Nikica Jelavic began his Everton career with a bang, before settling into something of a whimper.
His 11 goals and three assists in just 16 appearances for the Toffees following his January move from Rangers saw Goodison Park welcome a new hero. However then came the downturn, with the Croatian international netting just eight club goals in 18 months.
It was no surprise when Jelavic was tipped for a January exit – in part because of his hopes of making his country’s World Cup squad, and in part because Romelu Lukaku is continuing his remarkable rise as a one-man goal-machine.
One club linked with Jelavic is Queens Park Rangers, who may have seen a visit to Merseyside for an FA Cup third-round match as the perfect time to negotiate a deal, but instead found that same striker in fantastic, if belated, form.
Jelavic’s brace in Everton’s 4-0 win proved he still knows where the goal is, and he later said he hoped for more chances to prove he can still be a success at a side currently fifth in the Premier League.
But if Roberto Martinez cannot find a regular starting place for him, there is another option not previously discussed.
While QPR and West Ham United have been linked with the 28-year-old, the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Cardiff City could see one of the league’s most naturally-gifted strikers given a new lease of life under one of the best marksmen of all time.
This is merely speculation, based on little more than my own sense that one great goal-scorer can inspire greatness in another. But Cardiff need goals, and as much as the likes of Magnus Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli can create, the Bluebirds still need a man to finish off the good work of others.
With a World Cup on the horizon, and Jelavic desperate to prove he still has what it takes both for club and for country, Solskjaer may be wise to make a move.
Martinez has already said he will not allow Jelavic to go on the cheap. But then when it comes to goal-scorers, you get what you pay for.
image: © Jon Candy