Sunday, October 2, 2022

Has This English Ace Justified The Enormous Price-Tag Everton Had To Pay For His Services?

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Anirban Sarkar
Anirban Sarkar is a former columnist of The 4th Official. A huge East Bengal fan and has travelled over 1000 miles to see his team in action.

This season has not been too kind for Everton so far. The Merseyside club invested heavily in the summer for the first time in the club’s history but Ronald Koeman hasn’t been able to get the required results early this campaign.

At the start of the season, they were supposed to challenge for at least a spot in the top four as the Dutch gaffer roped in a number of talented players likes Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford.

But the whole team is yet to gel as a proper unit and lack of coordination has been a problem for the Merseyside club. Perhaps Koeman should have used the transfer market in a more cautious manner to give the players enough time to make the transition to his desired level.

All the players may have convinced Koeman with their performances but have been struggling to make a mark in the Premier League. One of them is Michael Keane. Koeman splashed a whopping £30m for the player but the defender is yet to justify the money spent on him.

Koeman has mostly opted to deploy a back three and the onus was on the young English defender to deliver. He was virtually errorless for Burnley last season which convinced Koeman to go all out for him in the summer.

But he hasn’t been able to put a notable performance so far. There are already a number of promising defenders like John Stones who has emerged as a more matured defender this season and Keane’s position in the World Cup squad could be in danger.

In a recent World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, he almost gave an unprecedented lead to the opponent as he had came close to putting the ball into his own net but Jack Butland came to his rescue on that day.

Keane is known for his ability to clear danger at its infancy and did so to great effect at Turf Moor last season. But his knack of giving up possession very cheaply has raised a number of questions. He did this a number of times against Atalanta in the Europa League which his current side went on to lose 3-0.

Perhaps it would be too soon to criticize him but in Premier League, people will be expecting big things from you and a player like Keane should keep this in mind.

Koeman should use the player more to give him the much-required confidence which will help his performances but at the moment, his price tag is yet to be justified.

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