One of the main bugbears about Everton’s struggles this season has been the lack of width in Ronald Koeman’s side. The Toffees appeared to reinvest the £75 million they earned from the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United well at the time but, two months after the close of the transfer window, it seems Everton have made the same mistake that Tottenham did when attempting to replace Gareth Bale in 2013.
Everton, like Spurs in that all-fated summer, signed a glut of identikit players, a fleet of number tens but with no one to put those chances away. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen all arrived at Goodison Park in the summer and are all competing for a place off the front.
Even Nikola Vlasic, a winger by trade, moved into a number ten role in the second half of Everton’s 2-1 Europa League defeat to Lyon on Thursday night.
Though Koeman should not let defeat cloud the fact that The Toffees looked more dangerous against their Ligue 1 guests than they have in most of their outings so far this season. And it is no coincidence that this occurred when Everton’s manager put more emphasis on building play through the wide areas rather than congesting the centre of the pitch and restricting their own space.
Just one Cornet
Though with Kevin Mirallas and Ademola Lookman struggling to convince at the start of the season and finding themselves out of favour, perhaps Everton should look to upgrade their wide options in January.
And if Maxwel Cornet’s second-half cameo is anything to go by, he should be on Everton’s radar. Cornet had only been on the pitch five minutes before he exploded past Ashley Williams to put the winning goal on a plate for Bertrand Traore deep into the second half at Goodison Park.
It was the kind of aggressive, rapid-fire forward burst that Everton have failed to produce all season. The 21-year-old, who has 22 goals in the last two seasons for Lyon, has struggled for game time so far this but Everton should put their latest defeat to good use and see how much the Ligue 1 giants want for Thursday’s game-changer.