The Bolton match will also see the welcome return of Captain America, Landon Donovan. His natural attacking flair is exactly what the side has been crying out for all year, as we continue to struggle in front of goal. It is expected he will take up the right sided role he left during his last stint in 2010, however, I believe he would be more of a benefit in a more central position. Averaging a goal every other game for LA Galaxy and coming off the back of a successful season in the MLS, that kind of confidence in the box has been missing of late and may rub off on temporary colleagues.
David Moyes preference of deploying one loan Striker has failed to suit the aging Louis Saha or his understudies who, in my opinion, are quintessential hold up players so are dependent on a partner to do the running for them. Donovan, can and should be that man for the 8 games we are entitled to his services for. The squad has somewhat depth in regards to width with Seamus Coleman, Royston Drenthe and Leon Osman vying for starting berths, and the likes of Victor Anichebe, Ross Barkley and James McFadden all able to provide cover on the flanks.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Landon play twice since he last ventured across the Atlantic, firstly for the United States at 2010’s World Cup and then for Galaxy last Summer. In both games he used his pace to run at the defences from the middle, either with the ball or get into the danger area as soon as possible to cause problems. Putting him with 1 of Saha, Denis Stracqualursi, Tollos Vellios or the aforementioned Anichebe could see the goals start to fly in again.
Even with Everton’s exceptionally limited budget I would still expect to see a few more new faces joining Landon at Finch Farm shortly. Interestingly, many of the names being regularly linked are former players who are deemed surplus to requirements with their current employers. Out of all of them, Steven Pienaar is the one that interests me the most, in my opinion Everton have missed his presence and influence more than Mikel Arteta. He has failed to gain regular Football at White Hart Lane and hasn’t managed to build the same rapport with the Spurs support that he had at Goodison Park.
Speculatively, Tottenham would prefer to sell the little South African schemer rather than loan, presumably they are looking for better competition to bolster their ranks as they push again for a top 4 finish.
Some Evertonians may not welcome the return of Pienaar, when he left in the same window a year ago it followed protracted contract negotiations in which an agreement was clearly not met. He was portrayed as money grabbing and holding the club to ransom, however if this was true he could held out until the Summer and made a lot more as a free transfer. Instead, he was sold for a similar amount that was paid for him some 3 years previous to a club able to offer European Football, the move made sense for both Everton and Pienaar. 12 months on, it makes sense for the diminutive Midfielder to take his place back in front of Leighton Baines. He wants to be playing regularly again and we need the creativity a player of his ilk can offer, desperately.
Hopefully, January will come and go with a few new faces adorning the squad list, with the likelihood being loans. Moyes has a good record getting the best out of those having something to prove, Donovan and Pienaar were prime examples of that and maybe they both will be again.
Happy New Year.
Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter @jackdoggydogg