16th October 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Having spent nearly £140 million acquiring new players in the summer, Everton went into the new season full of optimism, and even had one eye on maybe challenging for a coveted top four spot.
Recording two wins from their eight Premier League games certainly wasn’t the start they’d hoped for, as the Toffees are currently sitting just three points above the relegation zone. Moreover, their horror form has disappointingly carried over into their Europa League adventure, where they currently occupy last spot in a tough group featuring Atalanta, Lyon and Apollon Limassol.
A combination of reasons as to why they’ve began so poorly, from Ronald Koeman’s decision making, to their new signings so far struggling to adjust and the departure of star striker Romelu Lukaka, can all be seen as valid explanations behind this early malaise.
“I think everyone expected more than we have given so far: the players and the staff, not just the fans. We know we have been disappointing as a team and need to improve. Expectations from fans are one thing but the main thing is what we expect of ourselves and in a few games this season we have fallen below those standards,” explained a frustrated Koeman.
To focus on Lukaku leaving, and it was obviously going to be a huge challenge to find a replacement for his goals and all-round contribution. On the surface, at least, Everton looked like they’d done a fine job of filling the void left by Lukaku’s departure when they announced the capture of Sandro Ramirez for a paltry fee of £5.25 million from Malaga due to the club meeting his remarkably low buy out clause. Beating the likes of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Villarreal, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton for his signature was indeed a major coup for the Merseysiders.
The scorer of 16 goals in 31 La Liga matches, for a Malaga side that endured a difficult campaign in 2016/2017, served as a glowing reference of his undoubted quality and how he can effectively lead the line in one of the finest leagues in Europe. Unfortunately, however, he’s found it difficult to adapt to life in a new league and a new country. With no goals in eight matches for his new club, and having to deal with the expectations that naturally come with being Lukaku’s replacement, Sandro’s confidence is evidently not at its highest.
Koeman encouragingly defended the Spanish forward, urging everyone to give him time to familiarise himself to the rigours of the Premier League and to be patient, noting the team’s poor form hasn’t exactly helped his cause either.
While in today’s game people are quick to judge, it would be wise to reserve judgement with a player so young and with so much talent and give him a chance, for the 22-year-old definitely has all the raw ingredients to be a success.
Great in the air and excellent at holding the ball up and distributing with precision, in combination with his outstanding pace and movement, make Sandro a multifaceted frontman who poses a very dangerous proposition for any backline.
Being very competent in his defensive work, especially in the art of pressing, only further amplify what an asset he should prove to be for Everton in time.
Although replicating the feats of Lukaku is probably out of the question in the short term, there’s no reason why Sandro can’t turn things around and prove the doubters wrong. At just 22 and with plenty of improvement left in him, it wouldn’t be a surprise to eventually see the technically proficient, physically gifted forward, who possesses an exemplary attitude, become a star at Everton in the not too distant future.
More by Edward at Licence to Roam