Tim Howard has come in for a lot of criticism this season, as he did last year too. He has kept only four clean sheets this term in his 17 appearances in the Premier League and only seven in the previous campaign.
For a man who is tenth on the list of Premier League keepers with 100 or more clean sheets, Howard has clearly not been doing enough of late that justifies him keeping his place between the sticks. And most Everton fans will agree.
So who could Everton line up to replace him in January? Or is the answer actually sat on the bench?
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1. Steve Mandanda
According to reports, Everton sent a scouting delegation to watch Marseille play Rennes on December 3 and they could have been keeping a close eye on French shot-stopper Steve Mandanda.
The 30-year-old’s contract is up at the end of this season but there are suggestions that if his club qualifies for next year’s Champions League, a clause will be triggered that automatically extends his current deal. However, given his team’s struggles in Ligue 1 this term, only a surprising turnaround will see this become a potential stumbling block.
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The French number two could be ready for a new challenge and could fancy a move to England. His experience and leadership qualities - one of the explanations Martinez has used to defend his current selection of Howard – make him the ideal man to take the gloves from the American.
2. Denys Boyko
UEFA team of the year nominee Denys Boyko has been highly praised for his recent performances that saw him concede an average of just 0.75 goals per game last term - even better than Manuel Neuer, Joe Hart and Gianluigi Buffon.
He has been capped by Ukraine and after helping underdogs Dnipro to the 2015 Europa League final, it can be said he has the big game experience required to be a success in England’s top division.
The 6ft 6in ‘keeper has been linked with the Toffees in recent weeks. This could be due to the fact he has the same agent as Andriy Yarmolenko, who has also been linked with a move to the Merseyside club among other Premier League sides since the summer.
3. Joel Robles
The emergence of Robles after securing three clean sheets in five league outings in the absence of Howard arguably sparked the rumblings to turn into roars towards whether the first choice should return.
The current number-two has played every match of Everton’s successful Capital One Cup run. Despite conceding three against Barnsley in the early rounds, Robles was the hero in a penalty shoot-out against Norwich when he saved Wes Hoolahan’s spot-kick to help see the Toffees progress to the next round.
In the quarter-final clash against a Middlesbrough side that plays an attacking style under Aitor Karanka, he registered a well-deserved clean sheet.
He is deemed to be a Martinez favourite as the Spanish boss also signed Robles at Wigan before he bringing him to Goodison Park.
However, the fact he is yet to be trusted with a run in the team when Howard is available raises doubts over his genuine ability.
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