This season would be classed as a fairly disappointing campaign so far in terms of the Premier League for Everton. In a league with so many opportunities this season Everton at this stage really should be challenging higher than their position indicates they are. Currently Everton occupy 11th place in the Premier League table, not a disaster when you think they are still only five points of the top six and nine of the top four. Despite having a very exciting and dynamic forward line including the in-form Romelu Lukaku and the dazzling pair of Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu, the problems keeping the goals out is the biggest concern for the team. Tim Howard has not covered himself in glory from the start of the season and his place now as the number one goalkeeper for Everton surely has to reassessed.
Tim Howard is now thirty-six years of age and is still capable of producing top saves at important times, however when watching Everton over the last season and a half he is a big problem in the backline for Everton. The American shot-stopper has been a fantastic servant to Everton having joined back in 2007 from Manchester United. Howard has managed over one hundred caps for the USA and had a World Cup to remember in 2014, breaking the record for the amount of saves in a single match. When thinking back to that, the performances at that World Cup almost earned Howard his spot between the sticks for the next two seasons.
The problem now is that Howard does not command his box in any sense, not from crosses, corners, and more importantly coming of his line which he was one of the best around at for a long time. His shot stopping is still relatively comfortable but sometimes because his footwork now looks so awkward some of the saves are not exactly top saves and are being parried into poor areas or Howard is taking his eyes of the ball. It would be very unfair to say he is the main culprit for the conceding of goals for the club but he has certainly became a big factor. Whether Roberto Martinez decides to look to replace Howard only time will tell but with the Everton fans even becoming somewhat restless with Howard in the last month, this has got to certainly be a move that Martinez would consider to make. Question is who would replace Howard? Would he look to add a new goalkeeper into the equation?
The current Everton number two, has been an understudy to Tim Howard now for the last two seasons, could now be his chance. At the age of 25 Robles has worked with Roberto Martinez now for the last three seasons, however there would be doubts whether he would be the answer to the new number one position. Despite his 6 foot 5 frame Robles is not as commanding as perhaps he should be, and his poor distribution would be the two biggest problems going against Robles in his pursuit of that number one jersey.
The Spanish stopper has been targeted by many elite teams across Europe really since he left Sevilla to join Real Madrid. Since joining AC Milan from Real Madrid, this season Alves found himself dropped and replaced by a sixteen year old in goal for Milan. Now the 34 year old one time capped Spaniard wants out and he will not be short on options. The only problem is his age, ideally Everton would be looking for longevity in the replacement for Howard, however Alves does have that quality to stay on as a short term answer to the leaking of goals for the club.
The Arsenal number two goalkeeper has to be considered one of the most unfortunate goalkeepers around. After contributing massively to Arsenal’s super second half of last season, he is dropped and replaced this season by Peter Cech, and any of his mistakes are highlighted unlike Cech’s. At 27 Ospina is a good age for a goalkeeper and has top attributes that should really make him a top option to replace Howard. The Colombian number one now has Premier League experience, and what he lacks in height and maybe a sense of command he makes up for with his agility and spring, among the best goalkeepers in the world when it comes to shot stopping but other areas do let him down. Certainly would be a very good option for Martinez to consider.
The highly rated German has been linked with a recent move to Liverpool, but the interest in this young goalkeeper will step up massively if any club has an offer accepted for him by FC Koln. Horn has been the number one for Koln since he was 18, and has been considered right among the array of talented German goalkeepers around. A move to Everton might not be considered the most glamorous of moves, but he will get games, he will receive fantastic support from manager and fans and most importantly he will get time. At a ‘bigger’ club the fans might be quicker to turn on him than support him, at a club with the fantastic support Everton has, this is not a problem.