It is always very easy to say what if's and maybe's, however last night I was sat watching Everton's Europa League clash with Krasnodar, personally I am a huge fan of our old gaffer Bobby (Roberto Martinez) and when I get the chance I do and will sit and watch Everton games, one thing that struck me that was their number 9.
Arouna Kone, the man signed by Roberto Martinez as the answer to Wigan Athletic's striking problems in 2012, made his return to football after 14 months out with knee problems. It took me back to a time and a season when we fought for our Premier League survival and we won the FA Cup. The player who helped to make the FA Cup reality, and nearly the Premier League survival a reality was the Ivorian.
Signed from Levante for £3.5 million he came with promise and vigour and he didn't fail to impress. In is one and only season for us he managed to score 11 goals in 33 games, quiet an impressive record (one goal every three games) for one of our strikers, looking at the stats it made me wonder, what if he had stayed at us for one Championship season?
Pace, strength and clinical finishing; that is all we would have needed in the Championship and we would have had a League winning striker. Instead of the worse than useless Grant Holt leading the line in the early Owen Coyle reign, we could have had the Arouna Kone causing havoc for opposition defences. Kone has that never stop running, never stop trying attitude you need to succeed in the Championship coupled with his goal scoring prowess in the English game, remember he torment a strong Huddersfield team in the FA Cup, Kone would have gone down as a success.
Like I say it is always easy to look back and say what if. The player was sold for the £6 million price tag, which to be fair was a release clause, and to get him of the wage bill. Would it have been that much more expensive to keep him on than brining in the likes of Grant Holt, Martyn Waghorn, Nicky Maynard and Marc Antoine Fortune to try and get goals. The four out and out strikers we had last season managed a combine total of 14 goals, not exactly a decent return. Then make the argument that Kone could have fired us back into the Premier League and the money return on that, you have to ask where was the logic in selling him?
Even after 14 months out he still looked sharp against the Russian opposition, that turn of pace and strength causing problems. Kone is also one of those strikers who you are never totally sure just what he will do, one minute he will run at you to charge at goal, the next minute he is having a long range shot. Unpredictability is a great skill to have as a striker.
Always easier to wonder back and say what if? But is this the one that got away and could have changed our fortunes last season? Comment below.