Saturday 25 January 2014
Everton have reached an agreement to sign Lacina Traore on loan from AS Monaco until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old Ivory Coast forward was granted a work permit on Tuesday and terms for the deal have been agreed. Traore will require a visa before playing for the Toffees, a formality that is expected to be completed in the coming days.
"Technically he is as good a player as you will see with that height"
At 6ft 8in, Traore is the same height as Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and breaks Birmingham City striker Nikola Zigic's record of 6ft 7.5in for being the tallest outfield player in the Barclays Premier League. He arrives in England after signing for Monaco earlier in the transfer window from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
The striker has been playing in Europe since 2008, when he joined Romanian side CFR Cluj from Stade d'Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Traore played in the UEFA Champions League with Cluj before signing for Russian Premier-League side Kuban Krasnodar in 2011, for whom he scored 18 goals and caught the eye of rivals Anzhi.
Twelve goals in 20 starts helped Anji finish third in the Russian top flight in 2012/13 and he scored one goal in two league appearances before making his move to Monaco this month. He is the second Ivorian international at Everton after Arouna Kone, who joined the Toffees from Wigan Athletic in the summer, but is out injured for most of the season with a knee injury.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was pleased to bring in someone so young but with such experience who gives him options up front.
"As a player he is someone with real pace," Martinez told the club website. "Of course his height attracts the eye but he’s got great co-ordination to allow him to use his height to have good speed. His movement is very good and technically he is as good a player as you will see with that height.
"So he brings something completely different. He can play in different positions, at No 9 or just behind the striker, giving us options in an area where we are weak due to the injury to Kone."