Is it time for Nikica Jelavic to leave Everton?
Reports claim that the striker is pondering his future at Goodison Park after being left out of the Starting XI against Spurs last weekend. In the absence of winger Steven Pienaar and forward Marouane Fellaini, Jelavic looked to be a good bet to lead the line against Tottenham but David Moyes had other ideas. The Scot instead opted for Victor Anichebe who turned out a man-of-the-match performance for the Toffees.
Arriving on Merseyside from Rangers for $8.4m (£5.5m) in January 2012, Jelavic penned a four year deal with Everton and got right down to business scoring 9 goals in 13 league appearances. He was the toast of the Toffees and a key component to the club’s dramatic Spring surge that saw them go unbeaten in their final nine league matches to finish 7th in the table.
This season, however, has been a different story for the Croatian international. Having scored just once in his last 14 appearances and only three times in his last 24 league matches, Jelavic is beginning to see his opportunities shrink. He’s been given only one start in the last three matches leading some to believe that the 27 year old may have lost his regular role to Victor Anichebe.
The hulking Anichebe, who for years struggled with injury, has begun to come into his own this season scoring seven goals and grabbing seven assists in 25 appearances. A terrific hold-up player, Anichebe excels at getting his teammates involved in the play. The Nigerian international can also be deployed on the wing although his true strength is posting up defenders in the box, spinning and finishing. He’s also developing a knack for scoring big away goals including game-winners at Swansea and Newcastle and a crucial leveller at West Ham.
Both Jelavic and Anichebe are emotional players whose form largely mimics his confidence. Right now, Anichebe has it and Jelavic does not.
This summer is guaranteed to be a tumultuous one at Goodison as Marouane Fellaini will likely be sold and Moyes may also depart the club. Given Everton’s depth issues it is unlikely that Jelavic won’t have a spot in the 2013/14 squad. Instead of pondering his future the Croatian striker would best be served by putting his nose to the grindstone for the seven remaining matches, accepting whatever role Moyes’ hands him and recapturing the form that endeared him to the Everton faithful.