Everton manager Frank Lampard mentioned Dele Alli as a potential solution to the centre-forward dilemma he faces ahead of their season opener against Chelsea on August 6. It will take a few weeks for the Toffees to see their No. 9 Dominic Calvert-Lewin in action after the player suffered a knee injury in training a few days ago. The Everton forward has been sidelined for as many as six weeks as confirmed by Lampard in his press conference.
His absence will be a significant blow for the Toffees who would have hoped to start the campaign brightly against Chelsea. However, the Toffees boss suggests that Alli could come in handy and provide a solution to their centre-forward woes. Lampard said, via Sky Sports News:
“Y eah, potentially. He made his name as a second-striker in my opinion off Harry Kane, had some great years at Tottenham with that, maybe moved back generally at Tottenham as the years went on, to become more of a number 8 or slightly more of a structured midfield player.”
“S o I think when you look at our squad at the moment, yeah, the areas where we are looking to sign in, we’ve got solutions, then yeah he’s certainly in the running for a solution for that.”
Everton’s natural option in the number nine role would be Solomon Rondon, but he’s not someone who could be relied upon to knock in goals week after week. Last season, he scored just one goal in 20 Premier League appearances.
The Venezuela international is anyways not available for their game against Chelsea due to a suspension. Richarlison’s sale to Tottenham this summer could leave a void in Everton’s forward line given the injury-prone nature of Calvert-Lewin, leaving them short on goals. Alli, meanwhile, could help his reputation if he gets the opportunity to lead the line against Chelsea and in the upcoming weeks.
As Lampard mentioned, he was quite terrific in the second-striker role at Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino’s tutelage. The 26-year-old scored 66 goals and provided 60 assists in 268 appearances for Tottenham across all competitions.
However, he has gone through a steep decline where he has arguably lacked the hunger, desire and athleticism to affect games and come good. While it is a big gamble to rely on Alli to bring goals to this Everton side, Lampard has no other option.