According to most of the papers, SV Hamburg seem pretty confident about signing Nikica Jelavic.
Some director or other of the German club has been tweeting that Everton have made it known that the Croatian striker is available and they are big fans.
Without an appreciation of the bigger picture in as much as who else Roberto Martinez wants to bring in and what the player’s attitude is, it’s hard to work out whether releasing Jelavic, whose form has varied wildly over the last 18 months, is a good idea or not.
The player who arrived from Glasgow and seemed to score with every other touch was invaluable, but then at some point early last season it looked as if he said ‘Uh oh’ mid-match as Dr Sam Beckett quantum leapt into his body. After that, even the goal he scored against Manchester City at Goodison was the result of Dean Stockwell screaming in his ear: ‘Ziggy says JUST FUCKING HIT IT!’
There’s a school of thought that David Moyes was to blame for the alarming loss of form, because he asked him to do too much work outside the box, but Jelavic’s role didn’t really seem much different from when he was scoring ‘for fun’. All modern forwards are required to graft – it’s hard to think of any who are told to ‘just get up there and goal hang’ – and chasing the ball down doesn’t seem to adversely affect the goalscoring of, say, Luis Suarez or Wayne Rooney.
Jelavic just seemed to react badly to missing chances and his confidence crumbled, Fernando Torres-style. Eventually no one argued when he was replaced in the team by Victor Anichebe – as big an indicator of a lack of form as you are ever likely to see.
In terms of striking options though, if Martinez doesn’t think it is worth persisting with Jelavic then presumably he will be looking to sign another centre-forward otherwise he will be left with only Aroune Kone and Anichebe with any proper first team experience. The new Blues’ boss is now linked with eternal misfit Scott Sinclair after seemingly giving up on Victor Moses, so perhaps he envisages a more central role for Kevin Mirallas, but still it looks like there is still some work to be done in order to fashion a forward line that carries a genuine, consistent threat in the Premier League.
Links with yet another Wigan player, James McCarthy, persist, but with figures of over £12 million being quoted it seems clear that deal will only happen in the event of either Marouane Fellaini or Leighton Baines leaving Goodison. However, everything seems to have gone a bit quiet in terms of both players, who were tipped as certs to be heading for Champions League clubs earlier in the summer.
Moyes would obviously love to have Baines at Manchester United, but a couple of stories recently give the impression that he’s been told that Everton’s refusal to sell is a genuine one – not one of those that actually mean ‘increase the offer and we can talk turkey’. As for Fellaini, we’ve said it before, where does he fit in at somewhere like United? Surely any side with genuine title aspirations would want a more creative player supporting the striker – not a target man as Fellaini pretty much was for many of his best games for Everton. That leaves the defensive midfield role that he isn’t consistent enough to be trusted with. Put it another way, Darron Gibson, who left United for a pittance was far better doing that job than Fellaini, and Michael Carrick, the current incumbent at Old Trafford, was one of their players of the season as they pissed the title.
If he doesn’t go to Arsenal, who seem to be desperate to spend a load of cash on anyone, just to show that they can, then it’s hard to see where he gets this big move that’s being predicted.
One final thing that was revealed this week was the deal that brought Gerard Deulofeu to Everton on loan stipulates that if he players 50% of the games while he is here then the Blues pay no loan fee. In which case you have to assume that the loudest cries of ‘Get the fucking Spanish kid on Martinez you cunt’ will come from the directors’ box and not some prick behind me in the Park End.
Other than that, we’ve been linked with some French defender – make of that what you will – but otherwise everyone still seems to be guessing in terms of how Everton are going to line up on the first day of the season.