September. The window has finally slammed shut, and regardless of how successful our summer has been, the final jigsaw piece (a clinical number 9) remains missing. Yes, we’ve brought in both Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez, but one is in his thirties and unable to play every game, the other an inexperienced 22 year-old Spaniard who’s yet to get up to 100% match fitness since his move to England.
Romelu Lukaku and Enner Valencia were our main strikers last season, both now at different clubs. However, one forward remains at the club from last season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, signed from Sheffield United on Deadline Day last August for just £1.5m, has had quite the 12 months since his move to the Blues. From making his debut against Arsenal, to scoring his first goal against Hull and to scoring the first World Cup winning goal at any age level for England since 1966 in the summer against Venezuela.
That alone, proves the remarkable breakthrough year Calvert-Lewin has had in the past 12 months. He led the line perfectly as the classic number 9 with his strength, pace, movement and maturity. And now, till January at least, he has the perfect opportunity to replicate his England form and to prove himself at the highest level in both the top flight and Europe.
And as far as I’m concerned he’s more than capable. 7 games into the season, he’s already bettered his goals and assists tally from last season after only 4 starts. But, inspite of a ridiculously difficult start for the Blues, Calvert-Lewin has prevailed being one of Everton’s best performers and when played up top rather than out wide, you see exactly why Koeman has so much faith in him.
And his fast start to the season compares with the best strikers in the Premier League. Although yet to score in the league, and with only 208 minutes played, only Roberto Firmino can match him with (2) assists and only Harry Kane can match him for chances created (6). And with one of his key attributes being his height and link up play, he’s second only to former Blue Romelu Lukaku in ariel duels won (40%) and duels won (40%).
This proves alone the potential he has with the company he is matching and competing with. However, where he currently lacks is the most important part of being a striker. Goals. Yet to score in the league so far and its clear to see why. He has by far the lowest shot accuracy (25%) out of the forwards above with the closest being Gabriel Jesus (43%). But there’s probably a key reason for this. Although its clear to most that being the central striker is his best position, he’s already seen him played both out wide and even at wing-back already this season. Centrally, he’d be in the box more often and now with Gylfi Sigurdsson behind him, he has the perfect playmaker with a wand of a right foot to find the target man in the box, as seen with Fernando Llorente last season for Swansea.
And that combination has 4 months to prove itself both in the league, cup and Europe. Not even Calvert-Lewin would have thought he’d be in this position a couple of weeks ago. But after a fine start, and a poor end to the window, DCL finds himself in the perfect position to prove to both fans and Ronald Koeman, that he’s good enough to be our main striker for years to come.