This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
It is early days but Fabian Delph has impressed for Everton since his summer arrival, and there are signs that suggest he will be an adequate replacement for Idrissa Gueye.
The Senegal international had been a key player for the Toffees in recent years and his form earned him a £30m move to PSG, leaving a big gap in the Everton midfield.
There are not many players at the highest level who are capable of fulfilling the role Gueye did to such a high level, and his consistency makes him quite unique as a result.
He provided so much energy in the middle of the pitch but since coming into the team it appears that Delph will make up for what was lost, and perhaps provide that bit extra that Everton are looking for.
Whilst the England international may not be able to match the 75 interceptions Gueye made in the Premier League last term, he does provide greater quality on the ball and should be able to perform as an effective box-to-box player for Marco Silva.
Although it falls some way below Gueye’s average of 2.2, Delph’s rate of one interception per game suggests he is able to read danger, and his average of 4.5 tackles proves he can prevent such threat and transition into a break for his team, with an ability to run with the ball also.
That ability on the ball is a key factor of Delph’s all-round game, one area of his play which places him above Gueye.
The PSG man had a pass accuracy of 84% last term which matches that of Delph this season, but he averaged ten passes less per game, and that indicates that Everton now possess two ball-playing midfielders in the middle of the pitch, with Andre Gomes or Morgan Schneiderlin acting as Delph’s partner.
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The England international also provides leadership to Everton, which is otherwise sorely lacking. His attempt to galvanise his team against Bournemouth is exactly what they need to get their season going, and considering he was brought in for £10m, his addition can be regarded as a very good piece of business.
There are still concerns over his fitness. He has already missed three league games and his predecessor only missed a total of five last season, with such reliability making him central to Silva’s plans.
Despite that, the 29-year-old hasn’t taken long to show what he is all about, and if he can make improvements in running with the ball and cutting out passes, then the impact of Gueye’s absence will be negligible.