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Andriy Yarmolenko: a brief scouting report

Who actually is this guy everyone's so excited about?

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Well, here we are. The transfer window has set itself upon us, and with it comes "reports", yet again, linking Everton to Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko. We all know how this turned out last time.

Cynicism aside, with the rumored bids being in the range of £15-25 million, it's probably worth having at least a brief discussion as to the player himself--his style, his track record, and how he might fit into the current side.

At 26 years old, Yarmolenko isn't exactly a youngster, but he does have a decent amount of experience at a high level, despite playing his entire league career in Ukraine. He's logged 2567 minutes (almost 30 full matches) of European football over the last 4 seasons, which is significant compared to most of the Everton squad. Furthermore, he's actually second on the all time Ukrainian scoring list, although the 3rd place scorer only has 15 goals (thanks Wikipedia!).

Yarmolenko drummed up a lot of excitement in Everton circles last summer for his potential to be the "number 10 we've needed", but the truth he's played most of his minutes over the last few years for both club and country in the right wing position.

Where the number 10 idea probably comes in is because he does have a knack for distribution from that position (and, I guess, because he does wear the number 10 shirt for Dynamo). Rather than bombing end to end and hugging the touchline like a Gerard Deulofeu or Aaron Lennon, he seems to be just as comfortable finding pockets of space between the defense and the midfield from which he can either distribute through balls or use his considerable dribbling skills to make runs from deep. (He does this a lot in his Scout Nation video). Furthermore, his left-footedness leads him to drift away from the right touchline and into central areas quite often.

Speaking of that left foot, most Everton supporters will keenly remember this little ditty:

So it's not just about distribution. The beginning of the highlight is a good example of what he loves to do: receive the ball on the right, drift towards the middle on his left foot, drive towards the box, use some dribbling skills, and either pick out a teammate, or in this case, strike a stunner.

The highlights are pretty, but the statistics back it up as well. It's tough to get anything but the most basic stats from the Ukrainian league, but thanks to WhoScored.com, we know that in 4 seasons of Europa and Champions League appearances, he's produced 2.56 shots and scored .39 goals per 90, which is very very respectable at that level. In terms of distribution, he's posted 2.38 key passes and 0.32 assists per 90. What limited league data we can glean from transfermarkt.com looks pretty similar. For some Everton related context, that's about on par with Ross Barkley this year in terms of shooting/scoring, and Steven Pienaar in his prime (2012-13) in terms of creation. Put those two together and that's pretty a darn solid dual threat.

I'd liken Yarmolenko to sort of a better and more consistent version of Kevin Mirallas: a versatile inverted winger with pace, skill, vision, and an eye for goal. If Everton did actually sign him, it would be interesting to see where Martinez plays him--certainly Geri is first choice on the right, but Yarmolenko could play on the left, although it changes his game a little. For that reason I'm not sure he's an ideal fit for the Toffees' current tactical setup, but he is such a talent that it almost doesn't matter.

Whether or not he's worth £15 million or even £25 million will be up to Dynamo Kyiv and Everton to figure out. If this window ends in emptiness like the last, at least we fans can watch Yarmolenko suit up against Manchester City in the Champions League next month--assuming Real Madrid don't nab him first.