It has been a whirlwind couple of days for Ivorian striker Lacina Traore. Massive spenders Monaco saved Traore from the sinking ship that has become Anzhi Makhachkala after buying him on January 4th for an estimated £16 million.
However, as Claudio Ranieri has decided Monaco do not need Traore's services as of now due to the form of Falaco and the surprise package of the season Emmanuel Riviere, the 23 year old striker is being given the chance to earn his spurs elsewhere before returning to Monaco in earnest for the new season.
As it stands, Everton have won the battle for the highly sought after target man and all that stands in the way is a medical. This does not mean the deal is a foregone conclusion, however. According to sources at The Guardian, a niggling injury scuppered West Ham's bid for the striker.
Indeed, such injury woes have kept Traore out for 14 of Anzhi's 19 games in the Russian league. Nonetheless, with Everton selling Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Kone being out for the season, Romelu Lukaku is the only out and out senior striker they have, and even he has gone off the boil as of lately.
If Traore does sign, Everton are getting more than just a player that will pad out the bench. He has scored 4 goals in 7 international appearances for Ivory Coast, and in his club career he has scored 57 in 148 games. Playing for clubs like Cluj and Anzhi, Traore has experienced many Champions League and Europa League campaigns; therefore, despite his tender age, he has some experience to go with his qualities.
Traore's main quality is that he is a powerful 6ft 8 striker - affectionately nicknamed the Gentle Giant. Given at times Everton have struggled to break down their opponents after crafty midfield work, a striker the size of Traore working in tandem with Lukaku is a sign Everton will now be prepared to bulldoze their opponents if the more subtle approach fails to work.
Furthermore, given Traore's experience, Martinez may opt to bench Lukaku every now and again to give the striker a well deserved rest. Lukaku has currently played in every game possible - except the Chelsea match as he is on loan from them.