As Everton’s contract decision looms, Richarlison’s transfer headache grows.
On Sunday, Richarlison’s performance against Manchester City summed up his entire season.
He cut a furious figure as he spent the afternoon chasing loose balls, being easily passed around, and being forced to fight alone in duels he had no chance of winning.
He had no shots on goal and only two touches inside the hosts’ penalty area at the end of the game.
Playing up front against the likes of Manchester City may be a thankless assignment for many strikers, but Richarlison has been putting up unproductive performances on a regular basis this season.
Richarlison’s position has shifted as Rafael Benitez has adopted a more programmatic approach to Everton’s tactics, prioritizing defensive solidity above wide offensive play.
Only Newcastle and Burnley have worse possession averages than the Blues, implying that players must focus more on what to do when they are not in control than when they are.
A difficult challenge for a player like Richarlison, whose primary source of enjoyment in football is attacking and scoring goals.
So yet, however, there hasn’t been much of that. In fact, the Brazilian has five yellow cards to his name, which is more than he has goals (two).
To his credit, he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, boosting his output in areas like attacking third pressures made, averaging 8.33 per 90 this season compared to 6.42 last season, but he’s clearly not having fun.
Perhaps that’s why the number of frustrated fouls per 90 has risen from 1.13 last season to 1.94 this season.
While defensive actions and fouls have been trending upward, final third touches and shots have been trending decrease.
He’s never seemed like the sort to become disgruntled to the point of quitting, after all, he’s spoken on numerous occasions about his love for the Everton supporters and his desire to always give his all for them.
However, if things continue as they have this year, his dissatisfaction will only deepen.
When his current contract expires in the summer, he’ll have two years left on it; this is the time when new deals are struck or sales are made.
Everton may find it difficult. “The summary has come to an end.”