Frank Lampard has said Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s fitness problems will intensify Everton’s efforts to strengthen their attack in January.
Everton have scored only 11 goals in 14 Premier League games and, after reinforcing central defence and midfield in the summer, improving his forward line was always the next stage in Lampard’s rebuilding plans. But he admits there is added urgency to address the problem given Calvert-Lewin’s misfortune.
The centre-forward is sidelined with hamstring, shoulder and knee problems, although he does not require surgery after visiting a specialist. Calvert-Lewin has been plagued by injury for 15 months and Everton, having sold last season’s leading goalscorer Richarlison, added only Neal Maupay to their attack in the summer.
“There are a lot of parts to it,” Lampard said of the transfer strategy. “The first thing is for the bigger part of the [summer] window Dominic was fit so you’re thinking ‘Dominic plus one’ and Neal Maupay comes in. Then we’ve got two good options, and Salomón Rondón at the time, and you’re thinking: ‘OK, we can work with that’.
“The market isn’t easy for strikers and as much as we want to bring in players to improve the squad, if they’re not there to improve you or you’re going out on a limb for players you are not sure about – and I think that might be part of some mistakes that have been made before – then you’re in a position you don’t want to be in. You have to be pretty level-headed about how you want to improve the squad and the process it will be.
“The idea that we could have made another three or four signings who would all be perfect – first of all the budget wasn’t there to do that, and secondly you’ve got to get the right ones at the right time. January was one where we thought: ‘Where will we want to look at in that area?’ And of course Dominic’s injury has probably focused it more than we may have thought at that time.”
Everton revisit Bournemouth on Saturday four days after a 4-1 defeat at the Vitality Stadium in the Carabao Cup, when Lampard’s decision to make 11 changes backfired and attracted fierce criticism from the travelling support.
“I don’t mind those emotions,” the manager said. “I would never sit here and say, ‘Why are they getting on the players?’ after that performance. It wasn’t good enough. I didn’t expect this season to be a lovely ride after what happened last season. Richarlison leaves, we make some changes and we bring in players. It was always going to be another testing season, which means periods like now.”