Why Aston Villa's Idrissa Gueye is the perfect fit for Everton
It has recently been confirmed that Everton have signed Idrissa Gana Gueye from Championship Aston Villa for £7 million.
The Senegalese international moved to Villa last summer and was a rare positive as they were relegated in one of the most embarrassing Premier League seasons for a club to date.
Gueye was one of the better performers in the side and as such, there is the belief that he is the perfect fit for Everton and Ronald Koeman as they look forward, his first outfield signing since taking charge in June.
As a central midfielder, Gueye was compared to N’Golo Kante in terms of his defensive, breakdown play in the centre of the park, and the latter earned himself a £30 million move to Chelsea, so it is high praise indeed for Gueye to be held in this company.
For Koeman personally, having used Victor Wanyama and Oriol Romeu, a strong and physical defensive midfielder is a key to the way his sides play. A player like Gueye in the centre of the park allows the wings and more positive players to get forward and not worry too much about their defensive duties.
For Koeman and Everton, this season, these players include the likes of Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu, and James McCarthy, so Gueye’s role is huge in balancing out the squad.
In the passing and attacking areas of the pitch, Gueye doesn’t have one area where he is higher than the rest of the players in question, but he is in the top three for every section of stat. Coming as no surprise to most is that Gareth Barry tops a number of the passing areas, as a very accomplished passer of the ball throughout his career. Also playing holding midfield last season for Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park, Gueye will be in direct competition with each other this season, but they offer very different things.
Once again in duels, Gueye only tops one category of stat, and that is a negative one with far more fouls suffered across the course of the season. In the other more positive stats, Gueye features highly on all of them, in the top two for tackles won, aerial duels won and the total percentage of victorious duels.
As you can see from the stats, interceptions were Gueye’s bread and butter last season, as Villa came under constant bombardment at the back. Surprisingly, from observing Gueye last term, the blocks and clearances are a great lower than many would have imagined, but defensive errors of only two is impressive in a side where you consider Brad Guzan, Joleon Lescott, and Micah Richards achieved over ten each in that Villa team.
Overall, I think that Idrissa Gueye will prove to be a very under-rated signing for Ronald Koeman and Everton. Like the Dutchman had at Southampton, with Victor Wanyama and Jordy Clasie, both rotated in holding midfielder dependent on the opponent, as one was more accomplished on the ball and creating chances, whereas the other was better in breaking up the play and laying the ball off to the forward options.
Koeman now has a similar situation where Idrissa Gueye and the 35-year old Gareth Barry offer the same skills as Wanyama and Clasie.
For £7 million, in the current market, you cannot go far wrong and it will be interesting to see how Koeman integrates him into the side with just over a week until the Premier League season begins.
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