Carlo Ancelotti lavished praise on Richarlison in comments that could impact upon Everton’s transfer plans after the Brazilian’s sumptuous goal led Everton to a win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Finding himself tightly marked in the middle of the box after receiving the ball from Lucas Digne, the 22-year old pushed the ball out of his feet and away from goal to escape his marker. He then executed a sublime Cruyff turn to simultaneously spin himself back towards the goal, bring the ball back under his control, and avoid the swarming Brighton defenders. From there he dexterously curled the ball into the far corner.
After the match Ancelotti dubbed Richarlison a “complete striker” and a “fantastic talent”. He highlighted Richarlison’s “power and strength and speed”, though the striker also showed tremendous intelligence to fashion a goal out of what did not look especially like a goal-scoring opportunity.
Richarlison partnered Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front as part of a fluid offensive quartet that also included Theo Walcott and Bernard. The foursome consistently caused Brighton problems at the back in a performance that bodes well for the remainder of Everton’s season, though the final killer pass often left something to be desired. The manager described Richarlison’s partnership with the club’s top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin as “a really good combination”. There was even praise for Moise Kean – a “fantastic striker”, though Everton would have to “wait for him to adapt”.
All of this suggests Everton won’t be moving for another attacker in this transfer window, despite sending Cenk Tosun out on loan to Crystal Palace. Instead Everton’s window seems to be oriented towards finding midfield stand-ins for long-term absentees Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and adding to the defence. The latest rumours suggest Ancelotti is poised to use his knowledge of Italian football to raid Serie A for classy midfielders, with links to Inter’s Matias Vecino, Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski, and Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot.
Ancelotti was optimistic about the rest of the season, noting “this team can be competitive with more intensity and playing better”. The former Real Madrid manager will be hoping to wring the most quality he can from his existing squad, and perhaps add a few dynamic additions to the midfield before February, so that his side can climb up the league over the remainder of the season. Premier League betting tables back him to succeed, with Everton currently placed 1.61/1 to finish in the top 10, against 2.30/1 to finish in the bottom 10.
But despite a need for reinforcements this window, the manager’s hands may be tied somewhat. The club recently announced a net loss of £111.8 million for the financial year to June 2019. That leaves the club skirting close to the maximum debt limits permitted by Premier League rules, and with a new stadium in the pipeline, the club will only be able to move for players who offer serious value for money.
If Ancelotti can continue to get the best from Richarlison and co. however, that may not be a problem.
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