A key factor behind Everton’s success in the first half of the campaign has been the form of on-loan front man Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian forward promptly established himself as first choice at Goodison Park, where he’s scored nine goals in 15 Premier League starts, firing the Toffees into fifth spot in the table, making them a 5/1 shot to finish in the top four.
His consistency has seen the first team opportunities for fellow forwards Arouna Kone, now stricken by a knee injury, and Nikica Jelavic severely hampered.
The Croatian forward has made just five starts in the league this season and is yet to find the back of the net this term. His last Premier League strike came back in March of 2013, a year in which he only managed a solitary strike in the top tier.
With the World Cup around the corner and Croatia’s leading frontman Mario Mandzukic suspended for the first three games of the competition, the country’s reserve front men are all vying for the opportunity to lead the line in Brazil. To put himself into contention, Jelavic must secure a move away from Merseyside in January and West Ham and QPR are believed to be keen on offering him this escape route.
Roberto Martinez is also happy to comply with the 28-year-old’s demands, on the premise that he can draft a replacement in.
Both clubs are thought to be willing to match the £3.5m asking price for the player, but the West Ham switch is what would be most beneficial to the player’s fading World Cup hopes.
With the Hammers in dire need of some attacking reinforcements amid the injury crisis Andy Carroll’s absence brought about, he would surely be afforded precious minutes on the pitch and should he bag a few goals he would be almost assured of a spot on the plane to Brazil.
Scoring goals in the second tier at QPR wouldn’t win him as many favours with regards to international selection, but the R’s could be his only alternative if West Ham are unwilling to take the risk on a player with such a poor goalscoring record in recent times.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date