Everton have signed 26-year-old Idrissa Gueye on a four-year deal from Aston Villa. The Senegalese international was the first outfield player signed by Ronald Koeman, and his new director of football, Steve Walsh. Walsh, the former Leicester City football director, signed Riyhad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, and N’Golo Kante during his time at Leicester. Gueye only cost Everton £7.1m, since they met his release clause.
Gueye plays as a defensive midfielder. He began his career is Senegal, for Diambars, where he caught the attention of Ligue 1 side Lille. While at Lille he appeared 134 times, scoring five goals. On July 10th 2015, he joined Aston Villa and appeared 35 times last year.
Summer Transfer Window
In the summer transfer window, a common trend has been teams signing players for exorbitant amounts of money. On of these signings was a fellow defensive midfielder, N’Golo Kanté, who went to Chelsea for £32m. Just like Gueye, Kanté attracted the attention of Premier League scouts while playing for Caen in Ligue 1.
Comparison of the Two Players’ Seasons Last Year
Both players played in the Premier League last year, but their team’s seasons were polar opposites. Leicester finished first and had an odds-defying season, whilst Aston Villa, one of the most storied clubs in English football history, were relegated to the Championship.
Unlike their team’s seasons, the players had pretty similar individual seasons statistically. Both players were top defensive midfielders. Kante was first in tackles, with 177, while Gueye was second in tackles, with 144. Gueye was second in interceptions, with 141, while Kante was first in interceptions, with 156.
Gareth Barry, Mo Besic, and James McCarthy were adequate last year, but Everton desperately needed a new holding midfielder. Barry isn’t getting any younger and with Besic injured for a long time, McCarthy could really use some midfield competition. With those three, plus Gueye, Darron Gibson, and academy graduate Tom Davies, Everton’s midfield depth has increased.
Ronald Koeman clearly believes Gueye will help.
“Idrissa will provide quality in our squad in the midfield and we want to increase the quality in the team,”
Signing Gueye is just a first step. Koeman will most likely sign more players this window. Everton have already shown heavy interest in Ashley Williams. Also, Koeman still has the £100m war chest he was promised by Everton’s new owner Farhad Moshiri at his disposal.
In addition to more midfield depth, having Koeman as the manager over Roberto Martinez will help Everton’s defensive midfield. Martinez places emphasis on possession. In contrast, Koeman places much more emphasis on being direct and playing strong defensively.
Gueye will definitely fit in regardless of the formation Everton play. He will fit into a 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, or with a three-man backline. This versatility will go a long way under the new boss. Overall, Gueye was worth the risk. Spending £7m on an experienced player is a very low amount in today’s Premier League.