Despite being relegated with Aston Villa last season, Idrissa Gana Gueye was signed on a four-year deal by new Everton manager Ronald Koeman in the summer.
Although the Senegal international huffed and puffed in the heart of a sorry Villa midfield last term, the 26-year-old failed to help the Villains stay in the Premier League.
Therefore, you couldn’t blame some Toffees fans for being slightly underwhelmed when Koeman rushed to activate the midfielder’s release clause.
Anyhow, £7.1 million later, Idrissa Gueye is now an Everton player.
Nevertheless, despite not being the big-name signing many of the fans had anticipated, if Gueye carries on playing the way he did in Everton’s opening Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, their opinions on the midfielder could change extremely quickly.
Settling in instantly
The former Lille man, who’s been capped 32 times by his country, seems to have settled into his new surroundings with real aplomb, already striking up a good partnership with the likes of Gareth Barry and Ross Barkley.
In Saturday’s 3-4-2-1 formation, the system allowed Barkley to get forward, with Barry and Gueye able to help out the defence in a deeper role when called upon.
The pint-sized midfielder may only be 5ft 7in tall, but he likes a tackle and is rarely overhauled in the middle of the pitch.
Considering Koeman’s men began their season with a tough game against Champions League qualifiers Spurs, neither Gueye or his teammates allowed Mauricio Pochettino’s men to get into their free-flowing stride.
Good first impression
It wasn’t just the Everton faithful who were impressed with their new signing’s performance, either. Koeman also praised Gueye for his display against the Lilywhites.
The new Toffees’ boss told the press after the game: “Idrissa is the kind of player that puts a lot of energy [into his game], he’s aggressive and he wins second balls.”
“He can play good football. With Gareth and the second balls of Idrissa, that makes the team strong. The cleverness on the ball in midfield comes from Gareth but one of Idrissa’s qualities is to put that energy into the team, to win second balls and to press at the right moment.”
Even though the home side ran out of steam and were somewhat hanging on at the end, the signs of improvement were certainly plain for all to see.
After a poor campaign last year – which ended in a disappointing 11th place – a season of stability and progress is just what the doctor ordered at Goodison Park.
Could be a shrewd signing after all….
Despite coming up short during his stint at Villa Park, Idrissa Gana Gueye could be exactly what Everton have been crying out for.
Of course, only time will tell if the new No. 17 will turn into a success story in Merseyside, but if he carries on with the same intensity and hunger that he showed against a talented Tottenham outfit on the weekend, then there’s no reason why he can’t come good at Goodison.
Written by Gareth Hinton
Follow Gareth on Twitter @Galccfc
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