Because Chelsea and Tottenham transfer Richarlison’s goal carries too much risk for Everton’s superstar price

Richarlison Everton appears to be on the career trajectory of a star winger. The Brazilian began his career in his home country at Fluminense before moving on Watford at 20 he took him to the European game. After only one season there, he climbed the English ladder at Everton. Now, four seasons later, he is entering the prime of his career and some of the biggest names in the Premier League are on the way. Tottenham Hotspur showed interest and Chelsea are also kicking the tires on a possible swoop shot for Richarlison.

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

What Makes Richarlison Attractive?

What makes Richarlison a fairly unique player is that, despite being a striker, his scores and assists aren’t what necessarily makes him stand out. In his four years with Everton, Richarlison scored an average of 0.35 goals every 90 minutes, which ranks 29th among players who played 4,000 minutes or more over that span of four seasons. He is nestled right in the middle Chris Wood (Newcastle time) to 28 e Ashley Barnes of relegation Burnley at 30th. His predicted goal totals (xG) tell more or less the same story. There he is 39th with 0.31 xG for 90. And his score is significantly better than his total assists. He averages 0.10 assists per 90, which isn’t even in the top 100. And it’s not like his teammates consistently have easy chances he creates for them. His assists for 90 of him are actually higher than the expected 0.08 assists (xA) the STATS performance model predicts that his passes are worth it.

It’s when you start looking at all things without scoring that Richarlison really starts to shine. In those same four seasons, Richarlison is fifth among all strikers with 1.69 tackles every 90, and he wins those tackles too. His tackle success rate of 44.7% is the second highest among forwards. His ball steals are also strong with 4.92 placing him in seventh place among Premier League forwards 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 much, which is a product of playing on some deeply mediocre teams. In the past four years he has only attempted 27.09 carries per game, which is not even in the Premier League top 30. However, when he does, he averages six yards per carry, which is the league’s 17th best total.

Put it all together and you have an average striker, but one who plays on the wing, is a fierce defender, and is good at getting the ball forward with his feet, even if his passes are somewhat insignificant. He handled all of this while playing, at best, for a mid-table team that nearly relegated last season. Hence, it is easy to see why there is some interest.

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What are the drawbacks of Richarlison?

Even though, in total, Richarlison presents himself as a player who could, at the very least, fill a role in a top-tier team, there are still some main reasons for concern. While on average his profile looks pretty good, the direction of his trajectory might suggest otherwise. In theory, Richarlison is expected to reach his peak with his numbers peaking as he enters the best years of his career. Basically, even taking into account the fact that last season he played fewer minutes due to wear, he had his worst season at Everton in several important areas.

His 1.43 tackles every 90 were the lowest of his time at Everton, as were his 4.06 steals. These defensive numbers dropped despite the fact that Everton only had 39.5% of the ball, the lowest amount of possession they’ve had by far in a season he’s been there. In a season when he had more chances to defend, he made fewer.

It gets even more concerning when you look at the data surrounding its carries. His average transport distance for 90 minutes, which had previously never been shorter than 170 yards, dropped to just under 123. Both had the least amount of transport for 90 minutes of his time at Everton at 22, 52 and the lowest average yards carried per attempt at 5.4. So he carried the ball less and for shorter distances each time.

In theory, all these changes could be explained by a change in position. With striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin Injured, Richarlison played much more in the lead as a true striker and much less as a second striker entering the wing. But pure scoring has always been the most average part of Richarlison’s game, and if playing as a striker damaged his other skills, he didn’t improve his scoring. Eliminate penalties and see a player whose goals were only 0.25 for 90 (the second lowest of his four Everton seasons), xG for 90 to 0.27 for 90 (tied for lowest) and shots at 2.46 (again the lowest). The only positive point for Richarlison was that his assist rate was by far the highest of his time at Everton at 0.18 for 90, but even there the stats suggest he benefited mostly from his hot finish from the his teammates as his xA total was 0.03, again the lowest of his career at Everton.

Should teams be scared of Richarlison’s off-season?

Sometimes a bad season is just a bad season. It’s absolutely true that Richarlison’s 2021/22 season was, relatively speaking, a disaster, but many good players have bad years. And there were many extenuating circumstances. Everton’s struggles last season were no secret and the team went from a solid mid-table side to a serious battle for relegation. Management was a mess. Rafa Benitez started the season in office after Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid and played a depressing style of conservative football that didn’t particularly work. Franco Lampardo he eventually took over, and while he led the team to safety, he didn’t solve many of the problems either. It’s not exactly surprising to see a player struggle in that environment.

Additionally, Everton faced a severe injury crisis. Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin only played 1,300 minutes and likewise suffered the worst season of the last four years while he was on the pitch. Richarlison went from being part of a young dynamic duo to doing a lot of solo flying, in a position that didn’t suit his abilities. And he showed. Add to that the fact that the young Brazilian has practically no offseason and you can definitely find an explanation for his off-season. Richarlison played in both Copa America and the Olympics with Brazil, as well as a couple of World Cup qualifiers. He played 15 games in the summer of 2021, starting in all but two. Then his 2021-22 season began.

All in all, Richarlison is not a great forward. At his best, he’s a great defensive winger who also gives you the score of an average striker along with lots of ball-carrying skills. This is a very valuable type of player. He would have easily been the kind of player a club would have reasonably paid money to potential superstars for a season ago. But his recent struggles have made things a little less clear. It is possible that after a summer of rest, Richarlison will revert to his old self. Put him back on the headband and in a functional side with the legs back under him and you will see the bet pay off.

It’s also possible, however, that he revealed last season that Richarlison is dependent on a non-stop engine that may never be the same. Instead of perfecting his game in his early twenties, he may be struggling to resume production in his younger years, the likely product of an engine that now has permanently less horsepower. Often players recover from grueling overuse, but sometimes they just never get that edge.

It is certainly possible to imagine a price where buying Richarlison would make sense for some of the biggest teams in the world. But the price Everton is currently asking is basically money not to be missed. And, well, we’ve seen Richarlison go missing. It happened last season. Teams like it Chelsea and Spurs could definitely use the Everton star, but unless the Toffees cut the asking price, the best teams in the world can probably find better value for their dollars elsewhere. And, if it turns out that last season was, indeed, a blip, and Richarlison is back in shape for the 2022-23 campaign, teams with money can always come back to call next summer.

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