Graham Stuart
Graham Stuart told IBTimes UK that Everton have failed to replace Romelu Lukaku's goals this season IBTimes UK/Naveen Ullal

Everton will prioritise signing a striker in January, according to their former forward Graham Stuart, and he has advised the Toffees to bring in Arsenal's Olivier Giroud in the mid-season transfer window.

The Merseyside club has struggled in the Premier League and in Europe this season, leading to the sacking of Ronald Koeman on Monday [23 October] after the 5-2 defeat to the Gunners.

The Toffees are currently in 18th place in the table with eight points after nine games, while the are yet to win a match in the Europa League.

Among Koeman's many shortcomings was his failure to cover for the loss of last season's top scorer Romelu Lukaku, who joined Manchester United in the summer. The Belgium international scored 25 goals and registered six assists in the league for the Goodison Park outfit last season.

Giroud was identified as the player to replace Lukaku at Everton. However, the deal did not take shape despite the France international admitting that he came close to swapping Arsenal for Everton.

Stuart has stressed that Everton have failed to replace Lukaku's goals this season and expressed his disappointment after his former club failed to bring in a quality striker in the summer transfer window.

"I don't think there is any doubt that in January, our No 1 priority is to bring in a striker. I think it is pretty apparent that we were looking to bring a top striker into the football club. For one reason or the other, we didn't manage to get that done. That's a regret for us, for sure," Stuart told IBTimes UK, prior to Koeman's dismissal as manager.

"Giroud is a top-class player and that's the level of player we are trying to bring into the football club because we got a batch of good young players, but you need the right balance.

"You want somebody who is Premier League-strong and knows the Premier League inside out. We need someone who can help Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the top end of the pitch. Wayne Rooney speaks for himself and we know how good Rooney is.

"But when you lose someone like Romelu Lukaku, who scores 20-25 goals, it is very difficult to replace him. We looked to replace that by sharing the goals across the park and that hasn't come out yet for us."