New Everton signing Oumar Niasse, who arrived from Lokomotiv Moscow in a £13.5 million deal in the winter transfer window, will be looking to make an impact at Goodison Park for the remainder of the season.
Niasse has yet to make a start for the Toffees, coming off the bench against Aston Villa and West Ham United in the Premier League, and Bournemouth and Chelsea in the FA Cup. As a consequence, we have yet to see best of the Senegal international in England.
However, if his performance levels in Russia are anything to go by, then Roberto Martinez may have just bought a gem. Niasse made a habit of scoring in the Russian Premier League during a one-and-a-half year stay at the Lokomotiv Central Stadium.
The forward netted an impressive 12 goals in 21 starts for the two-time Russian champions.
Premier League – a different animal
Of course, the English Premier League is a completely different animal. Although he’s scored goals wherever he’s been, Niasse is not a prolific out-and-out goalscorer, and the Toffees fans have to accept that. Judging by his first few games in an Everton shirt, he will very much play as a support striker to the club’s main man Romelu Lukaku – but that’s something he’s more than capable of doing.
As a whole, it’s been another disappointing Premier League season for Everton. The Merseysiders have once again underachieved under Martinez, as they currently sit 12th in the Premier League table, having taken just 38 points from 28 games. They may be the third highest scorers in the league, but the Toffees have only won nine games all campaign.
Nevertheless, Everton have managed to progress to the FA Cup semi-final. After seeing off Chelsea in the quarter-finals with two second-half Lukaku strikes, Martinez’s side have earned a Wembley day out against either West Ham United or Manchester United, who meet in a replay at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday. Of course, an FA Cup triumph would no doubt be a great achievement, and everyone involved with the club would love to add to their five FA Cup trophies.
However, as good as that would be, a club the size and tradition of Everton should be challenging higher in the Premier League. With the likes of Lukaku, Ross Barkley, John Stones and now Niasse – among others – the Toffees certainly have a squad who are more than capable of doing better than their bottom half status suggests at present.
Big things are expected
At just shy of £15 million, big things are rightly expected of Oumar Niasse at Goodison Park. The Senegalese hitman has got nine Premier League games, and possibly an FA Cup semi and final to showcase his talents. Niasse will no doubt be hoping to finish the season strongly, and break into his manager’s first-team plans as quickly as possible.
Whatever happens this term, you can’t help but feel that next year is going to be a pivotal season for Martinez and the men in blue – but time will tell whether Niasse will be a hit in Merseyside or not.
Written by Gareth Hinton
Follow Gareth on Twitter @Galccfc
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