The arrival of Marco Silva has not had the desired effect at Everton thus far, with an enticing set of six fixtures producing just a single victory for the newly appointed boss.
Indeed, the one standout positive for the Toffees so far this season has been the profound impact Richarlison has had since signing from Watford.
The strong contingent of doubters who criticised Everton for sanctioning a deal for the Brazilian starlet have been forced to eat their words by his electric opening to the new season, although it must be considered that he enjoyed a similarly impressive start at Watford.
Meanwhile, Theo Walcott has provided quality on the right side of Everton’s front-three with 2 goals and 1 assist so far this season, and his performances suggest that Silva might be wise to deploy him at centre-forward whilst the Toffees are struggling to find a winning formula.
However, Richarlison’s impressive record in front of goal for both club and country may well tempt Silva to deploy him through the centre.
With these points to consider, it’s an apt opportunity to assess two of Everton’s most expensive signings of 2018 and determine which player is best placed to play at centre-forward.
So far so good for Richarlison after completing a £40 million switch in the summer.
3 goals from 4 Premier League games have taken his top-flight record to 8 goals and 5 assists from 42 appearances – a record which suggests he is destined to blossom into a fantastic talent in English football.
The vast majority of his performances have arrived as a left-winger where he uses his direct style of dribbling to beat his opposite number and exploit space inside the penalty area, but his poachers instinct suggests he has the tools to play as a number nine.
But the manner in which Richarlison slipped into insignificance last season proves that Everton supporters should avoid overstating his importance until he has consistently demonstrated his talent for a full season.
TT grade: A-
Theo Walcott’s career has never quite taken off how many predicted it to when he broke through as a youngster at Southampton, but he has proven to be a useful signing for Everton thus far.
5 goals and 4 assists from 21 appearances is not a groundbreaking record but it must be considered in the context of Everton’s struggle in 2018.
The 29-year-old has flirted with the prospect of playing at centre-forward throughout his career, but the fact he has failed to establish a regular starting berth through the middle suggests that he lacks the clinical edge to spearhead the attack.
At just £20 million Walcott represented a decent piece of business for the Toffees and the supporters are well within their rights to expect a big season from him under Silva.
TT grade: B+
Although Richarlison cost £20 million more than Walcott it’s fair to say that the acquisition of the Brazil international represents a better value for money deal.
Richarlison is eight years younger and has plenty of scope for improvement, and the manner in which he has started the season proves that he possesses the clinical instinct to reach the heights which Walcott failed to reach during his career.
And if Silva is thinking of deploying either of the two players at centre-forward, there’s no doubt that Richarlison is the man who is best placed to improve Everton’s potency through the middle.
It’s too early to pile pressure on Richarlison to reach the top but there is enough evidence from his stint in the Premier League to give Everton plenty of optimism for the future.
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