Former Everton striker Tony Cottee has criticised the Toffees' failure to adequately replace Romelu Lukaku in the summer and says that the lack of focal point up front at Goodison Park is putting added pressure on the rest of the team.
Much has been made of Everton's vast but currently unsuccessful transfer business in the summer. The beleaguered Merseysiders spent almost £150m on a host of new recruits but now find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle and without a permanent manager.
Cottee, who scored 99 goals for Everton during tsix-year spell with the club, was not impressed by his former side's expensive recruitment and could not understand why director of football Steve Walsh did not attempt to sign either Chris Wood or Andre Gray when their need for an attacking presence was so glaringly obvious.
Wood joined Burnley from Leeds United for £15m while Gray left Turf Moor for Watford in a deal worth £18.75m. The pair have enjoyed positive starts at their new clubs, and Cottee thinks the New Zealand star and Englishman would have been sound options to spearhead the attack for David Unsworth's side.
"The transfer strategy was really poor from Everton's point of view, particularly with the Lukaku money," Cottee told Sky Sports. "I've said it before, you get £75m and you lose your 25-goal-a-season goalscorer and you buy three no.10's but you're not buying a centre forward.
"What was wrong with Chris Wood? What was wrong with Andre Gray? Alright, they aren't guaranteed Premier League goalscorers but they are centre-forwards who can lead the line. Everton don't have a focal point and that puts pressure on the rest of the team."
Everton have had to turn to former misfit Oumar Niasse and youth prospect Dominic Calvert-Lewin in order to provide the goals in Lukaku's absence. Niasse has scored six goals in all competitions while Calvert-Lewin has netted five, but Cottee does not see the attacking pair as long-term solutions to their side's offensive woes.
"I don't think the solution is there. I mean you've got Calvert-Lewin, who is a good young player and you might have to let him lead the line," Cottee said.
"I don't think Rooney can play that role now, Calvert-Lewin is the one you've got to let do it. But it's a big problem for the club and it's not something they can solve now."