Reasons why the permanent signing of Andre Gomes is just the perfect start to the summer for Everton

According to The Telegraph, Everton have announced the signing of Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes for a fee of £22 million, with reports claiming that the Portuguese international has put pen to paper on a lucrative five-year deal at Goodison Park.

Gomes was always going to be a hot property in the summer transfer window, following his impressive loan spell in the Premier League.

Gomes, who made his move to Barcelona from La Liga rivals Valencia back in the summer of 2016 for a fee of around £30 million, had to contend with lack of regular minutes and recurrent injuries over the course of his ill-fated spell at Camp Nou.

Deemed surplus to demands at Barcelona, the 25-year-old joined Everton on loan last summer and showed glimpses of his talent and potential under the guidance of Marco Silva, who was always keen to turn his loan deal into a permanent one (h/t The Telegraph). 

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While the news regarding the permanent deal for Gomes can be looked upon as a huge statement of intent from Everton, the fans on the blue half of Merseyside have every reason to rejoice the acquisition of such a high-profile and utility player so early in the transfer window.

In all honesty, it is not difficult to see why the Toffees have struck gold with the signing of Gomes, given that the 25-year-old established himself as a perfect fit for Silva’s philosophy in the second half of this past season.

Why did Everton need to sign him up so desperately?

Gomes, who arrived at Goodison Park along with the likes of Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina as a part of a triple raid on Barcelona last summer, initially struggled with injuries before finally making his debut in a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

The period of acclimatisation for a player, even for a top-quality one, making the jump from the La Liga to the Premier League is often quite long but Gomes proved himself to be an exception.

The Portuguese enforcer fitted seamlessly into Silva’s 4-2-3-1 formation and it wasn’t long before he started to show the fans as to why he was brought in as a possible upgrade on the club’s existing midfield options. 

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Gomes made a total of 27 appearances in the Premier League and contributed with a goal and an assist.

While those numbers might not look too appealing on paper, few would dare to argue that he was one of the reasons why the Toffees managed to secure an 8th-place finish in the league and made a late surge for a Europa League qualification spot.

Tactical Reasons and Gomes’ partnership with Idrissa Gana Gueye

Looking at it from a tactical point of view, Gomes, with his impeccable technical abilities and undisputed quality on the ball, complemented someone Idrissa Gana Gueye brilliantly in Everton’s midfield last season. 

Everton didn’t look all that solid as far as their midfield was concerned in the earlier stages of the campaign, with Silva rotating between the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Tom Davies as the pivots in the middle of the park to partner Gana Gueye.

However, things took a complete turnaround after Gomes was declared fit to play, and Silva’s 4-2-3-1 formation, which had come under scrutiny numerous times due to the lack of personnel and overall malfunctioning of the system, started to look a lot more compact and well-organised as soon as the 25-year-old nailed down a regular starting spot.

While Gana Gueye earned plenty of plaudits and stole the show more often than not with his tough-tackling nature and ball-winning abilities, the Portuguese maestro also played his part equally well.

A hardworking and tenacious player himself, Gomes added a sense of calmness to Everton’s midfield with his impressive range of passing, composure in possession and immaculate ball-distribution, whilst his ability to contribute to the attack with powerful driving runs made him a perfect partner for the more defensive-minded Gana Gueye.

Gomes’ contribution of 1 goal and 1 assist doesn’t flatter much but, as we all know, stats are only a part of the real picture.

The 25-year-old might have only completed 39 out of his attempted 85 tackles in the Premier League last season and it is true that he often left a lot to be desired in terms of his defensive awareness and positioning but he did make up for those shortcomings with his well-rounded passing abilities, dribbling skills, as well as his high footballing intelligence and speed of thought.

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Despite that, however, it is quite normal to see any player coming from the La Liga struggle to cope with the tempo and physicality of the Premier League.

Gomes never had any prior taste of English football and keeping that in mind, one would expect him to gradually improve on the defensive side of his game, as well as his contribution in terms of goals and assists in the years to come. 

Why Everton have landed themselves an absolute bargain

If Barcelona would have told Everton last summer that they would be able to snap up Gomes for a fee of £22 million following his loan spell, the Toffees would probably have taken up that option without actually giving the move a second thought.

Either way, it looks clear to even a layman that Everton have, indeed, landed themselves a huge bargain and £22 million isn’t a fortune by any means in the current market scenario.

As mentioned earlier, Gomes still has a lot of work to do if he really wants to establish himself as one of the best well-rounded central midfielders in the Premier League and given his age, there is every possibility that he could make significant improvements to his game.

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Of course, the 25-year-old does have a patchy injury record and staying fit should be at the top of his priority list for the years to come, now that Everton have offered him an escape route to rebuild his career.

Despite lacking in certain areas of the game, Gomes showed that he is technically far superior as compared to the likes of Davies, Schneiderlin and even Gana Gueye. He is capable of bringing in that calmness, reliability and quality to the midfield with his natural abilities and there is hardly anyone in the Toffees’ ranks who can do what the 25-year-old does so well. 

Gomes averaged 44.4 passes per game in the Premier League last season with an accuracy rate of 84.8, including 3.5 successful long balls and 1.4 aerial duels, figures which are a clear testament to his ball-playing abilities. 

As a matter of fact, he is a lot younger than the likes of Gana Gueye and Schneiderlin (both of them are 29).

With Davies still very much in the developmental phase of his career at 20, one would expect Gomes to establish himself as one of the mainstays of Everton’s midfield for years to come.

And it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that the Toffees would have had to spend a lot more to bring in a player with such quality.

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Gomes’ experience and Everton’s European ambitions

There is a reason why Gomes was held in such high regard at Valencia, Barcelona, as well as in the international setup of Portugal. Training with world-class players in a highly technical league such as the La Liga has helped him master the technical aspects of his game to a level that he could possibly add a lot of value to Everton’s ranks.

Make no mistake, Gomes was one of the architects of Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph and his stocks would probably have been a lot higher had it not been for his setbacks due to injuries.

The move to sign him permanently is not only a big statement of intent from Everton but also a clear demonstration of the Toffees’ long-term plans under Marco Silva.

In Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne, Bernard, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane, the Toffees already have some top-quality players in their ranks who are expected to go on and play a key role in the years to come.

The permanent deal for Gomes is likely to hand them a massive boost in their pursuit of European football.

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They would still need to bring in a prolific centre-forward to close the gap on the top-six in the Premier League but Gomes remains a big coup, nevertheless.  

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