There has been a mixed reaction from Everton fans this week to news of Oumar Niasse rejecting a return to former club Lokomotiv Moscow.
The Senegalese striker was signed from the Russian club in February 2016 for a reported £13.5 million. It was Roberto Martinez’s final signing as Everton manager and Niasse has struggled at Goodison Park.
He was, initially, completely cast aside by Ronald Koeman and did not have much better luck under Sam Allardyce or Marco Silva. Loan spells at Hull City and Cardiff City have been mixed in their success but Niasse has, unfortunately, been something of a flop at Everton.
So when it was reported that his former club Lokomotiv were keen, it seemed a perfect fit. Niasse performed brilliantly in his two seasons in Russia, scoring 19 goals in 42 games. But, as reported by Championat, Niasse has rejected the chance to head back to the RZD Arena, where the transfer window remains open until February 21st.
Plenty of Everton fans will not be happy with the report, suggesting Niasse is simply grabbing the remainder of his big Everton salary with little chance of regular football before his contract expires in the summer.
However, others might be more sympathetic. The reason why is an interview Niasse did with The Guardian in October 2016 whilst frozen out of the Everton first-team by Koeman.
He discussed the racism he faced in Russia and how he had to overcome it to be a success at Lokomotiv.
“It’s very hard to be a black guy in Moscow.
“Even in the games, you can sometimes hear the fans doing some s***. I remember they did it to me. Away to CSKA Moscow [in September 2015], we had a penalty and I took it but all the fans were making these noises. It didn’t bother me. I scored the penalty. I didn’t say anything.”
Whilst there is no suggestion that this is the reason why Niasse decided not to return to his old club, it must have surely played a factor considering the weight of Niasse’s comments.
The Senegalese striker has not been a good fit at Everton, but he has always proved a willing member of the team and worked hard to prove himself to several bosses. There is, after all, a reason why Carlo Ancelotti has been using the 29-year-old occasionally from the bench.
Hopefully, Niasse can find a new club that fits his level in the summer and play regular football in an environment where he is fully appreciated.