Should the Blues build around the England U21 man and hope that he scores more goals, or should they sign another striker to challenge and maybe replace him?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was one of the breakout stars of last season, but looking at his stat line, you wouldn’t have thought that he had such a good season. The 22-year-old centre forward was non-stop, winning big aerials, closing down the ball, and generally being a nightmare for defenders.
However, if Everton want to push for a place in the top-six and show continued improvement under Marco Silva, there need to be more goals, which Calvert-Lewin simply wasn’t able to provide much of last season.
So, should the Blues build around Calvert-Lewin and hope that he scores more goals, or should they sign another striker to challenge and maybe replace the English forward?
Calvert-Lewin winning over fans and pundits
Since joining Everton in 2016 from Sheffield United, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has amassed 17 goals and ten assists through 93 games. Still young at 22-years-old, many consider last season to be his big breakout, but it only yielded six goals and two assists through 35 Premier League games.
It was during the second half of the season, just as Silva’s style of play was starting to sink in, that Calvert-Lewin was given a proper chance and took it in the best way that he knew how: by bullying defenders.
As recorded by Transfermarkt, in the 12 games that Calvert-Lewin played for over 70 minutes, Everton won six, drew two, and lost four. Over the course of his 35 league appearances, he sometimes found himself on the wing or behind the striker, ending up coming off of the bench for 16 games.
Despite the lack of goals, his progress was clear to see. Fans and pundits lauded the striker’s intense work ethic, non-stop running, and ability to disrupt even the most cool-headed defenders in the league. He was relentless, but as described by the Liverpool Echo, he didn’t always get the rewards that he deserved for his efforts.
Calvert-Lewin is very good at what he does, and while he may surprise us all by banging in 15 or 20 league goals next season, the chances look a bit slim. He doesn’t quite get the service and works better as a kind of pivot who can tee up others that have a strong understanding with him. But to do that, he’ll need more help.
Will Everton add to their forward lines?
Everton look set to sell Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy, possibly to Newcastle United, to continue the club’s fire sale started last season. Silva inherited a bloated squad and Marcel Brands has been working his socks off to ship out anyone who doesn’t fit the new system.
While those two along with fellow departees Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman and Sandro Ramirez won’t impact the squad, the impending – as of 25 July – loss of star defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye will hurt. If the Jean-Philippe Gbamin rumours are true, the move should lessen the sting of losing the Senegalese interceptor.
However, adding Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph hasn’t done anything to boost the team’s prospects of scoring goals, which is holding Everton back. The lack of recognised scoring options will have had a big influence on Betway Sports having the Toffees at 4/1 to get into the top six - as of 25th July - sitting alongside Leicester and Wolves.
Sticking with Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the right play, but adding support for the frontman and perhaps someone to challenge for the starting spot is also going to be crucial. As it stands, the Englishman only has to edge Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse to keep his place.
Building around Calvert-Lewin for the best shot at success
Richarlison found his best position to be on either wing last season, but as his 13 goals and two assists indicate, he’s more inclined to do it himself than find the fox in the box. Bernard was masterful with the pass at times but didn’t offer up much by way of scoring or assisting, and Theo Walcott also struggled to produce.
Gylfi Sigurdsson will always be able to score goals and provide chances from the middle of the park, but Everton and their expected number one striker need someone on Richarlison’s opposite wing to provide chances and keep defences honest when Calvert-Lewin starts to lurk in the centre.
One rumour which appears to have lost its legs was that Everton were pursuing Lille breakout star Nicolas Pepe, who nailed 22 goals and 11 assists from the right-wing last season. However, clubs like Manchester United and Bayern Munich are now said to be in hot pursuit.
What seems like a very good fit is Everton going after former flame Malcom, who flirted with a move to Merseyside last summer, as reported by The Telegraph, before moving to Barcelona. Everton and Barcelona have good relations and Malcom’s 4 goals and two assists in 24 games last season makes him a prime candidate for a loan to Goodison Park.
Getting in a crafty winger to enhance the front line, take some pressure off of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and give him a more alert option when he pinches the ball off of defenders for him to feed would do the striker and the team the world of good. Hopefully, Calvert-Lewin has shown enough progress over the summer so that Silva doesn’t feel the need to replace him.
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