Striking options

by   |   03/07/2017  15 Comments  [Jump to last]

Our players are heading back to Finch Farm and will be joined by some exciting new signings bringing an air of optimism to us Evertonians. Our big concern now seems to be who will spearhead our attack with huge doubts as to whether Lukaku will still be around.

I believe he will leave which, for me, would be a huge disappointment as the idea of him being supported in attack by Sandro, Klaassen and any one of a huge list of possible targets would be quite the formidable attack.

I think their might be an outside chance Lukaku might be looking at some of our early signings and get excited by the prospect of continuing his development with Everton (the true Blues) and getting to the champions league on merit.

If, which is more likely from what the gossip columns are churning out Lukaku bids farewell for a guaranteed spot in the champions league I've been interested in who we might directly replace Lukaku with unless that is the intention for the Sandro signing.

Players such as Giroud, Iheanacho, Dembele, King, Rooney, Dolberg, Jørgensen, Muriel, Gray, Niang, Munir, Falcinelli, Ghezzal, Willian José, Nestorovski, Kachunga, Ciao Emerson, Helder Costa, Terrier are some names that have cropped up in the rumour room and I wondered who others believe would be the ideal option.

For me, I'm a big fan of Iheanacho as from his brief experience in the Premier League he has shown he knows how to find the net and has admirable qualities. I also think Dembele of Celtic would be an exciting option as his looks to have a knack of finding himself in the right place and hitting the target using a variety of ways.

These two would be my first choice as are not only realistic, they are up and coming with bags of potential and top current ability to cause fear in oppositions defences.

I rate the idea of Giroud as he has an excellent reputation already as a top striker in the premier league but find it hard to get excited about him, given he's deemed as not quite good enough for Arsenal, a potential rival to our goal of a Champions League place.

Would be interesting to hear who other toffees would like to see in our attack and if they'd prefer someone mentioned earlier or would like to bring a new name to the forum.

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Reader Comments (15)

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Martin Reppion
2 Posted 03/07/2017 at 21:27:08

I also like the idea of Iheanacho, although I'm not sure I can spell it. Giroud is more an Everton centre forward than an Arsene Wenger type player and I believe he would fit in well. We always like a proper number 9. (Even if they have given the shirt to Sandro). So I would be happy with either as a replacement for Lukaku should he go.

Being realistic, and not being up to date on world football, I don't know who else would fit the bill. I would have liked Josh King as a squad man, but not as a lead striker. Apparently, Javier Hernandez is now playing out of his skin and is wanting to come back to England. And Rooney would play his heart out for the royal blue jersey.

Whoever we sign, I am sure there will be people who don't agree. But I'd also ask the question, "are they better than Kone and Valencia?" Frankly, we could sign Brett Angell and Jim Pearson and improve on the back-up we had last season (U23s excepted).

Fran Mitchell
3 Posted 03/07/2017 at 22:19:34
How will the team set up?

This is the big question for me. We can definitely see Koeman wants a high energy, pressing game. All his signings to date show that.

There are 3 potential formations: 4-4-2, 3-4-3, or 4-3-3

With the latter, which is most likely I feel, the midfield will be of 2 ball winners and one attacking midfielder, with 2 high energy strikers and one more traditional centre forward.

I could see Gueye and Schneiderlin with Barkley/Klaassen. With Sandro/Bolasie and Barkley/Klaassen as the two wider/high energy strikers. A Giroud style would be ideal here.

If we played 4-4-2, then Sandro would need a quicker Vardy style striker alongside him, with Barkley, Klaassen and Bolasie playing wide or as box-box midfielders.

In 3-4-3, the central attacker needs to be more all rounder, high energy à la Diego Costa, as the wide strikers will spend much time running up and down the pitch.

John Daley
4 Posted 04/07/2017 at 05:05:06
I've long thought we should throw everything we could at trying to tempt Lacazette to the club, but that ship has since sailed with Arsenal about to snap him up.

With that (admitted) long shot off the table I would have to go with another one: Timo Werner.

Extremely talented, only 21 with plenty of scope to get even better.

Looked really promising when breaking through but, for some reason, his career seemed to stall at Stuttgart. However, after leaving his boyhood club when they were relegated, he has really come on leaps and bounds.

He scored 21 goals in 31 games last season for unfancied RB Liepzig.

He was primarily played out wide when younger but has been used as a traditional centre forward at Liepzig.

His success earned him a call up to the Germany squad and he recently shone in the Confederations Cup (3 goals in 6 internationals so far).

Very composed in front of goal, with great vision, deceptive pace (although the fact his nickname is 'Turbo' kind of gives the game away) and ,crucially, he has already thrived playing the high-tempo 'pressing game' practiced by his current club.

He's taken continued stick from supporters in Germany over an obvious dive to win a penalty for his team in a game last season, and was even booed after coming off the bench for the national team recently. He's publicly stated he feels the way he's being treated, over one incident, is unfair and Joachim Loew has since come out and said similar.

A fresh start in a new country, where most are going to be unfamiliar with his 'crime', might possibly be tempting to the player at this point.

Victor Yu
5 Posted 04/07/2017 at 07:23:48
Niang could be worth a gamble.

I believe Rooney would do well too and would improve our brand image.

A wild dream - can we try to bring in Icardi?

Steve Ferns
6 Posted 04/07/2017 at 14:39:45
For me, there is 8 attacking positions in the modern game. So perhaps we need to be on the same page by defining those positions:

Striker - the number 9, leading the line, playing right up top, not dropping off, and the pivotal position of the attack as everyone else moves around him.

Left Winger / Outside Left - the old fashioned left footed winger, rare to find in any top side in any top league in Europe.

Inside Left - player playing in the channel, that is 10 yards inside the Left Winger, usually right footed and coming inside to shoot, i.e. Kevin Mirallas.

Inside Right - as above, but coming in on his left, or coming inside off the right and shifting back out slightly to the right to use his favoured right foot.

Right Winger / Outside Right - a bit more common that his left footed counterpart as there is more right footers, and so even if they like to come inside, because of their natural foot they're still inclined to go on the outside and so can get crosses in.

Number 10 - the playmaker. This guy is rarely ahead of the play and is usually a little bit deeper than all of the above, if the ball is inside the box he is dropping outside the box trying to get a pass to shift the play and wrong foot the defence. The player typically looks for the pass rather than the shot, but most of the great number 10s have world class shooting power. This is Zinedine Zidane.

Attacking midfielder - number 8 - this guy is different from the number 10 as although they operate in more or less the same position or at least the same area of the pitch, they do different things. The attacking midfielder is looking to get into the box, he's looking to get on the end of stuff, he is not necessarily the one making things happen on the ball, but instead the one finishing things. Think Steven Gerrard, Tim Cahill, Frank Lampard.

False 9 - often talked about but much misunderstood. Best to think of a player who is the opposite of what Duncan Ferguson was. A little guy, with bags of speed, who excels with trickery and dribbling. Messi in a word. This player stands where the 9 does, but as a move progresses he vacates the position roaming away from it, and works in conjunction with a number 8, to drop behind him and act as a playmaker, and to have inside forwards looking to come into the central position and the false 9 to drift out wide there. This position is more for Guardiola's Barcelona, with a peak level Messi than Everton in the Premier League.

What have we got in the team?

Lukaku - number 9, but doesn't conform fully.
Barkley - somewhere between an 8 and a 10. His more natural game seems to be an 8, but Martinez was making him into a 10.
Bolasie - can play as an inside left or an outside right.
Calvert Lewin - suits being a 9, but lacks the physicality yet, so is played as an inside left.
Sandro - I have not seen enough of the lad to consider him definitively. He seems to be able to play anywhere across the front line, but lacks the physicality of a 9, perhaps best as an inside left.
Mirallas - an inside left. Cuts inside and always looks for the glory and never the pass.
Lookman - he seems to prefer playing in the channel and looked best as an inside left for England u20s.

So I think we have no real number 9 if Lukaku leaves. We have an abundance of players who want to play inside left, which is because lots of skilful, fast players want to play high up the pitch, slightly to the wing, where there is more room, cutting inside to create space and cause problems as they move from the fullback to the centre half, and then dream of crashing one in from 20 yards on their right foot,

Bolasie showed a real skill for getting wide, either side, and getting the crosses in (not always good crosses) whilst playing for palace. His ability to do this sets him apart for me. He has a definite role to play doing this, if he recovers properly.

Mirallas should be sold, I would prefer to develop the young lads, particularly Sandro in his position. Sandro should operate as an inside forward on the left of a 9, or as the central 9 in kind of a false 9 style, without being too flashy, more Michael Owen than Messi. Calvert Lewin and Lookman should both be factored in for games.

This means for me we should concentrate signing a proper number 9 to replace Lukaku. Kasper Dolberg for one, Dembele for another. I am less sold on Dembele as he has only done it for one year in Scotland, and seems to command a massive price that seems too high risk to me. Perhaps someone has ideas about an old fashioned number 9 we can pick up. I'm sure Walsh has an idea.

Walsh seems keen on Carlos Bacca, the Colombian striker for AC Milan, who has been prolific in recent seasons. He would be a real coup. He's more like Lukaku in that he's big at over 6 foot, but he's not physical and his all round game is similar to Lukaku. He would be good for 15+ goals easily, to expect 20 is not unrealistic.

Yacine Brahimi is a player I absolutely love. What I would give to see him in an Everton shirt. He's a flying right footed left winger. He can play either side. He is available and he almost joined us a year ago, but he has dodgy 3rd party ownership. Can he be played on the right? Well he has played there, he certainly drifts there. Or could Brahimi play left with Sandro right? only doubt is they both gravitate naturally to the left channel inbetween the right back and the right sided centre half, being able to go either side and so make the defence hesitate to buy that vital second to shoot or go past the man.

I would like to see a pure right winger brought in. Adam Ounas who just signed for Napoli from Bordeauz would have been a good shout. Gabriel Barbosa has not had a good time at Inter and could be available for £10m or so. He's a Brazilian international so should get a work permit. A marque signing would be to steal Ousmane Dembele from Dortmund. He's another versatile forward who could play outside right, but also seems to prefer being inside left.

If we get top money for Lukaku, then why not load the team with a player from each position. Let's have tactical flexibility, an ability to totally change the game from the bench and be able to rotate players for what we would hope will be a long campaign to ultimate EL glory.

Brent Stephens
7 Posted 04/07/2017 at 15:12:46
Steve #6. Excellent piece. I might even put that on my wall. Like the last para especially.
Sean Patton
8 Posted 04/07/2017 at 15:23:41
i know it is pie in the sky but if we could keep Lukaku and somehow bring in Giroud with Sandro and Lookman running off them I think we would be easily in the top 4.

Failing that I'm with Victor as Icardi looks superb.

Sam Hoare
9 Posted 04/07/2017 at 15:54:12
Some dream names on here: Icardi, Ousmane Dembele, Lacazette, even Timo Werner. Might add Aubemeyang to that list; maybe the money could persuade him? Probably not.

More realistic names obviously include the likes of Iheanacho, Giroud, Dembele (celtic one) and Josh King. I also think that forgotten men Batshuayi and Lucas Perez could be fine options and the former especially is a talent desperate to be unleashed after a year on the bench.

If Lukaku goes then I expect us to bring a player who can score and hold it up along with a faster (perhaps unknown quantity), think Giroud and Iheanacho would certainly do for me .

Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 04/07/2017 at 16:01:39
Steve #6, like your idea of multiple additions if Lukaku goes.

Would point out that Dolberg has the same risk profile as Dembele. One great season in Holland is the same as one great season in Scotland. Both the same age and stage of development.

Also Ousmane Dembele isn't leaving Dortmund. Barca was reportedly ready to pay 60-80 million and got smacked down hard.

Mike Allison
11 Posted 04/07/2017 at 16:01:56
Nice work Steve, however I think it's worth pointing out that there are two types of number 9s. There's the big, strong target man type, who is good in the air and can hold the ball up well, and the little, nippy, run-on-to-through-balls type (I'm thinking Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips are decent examples). Old school 4-4-2 teams played with both, but modern teams rarely do. Burnley often have, and Vokes and Gray certainly conform to the idea of what I'm trying to say.

Lukaku looks like a big man, and managers and fans want him to play like one, but he's actually happier running through like the little fella, and many of his goals come like this.

We need to sign both types to replace Lukaku, as he was basically covering the strengths of both.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 04/07/2017 at 16:18:03
The old fashioned big man / fast or tricky man strike partnerships are rare these days. If Robbie Fowler was around now, I would be interested to see what position he would play. He would either be a false 9 or trained into playing as an inside forward. With his pace Michael Owen would certainly be an inside forward. Which is the position that Gray (of Burnley) plays. The Burnley 442 is not quite as rigid as you think.

The advance of modern tactics saw that with a 442 there was a striker who was effectively a passenger, they dropped him into midfield to have an extra player there, and slowly the wingers involved to come further forward to be wide strikers and now they are coming narrower with the fullbacks coming further forward and providing the width. This is all as the modern footballer gets fitter and fitter and is expected to run further and further, thus making the pitch smaller.

All in all, the days of Robbie Fowler, Tony Cottee, and Gary Lineker strolling around the pitch, playing solely on the shoulder of the centre-back and doing nothing else, have gone from modern football, certainly at the highest level.

Andrew Clare
13 Posted 04/07/2017 at 16:42:02
Icardi is the 'cat's whiskers ' I would love to see him in the blue of Everton.
Somehow I don't think Inter would sell him though.
He is exactly what we need. I'm with the guys above-superb player.
Mike Allison
14 Posted 04/07/2017 at 18:03:25
Steve, Gray does pretty much exactly that, honestly. That's partly why he got dropped towards the end of last season and I can't believe we've been linked with him.
Peter Warren
15 Posted 05/07/2017 at 22:20:01
Never heard of Icardi... who is he?
David Ellis
16 Posted 06/07/2017 at 03:33:52
Steve Ferns – a couple of great posts there. According to the Blue Room Sandro is a No 9 – he plays down the centre. The Sky Spanish reporter said he was a Jamie Vardy type and "would be wasted outwide".

Having said that, inside centre is not "out wide", so could see him playing off a Giroud or Lukaku. Or possibly, if needs must (because of injuries to the Lukaku replacement for example) Sandro could lead the line himself with Klaassen being the late arriving No 8 and Barkley at 10 and Bolasie out wide.

It will be interesting to see how we set up and nice to have some tactical options. I also agree that we should ship out Mirallas. Too selfish and not good enough at scoring goals to justify it.

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