Bill Kenwright forced to open his cob webbed covered Goodison Park wallet.
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United States all-time leading goalscorer Landon Donovan yesterday confirmed that he would not be returning to Everton on loan during the MLS off season. In a joint statement released with LA Galaxy, he confirmed that his intentions were to use the time off as an opportunity to finally relax following an intensely hectic two years of relentless football.
The news throws up a very interesting issue; being the fact that Everton are now going to have to find another solution to their perennial problem of who will lead their strikeforce.
David Moyes must wonder what terrible thing he has done in order to make the striking gods hate him so. This rejection piles further doubt on his team’s ability to really make an impact on the Premier League in the second half of the season following a typically below-par first period. The half time oranges were looking particularly sweet with the re-acquisition of Landon Donovan essentially in the bag, an arrival made all the more necessary by the fact that the recognised ‘strikers’ in the team had managed a paltry 3 goals (Beckford 2, Yakubu 1) between them, outscoring their defensive unit by only 1 goal (Coleman and Baines 1 apiece).
Couple this with the fact that the few striking options they possess are a long way off Premier League standard and you’re faced with a bit of a conundrum if your name is Mr D Moyes. Jermaine Beckford has looked closer to fitting in with a team that harbours relegation-avoiding aspirations in the Championship than being able to mix it with the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. Yakubu looks more capable of challenging at a pie-eating contest than at the highest level and is a fair way from full fitness as a consequence. And Victor Anichebe showed on Monday night that, given the chance to shine in an important match, he isn’t mature enough to realise that leaving your team with only 10 players for the best part of half an hour is an unwise tactic, although admittedly he did look good while Everton were dominating.
However, despite the promising performance against title challengers Manchester City, Bill Kenwright will without doubt be under pressure from fans and potentially Moyes himself to spend on further attacking options this January. This is what has been the problem for Everton ever since they finished fourth in the 2004/05 season.
While other Champions League pretenders such as Aston Villa, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City have spent heavily on reinforcing their squads (some more heavily than others…) Everton have been much more restrained with the purse strings, with old man Kenwright giving little Dave a very grandparent-esque allowance, encouraging him, “not to spend it all at once.” This alone is the key to the Everton stagnation, as while their rivals have been fairly lavish spenders, Moyes has had to make do and mend. Yes Fellaini cost £15 million, and yes Heitenga cost £7 million, and these were astute signings. But then you look at Andy Johnson’s £8.6 million hospital visit, and Yakubu’s almost £12 million all-you-can-eat buffet, and you can understand why Mr Kenwright has become so shrewd recently.
However, with top scorer/corner flag terroriser Tim Cahill set to leave for the sunnier climes of Quatar this January for the Asia Cup, Everton have never been more pressed to find a new man to share the team’s goalscoring burden. It could be a long old month if Timmy and the Socceroos progress in the competition, and with the team languishing in 14th currently, the likelihood of being dragged into something of a relegation battle might not be so farfetched.
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