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Why Chelsea and Tottenham transfer target Richarlison carries too many risks for Everton’s superstar price tag

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Richarlison Everton appear to be on a career trajectory as a star winger. The Brazilian started his career in his home country at Fluminense before moving to Fluminense. Watford at the age of 20 brought him into the European game. After spending only one season there, he climbed the English ladder to Everton. Now, four seasons later, he is entering the prime of his career and is receiving calls from some of the Premier League’s biggest names. Tottenham Hotspur showing interest and even Chelsea kicking tires about a possible attack on Richarlison.

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Everton understandably want the superstar’s money for their striker, reportedly asking over $60m for him. Is this the price some of the best clubs in the world have to pay? Let’s take a look.

What makes Richarlison attractive?

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What makes Richarlison a rather unique player is that despite being a striker, his scoring and passing performance doesn’t necessarily make him stand out. In his four years at Everton, Richarlison averaged 0.35 goals per 90 minutes, ranking him 29th among players with 4,000 minutes or more in four seasons. It is located right between Chris Wood (now Newcastle) on the 28th and Ashley Barnes lowered Burnley in the 30th. His expected number of goals (xG) says the same. There he is 39th with 0.31 xG in 90 minutes. And his scoring is significantly better than his total assists. He averages 0.10 assists per 90 minutes, which is not even in the top 100. And it doesn’t seem like his teammates are constantly lauding the easy chances he creates for them. His 90 assists are actually higher than the 0.08 expected assists (xA) that the STATS model predicts for the value of his assists.

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However, when you start looking at anything that doesn’t score, Richarlison really shines. In the same four seasons, Richarlison is fifth among all forwards with 1.69 tackles per 90 seconds, and he also wins those tackles. His 44.7% of successful tackles is second among attackers. His return is also high, at 4.92, which ranks him seventh among Premier League strikers over the past four years.

Then there is Richarlison’s above-average ability to run with the ball at his feet. He doesn’t carry the ball that often, which is the result of playing on very mediocre teams. Over the past four years, he has only carried 27.09 carries per match, which is not even in the top 30 in the Premier League. However, when he does, he averages six yards per carry, the 17th best in the league.

Put it all together and you have an average hitting forward, but the winger is a fierce defender and is good at kicking the ball even if his passes are unremarkable. He managed all this while playing at best for a mid-level team that almost got relegated last season. So, it’s easy to see why there is some interest.

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What are the disadvantages of Richarlison?

Although Richarlison is generally positioned as a player who could at least play a role in a top team, there are still some serious reasons for concern. Although its profile looks good on average, the direction of its trajectory may indicate otherwise. In theory, Richarlison should be at his peak as he enters the best years of his career. In practice, even with the fact that he played fewer minutes last season due to wear and tear, he survived his worst season at Everton in several important areas.

His 1.43 rebounds per 90 minutes were the lowest of his time at Everton, as was his 4.06 rebounds. These defensive figures declined despite Everton only having 39.5% possession, the lowest possession in the season he was there. In a season when he had more opportunities to defend, he did it less.

This becomes even more unsettling when you look at the data surrounding his carry. His average 90-minute carry range, never below 170 yards before, dropped to just under 123. He both had the fewest 90-minute carries of his time at Everton at 22.52, and the lowest carry average yards per attempt. at 5.4. Therefore, he carried the ball less and less each time and for less and less distance.

Theoretically, all these changes could be explained by a change in position. With an attacker Dominic Calvert-Lewin Having been injured, Richarlison played a lot more at the top of the formation like a real striker and much less like a second striker to enter the field. But pure scoring has always been a more average part of Richarlison’s game, and if playing as a striker harmed his other abilities, it didn’t improve his scoring. Take away the penalty and you see a player with a goal rate of just 0.25 per 90 (the second lowest of his four seasons at Everton), an xG per 90 of 0.27 per 90 (tied) and shots of 2.46 (again the lowest). Richarlison’s only bright spot was that his pass rate was the highest he’d ever been at Everton at 0.18 per 90 minutes, but even so the stats show he mostly benefited from his hot rebounds from teammates as his pass total was again 0.03. the lowest of his Everton career.

Should teams be scared of Richarlison’s bad season?

Sometimes a bad season is just a bad season. It is absolutely true that Richarlison’s 2021/22 season has been, comparatively speaking, a disaster, but many good players have had bad years. And there were plenty of extenuating circumstances. Everton’s troubles last season were no secret and the team went from a solid mid-table to a serious relegation battle. Management was a mess. Rafa Benitez started the season in charge after Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid and played in a depressing conservative style that didn’t work very well. Frank Lampard eventually took over, and while he did get the team to safety, he didn’t solve many of the problems either. It’s not surprising to see a player struggle in such an environment.

On top of that, Everton had to face a major injury crisis. Forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin played just 1,300 minutes and he also experienced his worst season in four years while on the pitch. Richardlison went from a young dynamic duo to a lot of solo flying in a position that did not match his skills. And it showed. Add to that the fact that the young Brazilian had virtually no offseason and you can find an explanation for his poor season. Richarlison played in the Copa América and the Olympics in Brazil, as well as a couple of World Cup qualifiers. In the summer of 2021, he played 15 matches, starting in all but two. Then his 2021-22 season began.

All in all, Richarlison is not an exceptional striker. At his best, he is a very good defensive winger who also gives you the scoring power of a middle striker as well as a lot of forward dribble ability. This is a very valuable type of player. He could easily have been the kind of player the club would reasonably have been paying potential superstars for a season ago. But his recent struggle has made things a little less clear. It is possible that after the summer break, Richarlison will return to his previous state. Put him back on the wing and in a functional side with his legs under you and you will see how the game pays off.

However, it is also possible that last season it was revealed that Richarlison depends on a non-stop engine that will never be the same again. Instead of perfecting his game in his mid-twenties, he may struggle to ever regain the production of his younger years – probably the product of an engine that now has consistently lower output. Often players recover from debilitating overuse, but sometimes they just never get that advantage back.

Of course, one can imagine a price at which a Richarlison purchase would make sense for some of the world’s biggest teams. But the price that Everton is currently demanding is essentially money that cannot be missed. And, well, we saw Richarlison miss. It happened last season. Teams love Chelsea and the Spurs could certainly use Everton’s star, but if the Toffees don’t lower their asking price, the best teams in the world are likely to find better value for money elsewhere. And if it turns out that last season was actually a flop and Richarlison is back in shape for the 2022-2023 campaign, the teams with the money can always come back next summer.


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