After Everton broke the bank this summer to sign Richarlison from Watford, the fans were eager to see how the 21 year-old Brazilian winger would work for the Blues in their opening game of the season against newly promoted Wolves.
Marco Silva was willing to pay a £40 million fee that could rise to £50 million depending on agreements between Watford and Everton; which makes the youngster Everton’s second most-expensive player just behind current midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. However, the playmakers signing has been questioned by football fans. Paul Merson went as far as to suggest that the fee had ruined the transfer window as it led to teams asking over the valued price for players this summer. Merson’s statement was to a degree backed up by the stats as Richarlison had not scored or assisted a Premier League goal for Watford since before Christmas and before Marco Silva’s departure from the Hornets last season.
Criticisms like this looked to have only added to Richarlison’s willingness to prove his critics wrong. Perhaps Marco Silva’s faith in him as a player has helped the wingers confidence as he opened his campaign with two goals and looks to have slotted perfectly into the Portuguese managers Everton side.
His quick start will have been ideal for himself, Silva and Everton fans too. The Brazilian’s second goal was an example of the individuals talent as his dribble into the box was capped off by a sensational low curled shot that put the ten men Toffee’s ahead. Despite the game ending 2-2, the Everton faithful will hope that Richarlison can continue to emulate his debut performance as the Blues look to breach the top 6 this season.
So with an exhilarating start, are the criticisms of Richarlison’s fee fair?
The major issue with the Richarlison fee seems to be that he was an unproven player in the Premier League. Although he had started his time in England with strong performances at Watford, his form deviated along with Watford’s performances. However, when looking at recent transfer windows, can it really be said that Everton overpaid for the 21 year-old?
He had shown potential at the Premier League level and this form was found under the man who resigned him. The transfer window also saw two goalkeepers signed for over £60 million each which have not been questioned. When looking at players similar to Richarlison however, his signing could be contrasted to Ousmane Dembélé’s for Barcelona. The Spanish side signed a 20 year-old for £138 million yet his fee was not met with the same criticisms. Both Dembélé and Richarlison had similar games played and goals scored when at their previous clubs, Watford and Borussia Dortmund. Yet Barcelona paid almost three times more for their winger who’s start to his time playing for the Catalan giants has been marred by injury and substitute appearances. Their was speculation of a loan move to Arsenal for the Frenchman to give him more game time. However, fans would argue the Frenchman needs time to improve and show his true potential.
This is where Richarlison and Dembélé bare similarities as their price tags are more likely based on their potential as they look to become key figures for their respective clubs. It would therefore be fair to suggest that a £40 million fee for Richarlison is not as outrageous as critics seem to first suggest.
The price tag also seemed to be what Marco Silva was willing to pay. Last season Everton lacked pace out wide often relying on Gylfi Sigurdsson to play on the left. The introduction of Richarlison allows the Icelandic playmaker to adopt a more central role in the Everton set up. Silva’s deadline day activity also saw him bolster the squad depth, particularly in midfield. This depth could perhaps take some pressure off Richarlison to perform every week. The creativity added could only provide more fluidity in midfield rather than hindering dynamic players such as the young Brazilian.
Richarlison’s two debut goals have shown that the Brazilian is capable of becoming a star player for Everton and although it is only one game, his performance seems to have silenced critics for now. Richarlison also seems like a young man who is ready to deliver on his price tag, but only time will tell on Merseyside.