Much has been made of Idrissa Gueye’s move to Everton, and he hasn’t even stepped foot on the pitch yet.
The no-nonsense midfielder is the club’s first buy since Steve Walsh’s arrival and he joins Martin Stekelenberg as the second summer arrival at Goodison Park.
The fact the former Leicester City scout has chosen Gueye as his first signing since joining Everton is pretty significant, and it highlights the potential he feels the Senegalese international can bring to the club, hence the comparison that is often made between him and N’Golo Kante.
Off course, we all know about Kante’s move from Leicester City to Chelsea this summer and it was his work that propelled the Foxes to their unlikely league win last season. He also played a big part of France’s run to the Euro 2016 final and he really is the man of the moment, despite playing in defensive midfield, often considered one of the most un-glamorous roles on the pitch.
But Idrissa Gueye is perhaps the only player that came close to Kante in terms of performance last season, with the Villa man seriously impressing in a squad that lacked guile, fight and quality throughout the whole season. In earnest, you have to wonder how bad it could have got for Villa had Gueye not been sat infront of the defence for the whole season.
Gueye brought aggression, an ability to tackle and an impressive amount of energy to an extremely flat Aston Villa midfield. His bravery in possession was evident in a team that lacked so much confidence during both Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde’s subsequent spells at the club.
And it seems that new Everton manager Ronald Koeman was aware of Gueye’s quality all along, despite the turbulent season the majority of his team-mates were facing.
“He was one of the players last season with the best records in interceptions and pressing in midfield,” said Koeman after confirming Gueye’s signing. “We need this kind of quality”, he added.
Praise indeed from his new manager, and it seems that Gueye is most likely to partner Gareth Barry in a 4-2-3-1 formation going into next season.
You have to wonder just how good it could get for Koeman’s side, if they can keep adding quality players like Gueye but more importantly, if they can keep hold of Romelu Lukaku. If they can bring in some quality to build a strong body around their Belgian hitman, he may be persuaded to stay.
And yet, regardless of who else the Toffee’s bring in this summer, the addition of Gueye really is a triumph. If Everton are to progress next season they need someone that is going to bring steely leadership to the field, and besides N’Golo Kante, there may be no-one better to do that in the whole league.