Victor Anichebe was strongly linked with a switch to Wigan this summer, and if he had left, it would not have been a surprise to anyone.
The Nigerian striker had suffered badly through injuries, inconsistent form, and competition for places, and the signing of Nikica Jelavic in January saw the club finally find a goalscorer who rose to the challenge demanded by the club.
Anichebe had been part of Everton's 'pretenders' with Apostolos Vellios, and Denis Stracquarlarsi last season, each showing flashes of potential without quite seizing the mantle to hold down a regular spot, as Jelavic did.
When David Moyes went out and bought Kevin Mirallas from Olympiakos in August, the prospects looked even bleaker for Anichebe, with the club's preference for lining up with just one striker backed by Fellaini in support another factor in that.
On Saturday Anichebe scored his second goal of the season, in Everton's 3-0 win over Swansea, following on from his strike against Newcastle in last Monday's 2-2 draw.
His re-emergence is great news for Everton, especially with Jelavic waylaid with a minor injury, and has confirmed that the club have three very capable goalscorers up front, with Mirallas, the other, also netting at the weekend.
The competition has certainly seemed to spur the forward on, who has a contract at Goodison Park until 2015, and clearly wants to fight for his place.
Anichebe, now 24, made his first team debut back in 2006, and even scored his first Everton goal at the end of the 2005-06 season. If he was expected to go on and become of the club's most successful strikers, or at the very least, a potent Premier League force to be reckoned with, he is still to fulfil that potential.
At his age it is time he kicked on, and you get the feeling if he can stay injury-free, it might just be possible.
He suffered a bad knee injury in 2009 which saw him miss almost a year of action, but he made it back to earn a new contract, but last season a groin injury saw him miss nearly all of the first half of the campaign.
He returned in January to make a strong end the the season, even if it went largely unnoticed thanks to Jelavic's emergence, with the Nigerian scoring against West Brom (twice), Wigan, Sunderland, and Aston Villa.
However a stat which tells you a lot about Anichebe's role at the club during his career, is that he holds the record at Everton for being the most used substitute in the club's history.
He played the full 90 minutes against Swansea on Saturday, the first time he had done that for the club since August 2011, in the League Cup against Sheffield United.
But when was the last time he did that in the Premier League? You have to go all the way back to January 27 2010 to when he played the full 90 minutes without being substituted in the league, against Sunderland in a 2-0 win, three seasons ago.
He got close in May 2010 when he almost finished a match in the league, substituted in the final minute against Stoke, but the January of that year was the last time he played from start to finish in the division.
The striker will not intend on waiting another two-and-a-half years before he does the same again, and if he can continue his form he has shown over the past two games, it won't be a worry.
Whether he can force himself into a regular starting role when Jelavic returns is a greater challenge, but it gives him something to aspire to, and at 24, it is time he took his game to the next level, and if he can stay fit, it could be an exciting season for the Toffees with three strikers firing.
What can Anichebe achieve at Everton this coming season?
image: © zachleat