Three Strikers That Could Help Transform Everton
The 2023/24 Premier League season is fast approaching. As teams across the league continue to strengthen and the league becomes stronger as a result, Everton are still hard at work to rebuild their squad after a number of much-needed departures.
One persistent problem is finding a reliable, clinical striker with three main candidates being touted as serious targets. So, who are they and how much of a fit are they for the Merseyside club?
Scottish international Che Adams is arguably the most controversial target for Everton.
Fans are divided over the striker due to his less-than-clinical goalscoring record in the Premier League. To date, Adams has made 124 Premier League appearances, scoring 25 goals and assisting 14 times.
While criticisms of his proficiency in front of goal are warranted, the Southampton man possesses clear qualities that make it very obvious as to why Everton have scouted him.
Everton manager Sean Dyche has a well-known preference for a target man or a striker that can at least act as an outlet to relieve defensive pressure.
While Che Adams stands at a short five-foot-nine, he can still fit this role if brought into the squad this summer.
During his time at Southampton, he has shown that he can hold the ball in transition but it is his link-up play and box movement that can really benefit Everton.
The striker likes to drop deep into the attacking half-spaces to link up with teammates by playing quick passes, flicking the ball on and playing quick reverse passes forward.
With Everton’s emphasis on quick, fluid transition-based football, Adams fits the mould as a link-up striker and he is reportedly available for around £15 million.
A slightly different profile, Kelechi Iheanacho is also reportedly of interest to Everton.
At the age of 26, Iheanacho has made 196 top-flight appearances for Manchester City and Leicester City, scoring 42 goals and assisting 28 times.
He has an array of strengths including dribbling, pace, ball-striking and anticipation in the box. With these skills, the Nigerian offers some much-needed versatility to any club that picks him up as he can play as a striker and operate out wide.
Iheanacho can link play well and likes to dribble inside from the right wing on his left foot, before firing off shots from distance. He also possesses great intelligence in the six-yard box and positions himself really well before stepping in front of defenders to finish chances.
With Everton needing positional rotation, Iheanacho offers versatility as well as great quality on the ball with his quick dribbling.
His profile differs from the other two targets in this list as his pressing numbers are lower and he isn’t as aerially dominant as Che Adams.
However, his ability on the ball, carrying it forward and beating players, can’t be overlooked in a side that has sorely lacked technical ability and confidence for over two years. Iheanacho is reportedly available for between £10 million – £15 million.
The third and potentially the best fit of the three targets, Boulaye Dia seems to be the most favoured pick amongst Everton fans.
The fact that he hasn’t played in the Premier League is a concern as it is with any other player in Europe but Dia seems to be the perfect fit for Everton.
Possessing strength on the ball, great ball-striking and excellent anticipation in moving into the box, the Senegalese striker could add the clinical touch that Everton have so desperately missed with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s lengthy absences. During his time in Serie A, Dia has made 33 appearances, scoring 16 goals and creating six assists.
As seen in the graphic above, Dia offers great proficiency in front of goal as well as high volume pressing numbers as shown by ground duels won + ground duels success %.
While he doesn’t present a promising aerial threat like Che Adams, these numbers combined with his goalscoring strengths point towards him being the best option of the three, but it should be noted that Kelechi Iheanacho has played the fewest minutes of the three.
There is always the risk, however, that Dia comes to Everton and the Premier League is too fast-paced for him or too physical, and with a reported £34.6 million asking price, Everton are likely to be priced out of any potential move anyway.
Given the options available, Che Adams could arguably be the best choice.
At £15 million, with his profile fitting what Everton needs in an attacking outlet, Everton could do worse than the Southampton man. However, they would surely opt for the more prolific choice in Boulaye Dia, if they had the funds available.