Another surprise signing on transfer deadline day at the end of the summer of 2012 was the very late arrival of Costa Rican defender Bryan Oviedo. Everton are believed to have paid FC Copenhagen an up-front payment of £1.2m rising to £3m in a deal where the fee was
He had joined FC Copenhagen in 2010 on a 3-year contract through 2013. In his first months, he was loaned out to FC Nordsjælland where he won the 2010-11 Danish Cup. Bryan returned again to the Danish capital for the 2011-12 season, and made his first official team appearance for Copenhagen on 5 May 2010, when they finally secured the Danish Championship. In the first half of the 2011-12 season, he managed to break into the starting line-up.
Able to play left-back or left-midfield, Oviedo was a typically versatile David Moyes signing, acquired with providing cover for Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines in mind. Although there were fears that the Costa Rico international's arrival could be a precursor for Baines' departure, that proved to be wide of the mark.
The story of his transfer wasn't over immediately, though, as it would take another three weeks before the paperwork for a visa and work permit were sorted, and the player could finally start training with the first team squad. He would come on for his debut toward the end of his first eligible Premier League game — the 3-0 demolition of Swansea City — for a brief 10-minute cameo before making his full debut in the ill-fated League Cup tie at Leeds United later that month.
Oviedo would have to wait until November before making his Premier League debut as Moyes was forced to shuffle his side due to injury and suspension for a home game against Norwich City but while he would make 14 appearances in all off the substitute's bench, that would prove to be his only start of the season.
Playing second fiddle to Baines, for whom Everton fended off bids from Manchester United in the summer of 2013, would be a recurring theme for Oviedo under Moyes's successor, Roberto Martinez, the following season but injury to the England left back would hand him his first start of the campaign against Stoke City where he scored his first goal for the Blues and set up another in a 4-0 romp.
And he was in the side that went to Old Trafford in December that year looking to end a 21-year wait for victory on United's home turf where he reached the high watermark of his time with the Toffees. Popping up at the far post, Oviedo went down in modern Everton folklore when he slidhome what proved to be a late winner.
But everything went horribly wrong in January 2014 when Oviedo was
stretchered off the Stevenage pitch after 20 minutes of a League Cup game
with a double leg-break at the ankle following a seemingly innocuous
collision with Simon Heslop.
It was a devastating blow to the young Costa Rican, who kept his
enthusiasm on track by posting videos of himself
working out in the gym a long
time ahead of schedule in his long recovery. That raised
talk of a possible return in
time for the World Cup in Brazil but it all proved premature, as Bryan didn't
make his comeback for Everton until late September 2014, and his
reintroduction was made in slow stages that allowed for pins in his leg to
A return to full fitness would elude the popular midfielder, whose
luck never really improved during the 2014-15 season as he played in just
11 games following a much more protracted recovery from his leg fracture, a hamstring injury sustained in February and then a metatarsal
fracture that prematurely ended his campaign.
Oviedo would spend the summer of 2015 in the familiar confines of a rehabilitation programme at Finch Farm in the hopes of being fit for the start of the following season.
But it was all too clear that he was nowhere near ready in terms of match
sharpness, with a weak showing as a late substitute in the first Premier League
game against Watford as Martinez tried to rehabilitate him in the first team.
He got a start later in August 2015, away at Barnsley in the Capital One League
Cup but picked up knee injury that got worse during
the next game at Tottenham, putting him out for another couple of weeks.
And when he came back in the fourth round of the League Cup and played the full 120
minutes of a difficult tie against Norwich City, and was a surprising
starter just four days later against Sunderland he
came down with another hamstring injury that would mean he wouldn't feature again until
January 2016, when he played against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup 3rd
Round and laid on the opening goal for Arouna Kone.
But in February 2016, he was awarded a contract extension for another three
years, and expressed his delight at being able to further his career at his
'second home'. He continued to
struggle to reach the heights before his horrible injury, though, a trend that would continue after his participation in the Copa America for Costa Rica and his return to Everton's
pre-season preparations under new manager Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman would have occasion to assess Oviedo who was required to deputise for Leighton Baines in the early part of 2016-17 when the veteran fullback was out with injury. As usual, Bryan acquitted himself well but he was unable to displace Baines who resumed full-time duty when he regained full fitness in October 2016.
Now 26 and with his first-team opportunities still limited, Oviedo persuaded Koeman to let him leave Goodison during the following January transfer window when his former boss came knocking.
Completing a move to Sunderland alongside his Blues team-mate Darron Gibson, the fullback reunited with David Moyes at Sunderland in a combined deal worth a reported £7.5m.
• Wikipedia Entry
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