Oumar Niasse failed to secure a deadline day move away from Goodison Park and Everton manager Ronald Koeman has suggested that the Senegalese striker could return to the first-team fold as the Toffees approach a busy month of fixtures in both the Premier League and Europa League.
Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez shelled out £13.5 million for the services of Oumar Niasse in February 2016. The 26-year-old signed a four-year deal after impressing in the Russian Premier League for Lokomotiv Moscow but so far has failed to win over the Goodison Park faithful.
Some fans believe he hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip, with others suggesting that a run of games may be sufficient enough to get the pacey frontman fit and firing. Niasse proved he was able to compete in the Premier League during a loan spell at Hull last season. The Tigers were eventually relegated under manager Marco Silva but the loanee found the net four times during his successful spell on Humberside and regularly unsettled opposition defences with his explosive game play.
Niasse has been training with the first team during the international break and could feature in the squad for upcoming matches against Manchester United and Bournemouth, with Koeman proffering that his inclusion “gives us another option for the striking positions”.
The former Southampton boss suggested that the club will be starting afresh with the Senegalese forward, adding, “… sometimes in life you need to be given opportunities”.
Niasse had previously been banished to the under-23 squad and found the net in the Toffees’ 5-0 demolition of Arsenal in September 2016. He featured for David Unsworth’s side after being told his future lay elsewhere by the club’s hierarchy.
Despite being stripped of his squad number and not being allocated a locker, Niasse continued to work hard and after seeing him impress at the KC last season, few could argue that he deserves his second chance here.
Romelu Lukaku’s form last season made the powerful Belgian an automatic selection and didn’t help Niasse’s cause, but with the powerful frontman joining Manchester United this summer, this is likely to be his best opportunity of breaking into the starting 11.
Everton fans have raised concerns about the club’s lack of options going forward, despite the additions of Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez this summer. The club also added Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson during the transfer window as the club splashed the cash.
Freiburg’s Marc Oliver Kempf was another player linked with a move to Goodison Park in August but a deal failed to materialise. Kempf’s current club are joint 15/8 favourites to be relegated this season in the Bundesliga betting markets and it is believed the defender was keen on a move to Merseyside. The Toffees may return for the German under-21 international in January as well as reigniting their interest in Fiorentina’s Khouma Babacar.
Oumar Niasse still has a lot to prove but his pace and eye for goal could help him become a fan favourite this season. Ronald Koeman has performed a u-turn and given a second chance to the former Lokomotiv Moscow man and the Senegalese striker needs to seize the opportunity and justify his manager’s decision.
Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
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Europa League: Thurs 23 Nov (20:05); Atalanta at Goodison
Premier: Sun 26 Nov (13:30); Southampton at St Mary’s