Richarlison- Blown Funds or an Investment for the Future?

With Everton set to conduct the medical of Richarlison this coming Monday, the reported £40million fee has raised several eyebrows & divided opinion over the last week. Though the initial £50million price tag (which would be a club record) has been rubbished, the earnest bidding approach of the new Everton hierarchy is very much a point of contention- especially after the misfiring transfers of years gone by that have cost the Blues a pretty dollar.

It’s hard to imagine that when Richarlison ran riot during the first half at Goodison Park last season, he would earn Watford around £30million profit the following summer. Despite his goal that evening, Evertonians would be forgiven for attributing the Brazilians standout performance down to the shoddy defending of Everton at that time under David Unsworth, particularly in the fullback positions, with preferred option Seamus Coleman missing through injury & Jonjoe Kenny still cutting his teeth in the first team.

Undoubtedly a player that has a flair in his game, the main area of complaint about the impending move to Merseyside is the excessive fee. Richarlison moved from Fluminense to Watford for around £1.8million & though his stock will have certainly risen since his move to England back in August 2017, is £40million a justified sum? A lot of the bizarre transfer. sums paid these days are attributed to football’s inflation as a sport & can be broken down into several sub payments such as agent & image fees- the days of players of the quality of Luis Figo costing you £37million are long gone. However, for a player that hasn’t contributed a goal or assist for his side since December, with just 5 goals & 5 assists last season- there is considerable risk to this move.

If you factor in the misfortunes of the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Davy Klaassen & Michael Keane- who all moved for fees exceeding £25m, the risk is Everton will continue to be labelled as immature spenders, who buy for buyings sake. In addition to missing out on targets such as Kieran Tierney & Malcom who seem more worthy of a big money moves, Marco Silva reaching out to a former asset seems almost impulsive, & if Richarlson flops for the Blues Farhad Moshiri’s business plan will plunge into further questioning- ultimately, there are players that provide better value for money.

On the flip side to this, a reason behind the inflated amount seems to be Everton wanting to make peace with Watford after the dispute that followed Silva joining Everton in the Summer, as Everton refused to pay the demanded £15million compensation. The most compelling argument that can justify the move is the relationship between player & manager. If Richarlison is to join the Toffees, this would be a reunion with the man who brought him to Watford in Marco Silva, & Everton’s new manager is nothing but complimentary of the Brazilian youngster, having scouted him a “month & a half” before acquiring him for the Hornets.

Silva was quick to divert Richarlison from a move to Ajax during the Summer of 2017, calling the player to let him know he “believed in him, & wanted him to help us [Watford]”. The kind words clearly motivated the left-winger as he scored his season total of 5 goals in the opening 12 games. Richarlison is just as full of praise for Silva, which is a recurring theme for the pros who have worked under Silva as coach.

“”I owe Marco a lot because he is the one that called me before I came to Watford. I moved here because of him. He helped me every day and was extremely good with me.” At just 20, Richarlison shouldered the blame for the bad run of form that saw Silva’s tenure at Watford come to an end. “Marco is the person who is the least to blame, but was the one who paid the highest price. The ones on the pitch were the players, not him.” This is refreshing to hear from a player, & following a season of dodging the bullet at Everton, it bodes well that Richarlison is willing to account for inconsistency.

The Brazil youth international is clearly yet to hit his prime, & similar to 1 Romelu Lukaku, there is every possibility that Richarlison may repay the faith bestowed in him be a lofty transfer fee. Time will tell.

Max Carlyle (@Max_Carlyle)