Everton within touching distance of landing Monaco striker

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After giving Romelu Lukaku a temporary home to dramatically successful effect, Everton are looking to go down that route once again during the January window, with a move for newly signed Monaco man, Lacina Traore.

The Ivory Coast international switched from cash-strapped Anzhi to oil-rich Monaco at the start of the month but was always likely to be a bit part in the Ligue 1 club’s pursuit of the title, with Colombian Radamel Falcao monopolising the striking minutes under Claudio Ranieri.

West Ham had looked in pole position to nab the striker, but when a far more lucrative offer came in from the Toffees, who are 9/2 to finish in the top four this season, the Hammers were always going to finish second in the race for Traore’s signature.

The Telegraph have reported that the seven-cap front man has passed some aspects of his medical on Merseyside already and expect the club to apply for the player’s work permit in the next 48 hours.

The arrival of a new striker was high up on the Martinez shopping list after the Spaniard allowed former-goalscorer, Nikica Jelavic, to depart for Hull earlier in the window, and with Arouna Kone still ruled out with injury, it left Lukaku as the lone option up top for the former Wigan supremo.

The Belgian, who has nine goals for his temporary club this season, is 5/4 to add to that tally at any time against West Brom but would leave his Goodison Park club extremely short-handed should he pick up a knock.

Traore only made five appearances for Anzhi this season, scoring one goal, but would certainly add aerial prowess to Everton’s game, standing at 6ft 8′ tall and enjoyed decent seasons in the Russian Premier League before finding himself on the periphery, notching 30 league goals for a combination of Kuban Krasnodar and Anzhi in 62 league outings.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.