Everton should have tried to sign Tottenham Hotspur forward Fernando Llorente, David Villa and Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic in order to solve their striking issue during the summer transfer window, according to Stan Collymore.

Ronald Koeman's side brought in a host of new players during the summer but failed to recruit an adequate replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who came back to haunt them as he scored in United's 4-0 win over his old club on Sunday (17 September).

Sandro Ramirez and Wayne Rooney both arrived at Everton this summer, but Collymore, who played for the Toffees' arch-rivals Liverpool during his playing career, thinks they should have "pushed hard" for Llorente. The Spaniard joined Tottenham from Swansea City on transfer deadline day for £12m and Collymore believes they also missed a trick by failing to take a punt on veteran striker Villa, who is currently plying his trade for New York City FC.

"I can understand Everton wanting to flesh out their squad with the Lukaku money in the summer – but unless you've got goals in the side you're not going to break into the top four," Collymore wrote in his column for The Mirror.

"Arsenal have Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool have Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, while United will have four options up front when Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back, and Manchester City four or five. So not until Everton have a Lukaku and a Marcus Rashford-type figure coming through to get 40 or 50 goals between them will they make the leap from Europa League to Champions League.

"I was surprised they didn't push hard for Fernando Llorente, who has a great pedigree, or David Villa, who is scoring goals for fun in New York and has just been brought back into the Spain squad."

Everton did try to replace Lukaku with a striker of some pedigree, but moves for Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Chelsea outcast Diego Costa failed to materialise. Ibrahimovic, currently recovering from a nasty knee problem, was another player available for transfer this summer, and Collymore thinks Everton should have made an audacious attempt to sign the indomitable Swede, who has since re-signed for United on a one-year contract after scoring 28 goals in his first season in England.

"Could they have given Ibrahimovic's agent a cheeky call and offered him a three-year deal?" Collymore added. "Any of them would have made a difference and had even one of them signed then Koeman might have been a little bit more inclined to agree with Mourinho's assertion, or Mourinho less inclined to make it in the first place."

Pepe Reina, David Villa and Fernando Llorente
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