JelaNikica Jelavic has left Everton with dignity and the well wishes of all Evertonians.

The open letter penned by the Croatian to the Blues’ supporters was a testament to the loyalty and support he received from all corners of the fanbase despite a drastic drop in form.

Jelavic fired 11 goals in his first 16 appearances in an Everton shirt. Depressingly, he managed just 10 more goals in the following 53 appearances. Two league goals, one a world class reaction finish and the other a deflection, was all Jelavic had to show for 2013.

Like many before him, Jelavic just didn’t stand up to the high expectations demanded from an Everton frontman. In short, he simply wasn’t good enough.

Evertonians love centre forwards. They love to rever a proper number nine. Jelavic may have wore the number seven on his shirt, but the instinctive one-touch finishing he displayed in those first fruitful six months of his Goodison career drew resemblance to the truly great Everton goalscorers.

And that is why lots of Evertonians clung to the belief that Jelavic could somehow recapture that honeymoon form even when performances on the pitch pointed to a man who had been ‘found out’.

When Roberto Martinez arrived in the summer, there was a renewed hope that the Spaniard could revitalise the misfiring Croatian and rebuild the confidence that many observed had been ‘destroyed’ by David Moyes. There is a belief that Moyes played a significant part in ‘ruining’ the forwards he had brought to the club. Sadly, like Beattie, Johnson and Saha before him, Jelavic just didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The stats reflect quite favourably on Jelavic. In 41 Premier League starts he scored 16 goals which equates to a goal roughly every 2.5 games. That is certainly not to be discredited in any way but the performances on the pitch were the real indicator.

Despite a couple of pre-season goals against Blackburn, Real Madrid and Betis, Jelavic couldn’t take his form into the Premier League once it resumed in August. Jelavic started each of the first five Premier League games but couldn’t register a goal and showed no sign of returning to his predatory best. In fact, he appeared to be the same player that had regressed to the point that he had become unrecognisable under Moyes. When Lukaku was brought on as a half-time substitute at Upton Park and effectively won Everton the game, Jelavic’s fate was sealed.

Lukaku’s goals, power, presence and pace rendered Jelavic to the shadows and conveyed the vast difference in attributes for all Evertonians to see.

Jelavic commented that the Toffees will always be in his heart and that feeling will certainly be mutual for the fans who will wish to remember him for those eleven special strikes at the back end of the 2011/12 season.

Thanks for the memories, Jela.

Na na na na na na na…

Joe Jennings

5 Comments

  1. Sorry but I don’t totally agree with this article. I think the reason Jelavic wasn’t scoring was simply because we weren’t playing to his strengths. Fellaini being up next to him ruined him as much as Moyes’ tactics. Moyes had Jela chasing balls on wings while Fellaini was in the middle bringing everything down on his chest. Jela was not scoring because simply he wasn’t given the opportunities. I think had we played to his strengths and kept him in the centre and put passes to his feet or half a yard in front of him, in/around the 18 yard box, he would have got back to his goal scoring best. I for one am sad to see him go, not just for sentimental reasons but because I believe he still has a lot to offer, he will get plenty of goals for Hull provided they play to his strengths.

  2. Good article except for the standard SOS Moyes bashing. Not sure I agree with this idea that Moyes destroyed strikers. The idea that Jelavic came to Everton, scored a hat full of goals and then Moyes changed him into a man who couldn’t hit the target is a little bit far fetched and paranoid.
    In my opinion, it’s the same with Beattie & Johnson. The fact was, they weren’t good enough to consistently score a high number of goals each season. If they were, they wouldn’t have been with Everton at that time as one of the higher finishing clubs would have snapped them up. That’s why clubs pay so much for strikers.

  3. Bill Brierly says:

    Totally agree with you paul, good luck Jela

  4. Graham Lloyd says:

    You need wide men feeding jelavic.
    if you put the ball in 6 yard box he will bang em in for fun.
    go gettem nik as long as you dont score against us

  5. I think his lack of goals stemmed purely from confidence. He played the same way under martinez as he did Moyes. I don’t think either manager told him to get out wide. I think he naturally drops out there when he’s struggling for form.

    When he first came to us I seem to remember him staying central and dropping deep with his back to goal, a one touch lay off and he would spin an head into the box to get on the end of a cross or through ball. After the euros he came back and played like he’d lost his mojo. Shame. Could have been a legend if his head had been right.

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