After helping Everton stave off relegation last season, thus maintaining their Premier League status, it’s been widely reported that Richarlison now wants to end his Goodison Park stay.
In terms of where he could end up, the destination seems to be London, with Chelsea and Tottenham most strongly associated with his signature, but it’s still possible he could end up elsewhere. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are also seemingly keeping tabs on the Brazilian forward.
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Since moving to England, the America Mineiro academy graduate has developed into one of the league’s most formidable attackers. Headed for Ajax, where compatriot David Neres called home, it was then Watford boss Marco Silva who convinced him to join the Hornets, and the pair would resume their association in Merseyside when the latter became boss of Everton, where Richarlison has remained to this day — until potentially this summer.
To date he’s bagged 53 goals across 152 matches in all competitions for the Toffees, which means Richarlison is averaging 13.25 goals per season. That kind of return will certainly be valuable to sides like Chelsea and Spurs, who are fighting on multiple fronts. But who is the better fit?
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It goes without saying that every club does their homework when it comes to recruitment. Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte, who are undoubtedly privy to their respective club’s transfer plans, will have already envisaged where to utilise Richarlison in order to get the very best out of him.
While representing Everton he has been be fielded in multiple positions across the frontline. The most prominent is leading their forward line as the Toffees’ number nine, but he’s shown to be capable on either flank or behind the striker. Tuchel and Conte both favour a 3-4-2-1 wing-back system, meaning there would be room for Richarlison, though his biggest issue by relocating to Spurs is competition.
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At the backend of last season Conte stumbled upon a trifecta which transformed Tottenham’s fortunes. By fielding nifty forwards Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski behind serial centre-forward Harry Kane, they went from Champions League qualification outsiders to cementing a top-four berth. It’s a dynamism that’s worth retaining: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It’s not a sure thing at Stamford Bridge, where they could be losing the much-maligned Belgian centre-forward Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech this summer. Christian Pulisic’s future isn’t guaranteed, either, with reports suggesting the American international could also be on the move. Elsewhere, Timo Werner, who looked beastly in the Bundesliga, has often flattered to deceive, while Chelsea’s most prolific Premier League scorer in the season just gone was midfielder Mason Mount with 11 strikes. He was the only Blue to reach double figures.
Richarlison produced one fewer than Mount in a side who for much of last season hovered above the relegation places. Goals aside, he would have endeared himself to Chelsea’s faithful with his social media antics this summer. After reports that Everton fans created a fake bus company called ‘Coach Innovations Limited’ to carry Liverpool supporters to Paris for the 2022 Champions League final against Real Madrid, the Brazilian posted a photoshopped image of him as the driver, who failed to show up, as it was revealed his name was ‘Mr Richard Arlison’.
This received backlash, though presumably not from all associated with Chelsea, who have developed quite the rivalry with Liverpool in recent years. It’s not only off the pitch where Richarlison has antagonised the red half of Merseyside. Across nine previous derby encounters, he’s picked up two yellow cards and one red, while being on the winning side just once. That came in a 2-0 success at Anfield in February 2021, where he scored the second of his two goals past Liverpool.
— Richarlison Andrade (@richarlison97) May 28, 2022
If he were to leave, then Everton will receive a nice sum, on the count that his present deal expires in 2024. Considering the potential diminishment of Chelsea’s forward options, Richarlison should have a seamless path into Tuchel’s first team. A regular starting berth at Tottenham isn’t a guarantee because of those already in his position.
Son and Kane in particular were responsible for 57.97% of Spurs goals last term, with both finishing top four in the Golden Boot race. Son would co-share the award with Mohamed Salah while exclusively playing in a deep-lying forward role and not registering a single penalty.
Even though he’s never played Champions League football, Richarlison is a Copa America winner with Brazil. To date, he’s netted 14 times across 36 international appearances.
Either way, both clubs represent a step up. That being said, meeting new challenges head on has been something Richarlison has proven capable of doing so.