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Idrissa Gana Gueye27

The wait for Ronald Koeman's first outfield signing was a protracted one as the Dutchman took the time to fully assess the squad he inherited from Roberto Martinez but it ended with the acquisition of Idrissa Gueye in a £7.1m deal from Aston Villa in early August 2016.

The midfielder became the second signing of the Koeman era following Maarten Stekelenburg's arrival after the club activated his release clause at newly-relegated Villa which allowed him to leave for less than the Midlanders had paid for him the previous year. It would prove to be an absolute steal.

Gueye was signed for the Villains from Lille by Tim Sherwood for £9m, one of a number of recruits from the French league that ultimately failed to gel into a team capable of avoiding relegation from the Premier League. The Senegal international was widely regarded as a bright spot in an otherwise poor side, however, and was seen as a big loss to Villa Park.

Koeman was reportedly in the running to acquire Gueye as Southampton boss before Sherwood stepped in but he got his man at the second attempt when he put pen to paper on a four-year deal at Villa Park.

Gueye would justify that reputation in his time at Goodison Park, turning out to be quite the hidden gem. He settled in quickly and became the star man for the first half of the 2016-17 season, with some great displays to give Everton much-needed solidity in midfield, and was missed when he disappeared off to the Africa Cup of Nations for the month of January.  Strangely, with Everton on a good run of results without him, he had a bit of trouble getting back into the team and re-establishing the momentum he had gathered over the first half of the campaign.

He was back in the team for the following season but Koeman's reign rapidly unravelled and the Dutchman was dismissed in October 2017. However, Gueye's stock remained high; so much so that he agreed a new five-year contract the same month, although the announcement was delayed by many weeks. 

“Everton is the right place for me and this is why I have signed my new deal,” Gueye said at the time. “I am very happy to sign a new contract with Everton. It is great for me and for the Club and I am very happy.

“I love the fans here. They have been great to me. They made it easy for me to sign this contract. Of course, I spoke with my family and my agent, but the love of the fans was really important and this is a really good thing for me." 

The midfielder remained a bright spot in an otherwise staid Everton team, his prowess as a stopper, for tackling and intercepting made him invaluable under interim boss Sam Allardyce. Not surprisingly, he was a crucial component of the next Everton manager, Marco Silva's side, one that benefitted from the addition in the summer of 2018 of some star quality in the likes of Andre Gomes, for whom Gueye initially proved to be the ideal foil.

If he had weaknesses, they centred on his distribution in forward areas and, perhaps more understandably, his shooting so a few eyebrows were raised the following January when Paris Saint-Germain came in with a serious bid for his services. With Gueye approaching his 30th birthday and Everton's season effectively over following a collapse in form over Christmas and an embarrassing exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Millwall, the club might have felt the time was right to cash in but they were hugely reluctant to sell, especially at £10m less than valuation.

Gueye himself admitted that he was really keen to make what he felt was a "dream move'" and there were reports that he has even asked for a transfer but the Blues hierarchy stood firm, with one source claiming that Silva had threatened to resign as manager if one of his best players was sold from under him.

Gueye accepted the club's position in the end and buckled down, telling Canal+ in an interview: "It’s really not in my nature to make a scene and clash with the board knowing they’ve done everything for me, that they’ve already been correct with me. They allowed me to stay in the Premier League after Aston Villa got relegated. I owe everything to this club and will continue to give everything for the club as long as I’m there."

And as if to prove his worthiness of one of Europe's biggest clubs, Gueye was able to raise his game to peak levels for the remainder of the season, looking every inch a Champions League player as Everton finished the 2018-19 campaign on a strong run of form. By that stage, the Senegal international had won 282 tackles during his time at Everton, more than any other Premier League player during that time and a whole 55 more than second-placed Wilfried Ndidi. The renowned N’Golo Kante was next on that list, 82 behind.

As it turned out, the seemingly inevitable "dream move" to PSG had only been postponed when interest from Paris was rekindled despite competition from Manchester United for a player who had become the linchpin of Silva's rejuvenated Everton side. A deal was finally agreed in the summer of 2019 for what felt like a fairly modest sum of £29m given his importance to the Toffees' team. 

"Gana" would return to Goodison Park a little over two years later, though. With relatively new Tofees boss Frank Lampard seeking to bolster his midfield and provide support and mentorship to Idrissa's countryman, Amadou Onana, a deal was proposed with PSG to bring him back with a year remaining on his deal in Paris.

PSG's own new head coach, Christophe Gaultier had told him he was surplus to requirements in his side but it took six weeks of wrangling before Gueye could finally be announced as an Everton player again on the last day of August 2022.

Though he wasn't always the same, reliable Gana Gueye that Evertonians remembered from his first spell (and he would fall out with Lampard in early January 2023 as the Blues threatened to implode on the pitch), Idrissa was nonetheless a key part of the midfield as the club narrowly avoided relegation for a second successive season under new boss Sean Dyche.


Squad number 17, 27
Position Midfield
Nationality Senegal
Born Dakar
Date of birth 26 September 1989
Height 5'-9" (1.74 m)
First spell
Joined 2 August 2016
Joined from Aston Villa
Signed under Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee £7.1m
Full debut v Tottenham H (H)
13 August 2016
Left Everton 30 July 2019
Destination Paris Saint-Germain
Transfer Fee £29m
Second spell
Joined 1 September 2022
Joined from Paris Saint-Germain
Signed under Frank Lampard
Transfer fee £2m
Contract duration 2 years
Contract expires June 2024
Debut (as sub) v Liverpool (H)
3 September, 2022
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Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2023-24 27 18 (1) 1 1 (3) 0 19 (4) 1
2022-23 27 32 (1) 0 1 (0) 0 33 (1) 0
2016-17 17 32 (1) 1 2 (0) 0 34 (1) 1
2017-18 17 32 (1) 2 5 (0) 1 37 (1) 3
2018-19 17 32 (1) 0 2 (0) 0 34 (1) 0
  Totals 56 (28) 3 6 (6) 2 62 (34) 5


Previous Career

Season Team League Apps Cup Apps League Goals Cup Goals
2019-22 Paris Saint-Germain 53 (17)  28 (9) 6 1
2015-16 Aston Villa 35 (0)  2 (1) 0 1
2010-15 Lille 104 (30) 25 (3)  5 3


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