striker so that leaves us with Kone and Anichebe - not exactly bundles of goals in those two.
Stick the ball in the box, and Jelavic will score goals. Keep him, massage his confidence back up again and the kid will score more, or at least as many as Kone & Anichebe.
879 Posted 23/07/2013 at 15:09:21
However, presumably you wouldn't be so blatant about it if you were making it up, so can we assume they've had a behind the scenes nod from someone? If this is the case, then for Everton/Martinez to decide to get rid without giving him a chance, and to have said something which will both damage his confidence and decrease his market value is also crazy.
Either Martinez or Hamburg are getting this badly wrong.
883 Posted 23/07/2013 at 15:33:20
898 Posted 23/07/2013 at 16:37:52
900 Posted 23/07/2013 at 15:51:32
I thought the Bundesliga was supposed to be the big financial success story, yet we are led to believe one of their leading clubs can't rub a metaphorical two brass farthings together.
I think we are being led on here. They managed to find around £10 plus big wages for Van Der Vart, a guy pushing 30 with 'refuelling problems'.
Agree with the article, if they want Jelavic, he's £8m cash, otherwise, we'll take the chance he gets back to season one form.
964 Posted 23/07/2013 at 20:10:42
976 Posted 23/07/2013 at 20:53:59
982 Posted 23/07/2013 at 21:08:46
No way would I sell him at present
000 Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:17:27
And keep Heitinga.
008 Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:22:41
Totally against selling Jelavic before we get a chance to see how we performs in Martinez's system.
016 Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:28:32
'Conundrum' is the second in the series, preceded by 'The Jelavic Supremacy' and we're all waiting to see whether 'The Jelavic Identity' will reveal him to be a top-of-the-range goalscorer or a pitifully impotent imposter.
I believe 'The Jelavic Identity' is due out just before Xmas...
033 Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:35:34
034 Posted 23/07/2013 at 22:59:54
By forcing him to run the channels and play out wide, our previous manager ruined him and dulled his killer instinct.
184 Posted 24/07/2013 at 12:29:22
I imagine that he probably had the same amount of chances to the season before but simply blew them, that's why he was dropped. He looked useless and was actually air kicking sometimes.
I hope that he does stay because even though he had an awful season he was still our third highest scorer.
187 Posted 24/07/2013 at 12:55:37
191 Posted 24/07/2013 at 13:21:31
Nonsense to suggest no one was forcing him to play there.
It had the words 'David Moyes tactic' written all over it.
202 Posted 24/07/2013 at 13:26:01
203 Posted 24/07/2013 at 13:43:06
Against some teams you will surrender possession and inevitably 'run the channels' which he is pretty shit at.
He didn't run the channels against lesser opposition because we had the ball in their half, on those occassions he just kept missing sitters.
Jackie> I'm sorry, I insist he had as many chances but just blew them and we played more attacking football in the opponents half last year than we did the year he joined.
433 Posted 24/07/2013 at 20:55:03
739 Posted 25/07/2013 at 20:41:43
Football has been littered over the years with 1/2 to 1 season wonders.
Quality players are consistently good, not streaky.
I also don't think hes a RM type of player.
767 Posted 25/07/2013 at 22:20:30
I just thought from the moment he joined that his all round play wasn't up to much, so was it that he had a bad spell last year or an exceptional spell the year before and now he's found his level?
180 Posted 27/07/2013 at 15:39:57
186 Posted 27/07/2013 at 16:04:29
As I mentioned in another post, I know it's an easy thing to say after scoring a brace, but he does look like the old Jela, not the beaten-down shell he became under DM.
RM will get him firing again and I think he'll have a fantastic season.
088 Posted 30/07/2013 at 19:26:44
£6 million for him a paltry figure Id say. So who do we buy that is guaranteed to be better for £6 million? We have seen what Jelly can do and I'm sure he'll come good again.
He looked pretty sharp against Blackburn.
427 Posted 31/07/2013 at 16:25:50
Under David Moyes we seemed to have quite a high "turnover" of strikers.I can't believe that all of these players were bad players. We need to show a bit more patience, Jelavic is a good player. Every striker has a bad run.We should remember that before we think of getting rid of him.A new manager and a new start.I would like to hope that with a more attacking minded manager in charge, Jelavic will regain his form.
498 Posted 03/08/2013 at 10:26:55
If we look at our existing strikers, specifically Anichebe and Jelavic, they are both relatively ineffective when played alone up front, which was Moyes' favourite and aggravating style. Personally, I think either player will benefit and improve from playing alongside a 2nd striker, such as Kone. And the new man will no doubt benefit from playing alongside another recognised striker
I would prefer to keep Jelavic and see what kind of partnership he and Kone can strike up, but Martinez needs to voice to both that they are his first choice strike force and have some time to get to know one another. Jelavic doesn't just turn into a load of shite after every he touched turned to gold. You have to look at the Manager and how his formations and style affected Jelavic and spiralled into a confidence and desperation issue the longer the style continued.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.