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Richarlison

Watford to Everton, £35m

Profile
Richarlison – full name Richarlison de Andrade – joined his second English club for a fee that raised eyebrows throughout the sport. An initial £35m could rise to £50m, as the 21-year-old joins Marco Silva, the head coach who brought him to Watford 12 months ago, at Everton.

The young Brazilian made his professional debut at 18 with America Mineiro, in the second tier of Brazilian football. He scored on debut but was sent off in the final game of the season, as his team secured promotion – but his performances were still enough to secure a move to Fluminense, where he played for two seasons, gaining experience in the Copa Sudamericana, before Watford came calling.

He flew out of the traps at Vicarage Road, scoring five goals and creating five more in his opening 13 Premier League games. But his form, along with the team’s, tailed off dramatically after that. Despite being the only Watford player to feature in every Premier League game last season, he managed no further goals and only three assists beyond mid-November.

His subsequent move to Everton was no huge surprise, the chance to work with former head coach Silva no doubt a big factor. The price tag is hefty, no question, but Richarlison is still only 21 and showed consistent enough glimpses of his potential in his early days at Watford to suggest he can do some real damage in the Premier League. The Everton faithful, and management, will be expecting it.

Tactical analysis
As a right-footed left winger, Richarlison naturally looks to cut inside from the left channel – the majority of his attacking play involves moving infield from a wider starting position (above). From here, he combines well with attacking players, with quick and direct passing combinations, as he tries to unlock compact defences. His frequent shooting stats also derive from his wide starting position. With opposing full-backs likely to press him on his first touch, he has just enough space to cut back inside and unleash shots back across goal.

A Brazil Under-20 international, he isn’t perhaps as expressive in possession as we might expect from someone with his background. Made more in the mould of a Willian than a Neymar, he prefers direct running in possession to the use of tricks and flicks – but he is still a constant threat when on form.

The 21-year-old is also an effective threat in the air, in possession of a wonderful leap and excellent timing when attacking crosses. At 5ft 10ins, he is rarely marked by opponents’ strongest defenders, meaning he can be utilised as a surprise target at set-pieces – such as when heading a last-minute equaliser at West Brom last season (above). He had more attempted headers on goal than any other midfielder in the Premier League last season.

Decision-making can be a weakness for a player who is still learning the game. Richarlison will often dribble to get out of trouble, so if opponents press with aggression and intelligence they can catch him in possession – sometimes well into his own half (below), which invites further pressure on his own defence. Successful dribbles can relieve pressure on his back line, of course – and, with more time and experience, both his ability to protect the ball and his decision-making will no doubt improve.

Role at new club
Should Marco Silva utilise his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation at Everton, it is likely that Richarlison will occupy the left-sided spot of the attacking midfield three. The departure of Wayne Rooney opens up the number 10 role for Gylfi Sigurdsson, which in turn opens up the left for Richarlison – the two can combine well in possession from that left channel.

Although his effectiveness on goal declined throughout the season, his effort did not. Only Mo Salah, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane took more shots over the course of the season, although he also missed more chances than any other midfielder in the league. Should Everton have ambitions to get back into European football, Richarlison must improve both his strike rate and his chance creation for teammates.

It must be noted, however, that prior to his arrival in England last summer, he had had no significant break from football. Brazil’s domestic football runs from spring to winter, meaning that his move to England came midway through the Brazilian season. As such, it is perhaps no surprise that his form dipped in the second half of the season, when fatigue must have played a part. His form will surely benefit from the extended break he has had this summer – and, with competition for places tougher at Everton than it was at Watford, he surely won’t appear in every single league game. With Silva keen to develop his potentially record signing, this can only help him in his debut season on Merseyside.

Richarlison

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