Everton moved swiftly and quietly to wrap up the acquisition of Tarashaj in January 2016, a 20-year-old forward who is largely unknown in England but is highly regarded in his native Switzerland where some commentators feel he is a better prospect than Xherdan Shaqiri at the same age.
The Blues signed him for a reported £3m fee and secured him on a four-and-a-half-year contract before loaning him back to Grasshopper Zurich for the remainder of the season, a condition of the deal that would allow Tarashaj to complete his national service.
Tarashaj made his debut for Grasshopper in 2014 but his career in their first team didn't ignite until earlier this season when he scored five goals in four starts. That earned him a new four-year contract in September and attracted the attention of Everton's chief scout, Kevin Reeves, as well as the likes of Juventus and Inter Milan.
The talented Swiss is of Albanian descent but has been capped by Switzerland at U21 level but, according to his Wikipedia entry, Albania haven't given up hope of eventually persuading him to represent their country at senior level.
“I first found out Everton were interested two or three months ago and now I am here," Tarashaj told evertontv after penning his new deal with the Toffees. “For me that is the the best thing about Mr Martinez wanting me – his belief in young players.
“I heard that he was a good manager and works well with young players individually – this is what I want to make me a better player."
Shani Tarashaj would go to Euro2016 with the national Swiss side, but only got one minute on the pitch at the end of a group game before Switzerland were eliminated in the Round of 16.
Tarashaj featured in Everton's 2016 pre-season preparations before he picked up a minor injury and was not a part of Ronald Koeman's first-team plans as the season kicked off. On transfer deadline day, he joined Eintracht Frankfurt on a season-long loan.
A year on from joining Everton, he’s working his way back to full fitness with his German hosts. Tarashaj had made just six appearances for the German club. His had been a tale of woe since he signed, having to wait until the middle of September to even start training with them after suffering with benign angina.
Tarashaj’s debut in October was followed by his first goal later that month in the 3-0 win over Hamburg but he has played only three times since. A bout of tonsillitis was so severe that his tonsils had to be removed and saw him miss five games.
Tarashaj returned to the Frankfurt side as a sub against Wolfsburg and Mainz in December and will now be looking for an injury-free run in 2017 in the hope of impressing his parent club. Ronald Koeman, as he did with fellow January arrival Oumar Niasse, made a quick decision on Tarashaj in pre-season, immediately plunging his long-term Everton future into doubt.
It is believed the Blues boss had concerns about Tarashaj’s ability to cope with the rigours of the Premier League and so packed him off to Germany for the campaign. Martinez had also been keeping a close eye on the playmaker’s physical state, as he played out the remainder of the season with Grasshoppers, and brought him over to Finch Farm in April for tests.
Koeman decided he would play no part in the first-team this term even though Tarashaj was given a squad number (that was ironically worn by Niasse before his own loan to Hull City. The Swiss international must now hope his is not a case of being ‘out of sight, out of mind’ to ensure he doesn’t go the same way as Niasse.
|Born||Hausen am Albis, Switz.|
|Date of birth||7 February 1995|
|Joined||7 January 2016|
|Joined from||Grasshopper Zurich|
|Signed by||Roberto Martinez|
|Contract duration||4½ years|
|Contract expires||June 2020|
|Previous Clubs||Grasshopper Zurich|
|» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry
|Season||Squad No.||League Apps (sub)||League Goals||Cup Apps (sub)||Cup Goals||Total Apps (sub)||Total Goals|
|2016-17||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Totals||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
Note: Everton Career Stats on ToffeeWeb are updated after every game.
|2015-16||Grasshopper Zurich (loan)|