When Everton signed Richarlison in a deal potentially rising to £50million most Watford fans were delighted to see the back of him. After all, the Brazilian attacker was a huge disappointment during the second half of the season despite making an explosive start to his career in England.
The 21-year-old is at it again after scoring twice in Everton’s opening draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. So is this the start of a consistent run of excellence for Marco Silva’s side or will the forward again go missing after Christmas?
It all looked so promising from Richarlison after five goals before the middle of November helped fire Watford into the top half of the table.
The pacy forward was a key cog in the Hornets’ early season success but it all turned sour with his last goal coming in the home win over West Ham United in the middle of November.
A loss of form was undoubtedly to blame although some would argue a loss of interest was just as significant and his head was turned after interest from bigger Premier League clubs.
The exit of Silva in January was a major setback for Richarlison but now he has been reunited with the coach at Goodison Park. Perhaps he will now show the promise which encouraged Everton to make such a bold offer for a player that misfired badly from December onwards.
What does Richarlison offer?
Richarlison is a gifted footballer with natural talent in the final third. There is no doubt about this but he should have scored much more than he managed during his first year in the Premier League.
His expected goals (xG) was 10.65 and 0.33 per 90 minutes but this failed to translate into goals as he missed too many chances. Richarlison had 3.02 scoring attempts per 90 which ranked him 14th for players in his position.
This underlines the wide attacker was wasteful in front of goal but had no trouble putting in efforts on goal. His poor form in the closing months also has to be placed in the context of Watford’s results with the team losing 11 of their last 12 away league matches.
With better service at Everton, from the likes of new signings Bernard and André Gomes, Richarlison can be expected to improve significantly on his goal return.
The expectations are much higher at Everton, compared to Watford, so the pressure will be on Richarlison to deliver on a consistent basis. Obviously there is a slight concern against him in the way he fell away last season but you would expect an increased level of maturity, coupled with the additional experience, will ensure he does not drop his standards to the same extent.
His physicality cannot be questioned with the versatile winger making 2.03 tackles per 90 last season and winning 3.82 aerial challenges per 90. This should endear him to the Everton fans although he has been bought to prosper at the other end rather than for any willingness to defend.
The fact he made such an instant impact for Everton in their 2-2 draw at Wolves should not come as a surprise. It is what happens when the clocks go back and the evenings become shorter which will be of more significance.
Silva should bring out best in Brazilian
The importance of the relationship between Richarlison and Silva cannot be overstated. The belief the coach instilled in his young forward was unconditional and if the pair had worked together in the closing months of the season, it is difficult to believe his goal drought would have continued.
The former Fluminense attacker should certainly be stronger for his first season in English football and will be expecting a far better goal return. Richarlison managed 70 shots last season and if he gets close to this mark reaching double figures for goals should be well within his sights.
It was an excessive transfer fee which brought him to Everton, based on his initial achievements, but Richarlison certainly has the natural talent to go on to justify his hefty price tag.