Marcel Brands has been dealt a mammoth task in sourcing a player of Richarlison’s calibre after Carlo Ancelotti stated that Everton’s star forward is “impossible to replace”.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo, Ancelotti admitted that he finds it “impossible” to find a like-for-like replacement for Richarlison whilst the Brazilian is suspended.
Richarlison will sit out this weekend’s fixture as the last of his three-game ban for the red card shown late on during October’s Merseyside Derby, having been issued a straight sending off for a foul on Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
The Toffees saw their winning start to a season come to an end at home to Liverpool when held to a 2-2 draw, and are yet to claim any points without Richarlison on the field – first beaten at Southampton before losing to Newcastle United.
Ancelotti turned to Alex Iwobi to start in place of Richarlison at Southampton but hauled the Nigerian off at half-time for Bernard, who he opted to overlook and move midfielder Andre Gomes into a supporting forward role against Steve Bruce’s Magpies.
But Ancelotti is still at a loss to who he can utilise to fill Richarlison’s void when without the Brazilian, noting: “It is impossible to replace Richarlison. There is no player in the world like Richarlison.
“So, we have to replace him with another player with different quality. We have to change a little bit our style of play without Richarlison, but the defeat was not because Richarlison was not there. It was because we did not play well. Simple.”
Ancelotti speaking publicly of Richarlison’s importance has left Director of Football Brands with a mammoth task to unearth a potential like-for-like replacement in the transfer market, knowing that adding depth behind the Brazilian will be instrumental in Everton’s continued push to rise up the Premier League table.
So far this season, Richarlison has contributed just the one goal and two assists, but has offered the second-most shots (11) behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin (21), made the joint-most successful dribbles (16) with James Rodriguez and won the most ground duels (43) by any Everton player in the top-flight, per SofaScore.
Only a handful of wide-forward options have out-shot Richarlison, too, with Mohamed Salah (21), Sadio Mane (17), Heung-Min Son (13) and Riyad Mahrez (13) bettering the Brazilian’s 11, while Adama Traore (23) and Jack Grealish (18) better the Everton ace for successful dribbles.
Grealish (53) and Mane (49) are again the only players to have won a higher number of ground duels than Richarlison, but Brands would find it near-on impossible to prise the Senegalese star away from Liverpool and faces a whopping £80million asking price for the Aston Villa captain.
The Birmingham-based outfit’s stubborn co-owner Nassef Sawiris held firm at that valuation amid interest from Manchester United and City this summer, knowing 25-year-old Grealish is under contract until 2023 on £60,000-per-week terms.
If Brands is to source a solution for Ancelotti’s “impossible” problem in the transfer market, the Dutchman will have to rely on his knowledge of the market to unearth a hidden gem as the polished diamonds are kept firmly under lock and key.