For Ross Barkley, 2013 was finally his breakout year. Since the arrival of Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park the central midfielder has been handed a far more prominent role in the Everton side - and has proven himself as one of the best young midfielders in the country.
So the news this week that he could be out for a maximum of six weeks (the player himself reckons more like three) with a fractured toe sustained in the FA Cup tie with QPR is a hammer blow for Everton’s Champions League aspirations.
With him missing, and a general need for potential long-term midfield options to be added, Everton are likely to be looking in that area of the pitch in January.
The club have already snapped up winger Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow - and Martinez has confirmed a desire to bring in more new faces this month.
One face that could surely figure in recruitment discussions would have to be Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Lewis Holtby.
The German international has been a peripheral figure in the Spurs team this season - and even more so since the arrival of Tim Sherwood in place of Andre Villas-Boas.
Holtby cost Spurs a paltry amount of just €1.75 million this time last year, as his contract with Schalke was approaching expiry - and this week it was confirmed he was considering an exit, amid speculation of a loan return to Schalke.
Why not Everton?
Firstly he is the perfect cover for Barkley and can also play in the deeper midfield roles with Gareth Barry, James McCarthy or Leon Osman.
Then there is the fact he is a huge Everton fan - as much as that doesn’t seem to make a difference, it would surely be an influence on such a decision.
He would be getting plenty of first-team football - and chasing for the Champions League places, without giving up on his Premier League dream.
Spurs would be unlikely to loan him to a direct league rival - but if they were to receive a decent offer, at the price they paid for him, they would likely flog him on for a quick profit.
With Gareth Barry only on loan until the end of the season, Holtby would represent an excellent option if Barry goes elsewhere in the summer - so bringing him in now seems a logical and excellent idea.
image: © xtranews