After arriving on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018, Bernard’s move to Everton was surely seen as somewhat of a major coup for the Toffees – particularly given the lack of major finances involved.
Indeed, speaking after confirmation of his signing, then Everton manager Marco Silva waxed lyrical about what the Brazilian could potentially bring to the table.
He said: “Bernard is a quick player, very good technically and he can play on the left or right wings and as an offensive midfield player behind the striker. He has experience of playing in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk for the past five years and the fact he has 14 caps for Brazil is a further reflection of his quality.”
Bernard’s debut campaign at the club certainly felt like a transition year for him, struggling to really showcase his true potential – he managed just one goal and four assists in 34 Premier League games.
This season has seen him produce a bit more, and show flashes of the kind of magic that encouraged Everton to go after him in the first place. The £18m-rated ace has netted three times and provided a further two assists in 19 top-flight games, with a mid-season knee injury certainly not helping out his cause.
But following the sacking of the man who brought him to England, Bernard has struggled to really convince current Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti that he is worth a regular place in the starting eleven. Under the Italian, the 27-year-old has yet to complete the full 90 in any game, with the best that he has managed being 83 minutes against Newcastle.
However, his ability to play all across the front-line behind the striker, makes him an intriguing option for Ancelotti to exploit. As per Whoscored, he averages an impressive 1.1 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game, whilst he has shown a willingness to work hard for the cause too, making 1.4 tackles per match – to put that latter statistic into context, that is more than Michael Keane and Tom Davies have managed (both register 1.1 respectively).
The Athletic’s Everton journalist Patrick Boyland lauded what the Brazilian offers the Toffees, and admitted his disappointment at not seeing him feature more regularly. He said: “I always feel a bit disappointed when I don’t see Bernard on the team-sheet. He’s one of those players who gets you off your seat, and he’ll always do two or three things in a game that you’ll enjoy watching. I’d like to see more of Bernard, I think he’s been hardly done to.”
The argument is certainly there for Bernard to be given more of a chance to shine. At the moment, it really does feel like the current Everton boss is missing a trick with him.