Everton’s fee for Yannick Bolasie raised eyebrows and blood pressures around the footballing world. The cost of an inconsistent, but talented winger has risen dramatically. The fee, however, should be of little concern to Bolasie or the fans who will be watching him. He is an entertainer, even if he frustrates with his penchant for dodgy decisions in the final third.
Once we look past the silliness around the cost of the transfer though, what are Everton getting as a player?
Well, Bolasie is a talent, there’s no doubt about that. He’s an edge-of-the-seat kind of player, with a rangy stride that makes him deceptively sharp and with enough upper body strength to compete in the toughest of 50-50 duels. An inability to perform on a regular basis has blighted his career though, and he tends to return rather underwhelming numbers in terms of goals scored and chances created. There’s an impression with Bolasie that all the components are there, they just need honing and refining to make him a top quality direct winger. Much like the challenge that Ronald Koeman faces with Everton as a whole, actually.
Yannick Bolasie’s 2015/16 Premier League season by numbers:
23 chances created
3 assists pic.twitter.com/Ajd86oB8v5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2016
Alongside Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Mirallas, Bolasie finds himself in similar company. All of the players have struggled to find regular form throughout their respective careers, but their talents are never in question. As can be seen above, the former Crystal Palace man is not going to be troubling the league’s top scorers, but he will be a constant threat from the wing. Whether he produces the final ball or not, Bolasie will certainly occupy defenders.
The Congolese winger was occasionally even used in a main centre forward role by Alan Pardew, although this returned mixed results, showing his rounded game. His fragility of form means this is one thing he perhaps does not get the deserved credit for.
Under the guidance of such a respected, statesmanlike manager like Koeman, Bolasie should come on leaps and bounds. It will take time to mould a player, but Bolasie has a bit of time. At 27 his career is far from over. Wingers can benefit from a loss of a yard of pace, if they mature sufficiently to see the game differently, learn how to time their passes better and begin to understand the importance of their own energy conservation throughout a game.
The money that a player is worth, ultimately, is about how much a club is willing to pay for him. Whether you consider Bolasie a good or bad deal is nigh on irrelevant if Koeman and the decision makers at Everton were happy to pay that fee. Crucially, they have got their man. They signed a player they clearly identified as a potential difference-maker and it is up to both Bolasie and Koeman to prove that they can make it work.
If anyone can right the wrongs of Bolasie’s game, it’s Koeman. Everton have the right man at the helm to nurture their gifted, yet flawed, squad and Bolasie has an opportunity to prove many, many people wrong.