Everton will never rue the day that Oumar Niasse departed Goodison Park for the final time, as the striker seals his long-awaited return to the game with a move to Huddersfield Town.
The Championship side announced the capture of Niasse on Friday, with the forward moving to the John Smith’s Stadium on a deal running until the end of the current season.
Everton released Niasse at the end of his contract last June, marking the stop point to a tepid four-year tenure at Goodison Park for the former Lokomotiv Moscow striker, who was signed by Roberto Martinez for £13.5m.
Niasse spent 273 days as a free agent, having rejected offers to return to the game following his release in favour of continuing in England to remain close to his family.
“A big part of our recruitment process focuses on the character of the players we’re bringing in and we’ve spoken with Oumar and his representatives over a fair period of time,” Huddersfield Town’s Head of Football Operations Leigh Bromby said.
“We’ve had very positive conversations throughout and it’s clear he will be a good fit within our group. He’s had plenty of offers since leaving Everton, but he was keen to stay in England and, ideally, in the north so he is close to his family.
“His pedigree speaks for itself, having played in top divisions, in European competitions and commanded huge transfer fees. However, his character is just as impressive. He’s a very positive guy and is determined to show everyone what he is capable of.”
Niasse will now continue working with the Huddersfield first team to rebuild his fitness, having begun training with the Terriers before signing a short-term deal.
Niasse will hope that his return to the game will present opportunities to earn a longer-term contract at the John Smith’s Stadium and show Everton why they were wrong to release him at the end of his contract last summer.
However, it is extremely unlikely that the Toffees will ever be expected to rue the day that the 30-year-old left Goodison Park for the final time, having proven to be an expensive flop in the years which followed Martinez sanctioning his arrival.
It took until the end of April 2016 for Niasse to earn his first start in royal blue following five substitute appearances from a possible 10 games across all competitions, and the arrival of Ronald Koeman that summer triggered the derailment of his Merseyside career.
Koeman told Niasse after one 45-minute appearance in pre-season that he was not wanted at the club and instructed the striker to train with the under-23s, before sending the former Senegal international out on loan the following January.
The move to Hull City helped Niasse earn a second chance under Koeman the following season, only for the appointment of Sam Allardyce to see his chances be reduced once again and the subsequent hiring of Marco Silva put an exit in sight.
Niasse would only make seven appearances across all competitions in 18 months under Silva and just one of those in the starting line-up, before playing a mere 18 minutes under Carlo Ancelotti in the final months of his £55,000-per-week contract.
Four managers passing on Niasse after Martinez was fired just went to show the struggles the striker had at adapting to the demands of the Premier League and English football, and why he left Everton with just nine goals in 42 games – of which he only started 13 – to his name.
The 30-year-old is now at a club in Huddersfield where the head coach is seemingly prepared to back him, with Carlos Corberan lauding the “dynamic” forward as he brings a hard-working mentality, a will to press the opponent and the ability to attack spaces to the Championship.
Those traits were all too rarely on show at Goodison Park, making his release a must last summer and why Everton will never be expected to rue the day that he walked away.
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