Idrissa Gueye: One of the buys of the season
A deal that went under the radar
When Idrissa Gueye signed for Everton over the summer from Aston Villa, a lot of football pundits and the Everton faithful were not entirely convinced about his credentials, especially after he joined from a club that had been recently relegated from the Premier League.
However, after four games and with the Merseyside club third in the table and still unbeaten, the Everton fans have certainly changed their opinions about him.
In a transfer window where the Premier League clubs spent over a billion on football players, bringing in the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Gundogan, and Xhaka the Premier League seems to have outdone itself again this year.
Often because of this a lot of other players who come to a smaller EPL club or for a low transfer fee get overlooked, and Idrissa Gueye is one such player. But, having had such a tremendous impact since joining Everton, he cannot be overlooked.
A tremendous start to the season
In his first game for Everton against Tottenham, he was nothing short of phenomenal. He made six tackles – twice as many as any Spurs players – won two aerial duels and put himself about all over the pitch. His performances have not dropped since.
In his second match against West Bromwich Albion he registered 63 touches in total, with all being successful. Defensively, he was a rock, winning four tackles and making four interceptions, the most of any player. He also had 45 accurate passes and had an overall pass accuracy of 88%.
In Everton’s most recent victory against Sunderland, Lukaku grabbed all the headlines by scoring a hat trick but Gueye had an amazing game too getting an assist, 101 successful passes, 120 touches, five tackles and a 95% pass accuracy.
His success is no surprise if one looks at his performances last season
Even during his time at Aston Villa and Lille, the Senegalese international was one of the best performing midfielders in Europe. Only three players across all the top five leagues in Europe had more interceptions than him (86). In the Premier League last year only Leicester’s N’Golo Kante had more interceptions than him (103).
Gueye was also the backbone of Villa’s midfield last season with just Kante (102), Lucas Leiva (91), and Erik Pieters (89) completing more tackles than him in the Premier League. Despite Aston Villa getting relegated Gueye had a pretty good season on a personal note and that's why Ronald Koeman wanted him.
Gueye is a fantastic player, he has probably been overlooked by a lot of top teams because of Villa’s disastrous end to last season but Koeman took a chance on him and its paying off. His wonderful ability to read the game and the strength he shows on the pitch stands out the most. He can effectively break up play, track the opposition's attackers and his high energy provides a reassuring presence to the defenders behind him.
Idrissa Gueye is the main reason Everton have had such a wonderful start to the season. He is just not getting the recognition he deserves. Since his first game for Everton, he has been a leader in that midfield position and has finally shown his true potential.
Ronald Koeman used a similar tactic while at Southampton and he used Victor Wanyama in that position and now it looks to be working at Everton too. Koeman has always had an eye for good talent, he showed when he had to rebuild Southampton and he is definitely getting his money’s worth with Idrissa Gueye.
The Senegalese is a player worth keeping a close eye on this season. After a horrible 2015-2016 season, Everton have set very high ambitions this season and as things stand currently it looks like Ronald Koeman is taking them in the right direction.
Not the only piece to completing the puzzle
There is no doubt here that Idrissa Gueye is one of the best bargain buys of the season. However, a teams success cannot be attributed to just one player. Over the summer, Koeman has had to rebuild Everton and he has done an exceptional job at that.
Koeman signed Ashley Williams, Maarten Stekelenburg and Yannick Bolasie and once again showed us that you do not have to spend huge amounts to get the right player. These three players have really helped in reshaping Everton and it looks like this Everton team could be a dark horse this season.
Williams and Stekelenburg are two players who have already proven their worth to the footballing world. Stekelenburg seems to be settling in well at Everton after a disastrous move to Fulham which saw him on the bench. The Dutchman has already kept two clean sheets this season and finally seems to be getting back to his best form.
Another player worth mentioning is Yannick Bolasie. The winger was really impressive in his last two season with Crystal Palace grabbing close to 20 assists and 10 goals. He is one of the most unorthodox players in the Premier League and thats why Everton paid £27 million for him.
If Lukaku and Bolasie can form a strong partnership along with either Deulofeu or Mirallas, Everton will certainly be a threat for any team in front of goal.
Idrissa Gueye will definitely be an instrumental figure for Everton this season if they are to reach their high ambitions. They have started their season in wonderful form and everything seems to be falling in place for them. Conceding just two goals this season so far they have one of the best defensive records plus their main man Lukaku has finally found his goal scoring touch.
Ronald Koeman was brought in to get them back to Europe and with his current managerial record and the team he has assembled, I believe they can once again compete with the top clubs of England.