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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Everton take on all the risk in hope of big reward with record signing of Richarlison

Brazilian forward impressed before fading at Watford, but reuniting with Marco Silva could bring the best out of his talents again

Richarlison has completed a club record move from Watford to Everton. Reuters
Richarlison has completed a club record move from Watford to Everton. Reuters

There was a popular joke going around social media in the days after it was announced that Richarlison was moving to Everton for a fee that would be eventually worth £50 million (Dh241.6m).

The gag was that if selling club Watford could get a fee for a 21 year old with only one season of Premier League experience then the club's owners should be put in charge of the United Kingdom's Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

At this stage Watford are the undeniable victors. Getting a club record transfer fee for a player who impressed in the first half of last season, but whose form waned to such an extent that he only played the full 90 minutes in three of their final nine games, is a great bit of business.

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But that is not the player Everton are paying big money for. Marco Silva is signing the Brazilian for the second summer in a row after taking him to Watford 12 months ago when he was manager there.

Now in charge of the Merseyside club, Silva is hoping for the forward who electrified Watford's forward line in the first third of the 2017/18 campaign.

Capable of playing on both flanks, fast, and good in the air, Richarlison was a big reason behind Watford's great start to the season after his £11.2m move from Fluminense.

But the last of his five goals came in November at home to West Ham United. His last registered assist came at home to Swansea City in December, and he often look a peripheral figure in the second half of the season as Watford fell from as high as fourth-place in the Premier League to eventually finishing 14th.

A number of explanations were put forward for this. Fatigue was one as he arrived straight into a Premier League campaign immediately after playing a full year in Brazil with Fluminense. There was also the challenge of adapting to an English winter for the first time and conditions far removed from South America.

Also defenders and teams became more aware of his threat. It is hard to surprise an English top flight once, but to do it twice is nigh-on impossible and certainly opponents were much more aware of Richarlison's trickery the second time around.

Then there was the closeness of his relationship with Silva. It was no coincidence that as Silva's relationship with Watford soured, after Everton had made a rejected approach for him to become their manager last autumn, so Richarlison's on-field level regressed.

Silva was fired in January after a run of eight defeats in 11 games, and Richarlison never scored a goal, or even assisted one, in a Watford shirt again.

Hardly the kind of form that screams £42m move, rising to £50m after various clauses are subsequently made, and on paper it is a big risk for Everton.

But Silva will know if he can get the best out of Richarlison, as he did at Watford, he could be the catalyst that helps transforms Everton back into top six contenders.

Richarlison caused teams real problems with his pace, and linking him up with players such as Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could give Everton the dynamic forward line they have been sorely lacking since Romelu Lukaku left.

It is a risk, but every transfer is to an extent. Silva and Everton are hoping Richarlison's second half of last season was simply a blip and having a summer of rest and being reunited with the manager who first brought him to England will revitalise him.

If it was not a one-off then Everton face the embarrassment of spending a large amount on a disappointment.

But if Silva's judgement is correct then £50m could end up being one of the best bits of business of the transfer window.

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