Everton’s star performer for the past 12 months has been Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, a star turn against Manchester United on the opening day of the season the pinnacle of his Everton career so far.
Now it seems to have come at a price as the afro adorning versatile midfielder has mistakenly admitted a desire to leave Goodison soon. Despite retracting these statements and signing a new contract as recently as last year the warning signs are pretty obvious that he will move on at some stage.
With his current deal running to 2016, plus Everton wanting to recoup the £15 million spent on him as a minimum it is not inconceivable to think they will receive up to and in advance of £25 million for his talents.
With Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested the investors are also apparent. So who do Everton replace him with?
It is tough as he covers so many positions; holding midfield, attacking midfield or auxiliary striker, not to mention his physical presence. His international team-mate Moussa Dembele would have made a great replacement but the idea of him leaving Spurs so soon is beyond unlikely.
So who do Everton bring in? Here are five options...
If you want versatility then Lallana is your man. Capable of playing across the midfield or up front the 24 year old earned his first England call-up this week.
There are reports he has vowed to never leave The Saints, but if they go down and Everton come calling he may be swayed. Technically gifted, hardworking and deceptively strong on the ground and in the air he is a player that would fit in well on Merseyside.
He fits the physical mould of Maraoune exactly; even showcasing an afro of his own recently and would be a welcome addition at Goodison Park.
Rated as one of the best passers of the ball in the world, a move to Everton would not be costly as he appears out of favour with AVB and at only 25 has many years ahead of him. The only major worry is his injury record.
Plays in the support striker role that Fellaini has frequented and has openly discussed his desire to play for The Toffees after admitting to falling in love with the club on 2 separate loan spells.
Despite his second loan deal being reported as a non-success he still managed to directly assist 7 goals in just 9 games over a 2 month period; imagine what he could do in a season.
Or if Everton want to get really ambitious they could move for the Montenegrin talisman at Fiorentina. With the added financial clout from a Fellaini sale they could meet his asking price and another unsuccessful season in Italy may see Everton try to beat the big guns to what would be a sure record signing, in a show of determination and ambition.
His career appears to be on a downward curve, with international problems and injury issues the main sticking points but the boy is immensely talented.
Tall, strong but elegant he is also versatile. Signed by AC Milan as a defensive midfielder it was his time at Bordeaux that developed him into the attacking midfielder dubbed the ‘next Zidane’. The money accumulated from years of domestic dominance and European punts is drying up at Lyon who may wish to offload the French international from their wage bill.
If David Moyes fancies a punt, then look no further.
Are these options, or even picking up 2 of them, viable? Could the man they nearly signed, Odjidja-Ofoe be an option? Should they promote from within? If so then Ross Barkley could be the man.
Or should Everton consider someone else if the decision to move Fellaini on comes to fruition?