Everton manager David Moyes has a 30-strong list of strikers to work from in the January transfer window but he is resigned to Henrik Larsson not being the man to meet the club's desperate need for firepower.
Moyes concedes that the player's wage demands – probably around £80,000 a week – would be too much for Everton to match and believes that if the 37-year-old is to return for another swansong in the Premier League then it would probably be at a club more likely to be challenging for silverware.
Though the agent of Zenit St Petersburg striker Pavel Pogrebnyak has claimed Everton are monitoring him, he does not appear to be particularly high up Moyes' list and it is uncertain whether he even features. Everton are ideally looking for loan deals though the prospect of them buying is not out of the question.
There was some rare good news in the striking department for Moyes yesterday when Victor Anichebe was ruled fit for Saturday's visit to Manchester City. The 20-year-old, currently Moyes' only fit striker, was substituted against Aston Villa on Sunday with a recurrence of a back problem which, club physio Mick Rathbone revealed yesterday, has affected the player for years. "You will get a spell that lasts three or four weeks then it burns off and it's okay," Rathbone said. That is hardly encouraging new for Moyes, who has Louis Saha out with hamstring trouble, Yakubu Aiyegbeni facing a struggle to be fit even for the start of next season after surgery on ruptured Achilles, and James Vaughan finally undergoing a knee operation in America on Monday.
Larsson, 37, is a free agent after the start of his winter break from Swedish club side Helsingborgs, having netted 15 goals in 27 games for them, and Moyes would relish the services of such a fine player.
With Martin O'Neill also having ruled out Larsson, at Aston Villa, his services offer potential for someone, though Larsson currently has divided loyalties where football is concerned. He has taken up the Swedish sport of floorball – roughly defined as ice hockey without the ice – and recently impressed while playing for the top Swedish side which takes the same name as his current football club. He is aiming to remain a "two-sport" player and recently admitted he is seeking new ways of testing himself when his Swedish football contract runs out in January.