Will next season see the return of the old Nikica Jelavic?

Following a disappointing second season for the Everton striker, what has gone wrong and will the next campaign see his resurgence?

He was the first name in my fantasy football team, the bargain-price striker I had scouted for the previous six months.

While others went for the more familiar fantasy staples such as Robin van Persie and Sergio Aguero, I went for Everton’s Croatian frontman.

I had seen what he had done in just four months at Goodison Park, having arrived from Rangers the previous January.

11 goals in 13 games spoke of a forward who would continue to bang them in with the regularity that had become habit in Scotland.

And yet as we approach the end of the season, Jelavic is still to equal his total from last year’s barn-storming beginning.

He has also long been dismissed from my fantasy team.

So what happened?

Why did a striker who looked deadly last year appear anything-but just a few months later?

David Moyes has called it “second-season syndrome”; while the fans have mostly stuck by the man whose touch and confidence appear to have deserted him.

The Everton manager hopes that a revitalising summer will see the 27-year-old return to the form that prompted him to pay £5.5million for the striker.

Talking last month, in typical understated fashion Moyes spoke of the Toffees’ profligacy in front of goal.

We are just lacking in goals a wee bit,” he said.

We just seem to go astray around the edge of the box.”

That wasn’t a problem last season, at least not where Jelavic was concerned.

You wonder where Everton might have finished this season if they’d had the Jelavic of last year rather than his comparatively goal-shy alter-ego.

But the Croatian continues to work hard, to put himself in the right places even if the wrong things happen once he gets there.

And I for one hope he returns to his previous fine form.

I won’t be putting him in my fantasy team again anytime soon. But then I chose not to pick Michu at the start of last season, and look what happened there.

How has Jelavic performed overall this season?  And will next year see his return to form?

image: © fabiopao

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