It was an exciting season at Everton this year, as Roberto Martinez’ entertainers surged to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League table, returning to European competition and only just narrowly missing out on qualification for the Champions League.
While former manager David Moyes struggled to follow on from one era over at Manchester United, Martinez made a few tweaks to his squad and improved an Everton side, playing some delightful football on their way to relatively successful year for the Toffees.
Romelu Lukaku took the plaudits as the loan signing of the summer, one that went under the radar slightly was that of Gerard Deulofeu, with the on-loan Barcelona teenager having enjoyed a successful time at Goodison Park as he continued his footballing education ahead of a hopeful future at Camp Nou.
Having now completed his season-long loan with the Toffees, Deulofeu has been recalled to Barcelona as opposed to spending another season with Everton, as Barcelona’s summer shake-up sees the youngster integrated back into La Blaugrana’s squad.
Alongside fellow loan star Rafinha, the tricky midfielder is expected to link up with the senior players with the Catalan club, as they look to re-inject youth into their squad in their bid to bounce back from a difficult season, that ended without any silverware at all, with their rivals in Madrid set to scoop all the available trophies between them.
But is Deulofeu ready for the demands for playing for one of the biggest clubs in the land? That stats suggest that perhaps Deulofeu is not quite ready to take his place in the Barcelona squad, as his style is not totally suited to the way Barca play the game.
While primarily used as an impact sub at Everton this season, Deulofeu made nine starts and 25 appearances in total, but managed to create just nine chances for the Toffees, fewer than left-back Jordi Alba managed to carve out in his 15 appearances in his injury hit campaign for Barca.
But it is his passing accuracy that will be of most concern to Barcelona coaches, with the club having become world renowned for their passing ability and dominance of possession in La Primera, with Deulofeu having completed just 78% of his passes for Everton this season.
With Everton having implemented a regimented passing game this season themselves, that serves as a worry for Barcelona, with Deulofeu having completed a lower percentage of his attempted passes than most of the Toffees’ squad.
This is less than any outfield member of the Barcelona squad this season as well, with goalkeeper Jose Pinto having managed to complete the same percentage of his passes as Deulofeu, highlighting how lax the youngster has been with his distribution of the ball.
There’s no doubt Deulofeu is a promising young player, with three goals and three assists to show for his debut season in a top-flight league, but doubts remain as to whether he can truly undertake the Barcelona DNA and become a success at Camp Nou.
The appointment of former B team coach Luis Enrique could prove useful in his development and you feel he needs to remain at Barcelona for a year to truly grasp the style and system that the club utilise.
It’s important that Deulofeu does remain at Barcelona for a season as part of the squad, but there is little to suggest he can be a key part of it just yet, as his displays at Everton have showed that he is not ready to integrate into the system at Camp Nou just yet.