Everton’s Roberto Martinez has revealed that Oumar Niasse will be ready for next season – and that any appearances this season will be viewed as ‘a bonus’.
Niasse was signed from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5m in the January transfer window as a replacement for the departing Steven Naismith.
But the 25-year-old forward has played just 29 minutes of first team football for the Toffees in the following three months – a move which has led to questions over his signing from some quarters.
The Senegalese international did have a minor operation on a troubling wrist problem in the weeks after his arrival.
But he has only featured once in the past month for the Blues – a three minute cameo at the end of the recent defeat to Manchester United.
Toffees boss Martinez, though, insists Everton fans will see the best of Niasse – but only after the striker has a full pre-season’s work under his belt.
“At the moment, Oumar is adapting well,” said Martinez.
“The first step was to get rid of the pain in his wrist after the problems that gave him.
“Now is probably the first period that he had 10 days of complete good work and he’s going to get the benefit from it.
“From that to be able to play and to cope with 90 minutes of the demands of the Premier League I think is a very different story.
“Oumar will benefit completely with a pre-season and at the start of next season.
“This campaign is more about getting used to the environment and to get to slowly work towards the physicality of this league.
“If he could play some part of the games it would be a bonus but at the moment it is more of an introduction than the star role he can have.”