There was a watershed moment on Merseyside this week as Tim Cahill brought to an end a fantastic eight years of service to Everton, securing a move to MLS outfit, New York Red Bulls.
Without doubt David Moyes’ best signing, Cahill treated Everton fans to a wonderful combination of scoring countless crucial goals, a tireless work rate and a quite obvious love for the club.
The iconic player of the Moyes era, his 68 goals in 278 games made him a legend for a generation of fans who were too young to have witnessed the glory days of the 1980s.
Cahill received many tributes for his efforts in the blue shirt and while fans will be sad to see him go, it should not be a concern to them as Moyes has a number of options open to him in the transition to life after Cahill.
The arrival of Nikica Jelavic in January gave the Toffees the regular goal scorer they craved. Having struggled to find the net himself, for the first time in his Everton career, Cahill was no longer assured of a starting place.
In his absence it was Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman who formed an effective midfield trio.
This is perhaps a more balanced midfield. Gibson combines steel and creativity while Osman is one of Everton’s most technically gifted players. And Fellaini, capable in both the holding role and playing off the striker enjoyed an impressive end to last season.
With Steven Pienaar set to return to Goodison Park, Moyes could well continue with a midfield that was successful at the end of last season. The versatile Steven Naismith could be deployed on the right to give the Blues an increasingly attack minded line up.
However a more likely option is that the Toffees will continue with the familiar 4-4-1-1 formation, originally adopted to accommodate Cahill. Naturally a second striker Naismith could play ‘in the whole’ behind Jelavic.
The new signinging would be a like for like replacement for Cahill in support of the front man. This is particularly appealing to Moyes with the former Rangers forward excited at the prospect of linking up with the Croatian striker again. Naismith should give Everton more attacking impetus and also gives them the option of playing 4-4-2.
Promising youngster Ross Barkley is a player who could benefit from Cahill’s transfer. The second year professional will want to kick on this season. Comfortable both in central midfield and in a more advanced role, without Cahill ahead of him he should get more opportunities to develop at the top level.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!