One player who has very much slipped under the radar at Everton, is the Italian striker Moise Kean. He has struggled to make an impact since his expensive move from Juventus last summer.
The teenage forward arrived to much hype and talk of his being one of the brightest prospects in European football. It’s hard to remember now, but it was seen as something of a coup that Everton had managed to prise him away from the Italian giants.
His signing also seemed to be vindication of the sort of transfer strategy that Director of Football, Marcel Brands favoured. Securing the best young talent available, players who would develop, improve and then have very considerable sell-on value for the club in the future.
But the youngster struggled to settle into life at Goodison Park and couldn’t break into then manager Marco Silva’s starting eleven, even though the Toffees were not exactly full of goals. Kean also seemed to have disciplinary issues and as a result was effectively frozen out by the Portuguese boss.
When Silva was sacked and eventually replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, there was hope that the Italian coach, renowned for his handling of players and hugely experienced, would be able to coax the best out of his young countryman.
However, although Kean did get a bit more time on the pitch, he still wasn’t playing regularly as Ancelotti went with a front two of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
Stories emerged during the January transfer window that he was unhappy in England and wanted to go back home. He didn’t go, but apart from a few starting appearances, in which he impressed to some extent, he was still essentially restricted to the bench.
Now there are reports once again that Kean wants to return to Italy this summer, possibly in a swap deal and rekindle his career there.
I’ve said before on several occasions that I think Kean should have a second season at Everton and that although he had a difficult first campaign in England, it’s worth giving him another shot to prove if he can cut it in the Premier League.
Having paid almost £30 million for him it would also seem financially prudent to give him a good chance to succeed, as the Blues are unlikely to get anything approaching that kind of money if they sold him in today’s market.
I also think there was enough evidence in those few times when he did get a chance, to indicate that he has the talent to become a good player. Most notably when he started in games against Newcastle United before the season break and then in the final game of the restarted campaign, he scored a goal in both matches and looked hungry and sharp.
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Kean is powerful, has pace and good skill and appears able to create as well as score goals. He can operate in a wider position too and that could be important as the Toffees desperately need more pace out wide.
I think he could offer Ancelotti another attacking option and enable the Blues boss to experiment with different looks as he seeks the way to get the best out of his new talent.
With all that new midfield talent at Everton, it should also provide a better opportunity for Kean to show what he can deliver.
If he plays. hopefully, along with all the forwards, he will get a lot more chances. And if the youngster can begin to repay that big fee with goals, it will be like a brand new signing for the team.
Given that the Toffees have spent a lot of money on their midfield and might have to bring in further reinforcements in defence, they need to get the most out of the forwards they have. This then is a big season both for the club and their young striker.