Bolasie's high-priced wizardry can bring 'x' factor to Everton

Lyndon Lloyd 16/08/2016  55 Comments  [Jump to last]

Forget about the price tag for a minute. In fact, you might want to forget about the £22.5m we’ve shelled out for Yannick Bolasie altogether if Farhad Moshiri’s statement yesterday is an indication of the further investment planned in the Everton squad because the fees could cease to matter much.

Admittedly, it’s hard to do. Years and years of austerity mandated by the club’s inferior financial position relative to its peers have engrained Evertonians with an almost paranoid preoccupation with value for money and a desire to see the club wring the best out of perennially small budgets. There was even a chant about it three years ago lauding Roberto Martinez’s success in bringing in other club’s surplus talent because he had no money so he signed the players on loan.

So when the Blues write a huge cheque for a player who has yet to fulfil his true potential in the Premier League but is the now the second-most expensive signing in the club’s history, it’s natural for supporters to gulp uneasily at such a hefty outlay.

It’s clear, however, that we’re dealing with the kind a financial muscle unprecedented at Goodison Park in the Premier League era thanks to Moshiri’s ambition and resources. No one except the hierarchy really know how close to reality reports were a few weeks ago of the new major shareholder bank-rolling Ronald Koeman’s close season as Everton boss with a £100m war chest, but it’s safe to assume that, having shelled out millions to sack Roberto Martinez and land both the Dutchman from Southampton and Steve Walsh from Leicester, Mr Moshiri means business.

The massive inflation of the domestic transfer market this summer shouldn’t be forgotten either. Last year’s £10m player is this year’s £20m signing so it’s worth viewing the Bolasie deal in the context of the new price/value context that exists in the Premier League.

And if it makes it easier, you can always pretend that it was Idrissa Gueye who is the Blues’ new £20m+ man instead, because on the evidence of his first two outings in a Royal Blue jersey, the former Aston Villa man is looking like he could be an absolute steal at £7.1m!

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Bolasie, who is taking the next step up in his career having ascended from non-league football up the pyramid to the top flight via a spell in Malta – the upward trajectory described by The Guardian's Ed Aarons – could have equally as big an impact at Everton as Gueye’s early promise suggests he will.

He brings with him something of a reputation for being as unpredictable in terms of form as he is with the ball as this feet but his undoubted talent means that there is plenty to be harnessed and channelled by Koeman. And what talent there is in those boots and in that brain. As his YouTube highlight reels show, the French-born forward pulls off feats of footballing wizardry that no one else in the Premier League dares and in that sense, he could be a real crowd pleaser in an arena where it will truly be appreciated.

Crystal Palace fans would attest to the fact that when “Yala”, as they called him, is on his game, he can be unstoppable but, by the same token, he can also drift to the periphery and fail to affect games, a point that might explain why he has only managed 12 goals in 142 appearances for Palace and last season registered just three assists in 23 starts.

With his pace, power and inventiveness, however, Bolasie might be the kind of player who can influence matches in ways that aren’t necessarily represented in raw statistics; as an outlet for early balls out of defence, he could be the go-to man to start many an attack without delivering the final assist or finish.

And it’s worth noting, of course, that his numbers are a reflection of the fact that he was playing in a largely ineffective side in recent seasons, under enigmatic Ian Holloway, the one-dimensional philosophy of Tony Pulis, and the mercurial blag management of Alan Pardew.

At Everton under Koeman, the Congolese international has what could be the ideal proving ground in an up-and-coming side. The Dutchman, meanwhile, will have another quick, dynamic option with plenty of Premier League experience in his forward line, one that is now tailor-made for counter-attacking football.

Between Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu Koeman has perhaps a triumvirate of players as likely to be match-winners on their day as they are to frustrate, but between them he will (fitness permitting) always have a willing and potentially explosive option on the bench if needed. Few managers or defences are going to look forward to guessing what that forward line will produce on a given day and that can only be a good thing.

Again, the price paid for Bolasie may seem steep but it’s a reflection of the market, particularly for English-based players, and a statement of faith and confidence by Koeman and Steve Walsh. And if he brings with him his penchant for destroying Liverpool’s defences, well… £20-odd million will feel like money very well spent indeed!

Follow @Everton1an

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