It was hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Oumar Niasse after reading a revealing interview he gave to the Guardian.
The Senegalese striker is persona non grata at Everton, banished to train with the U23 squad just six months after joining for £13.5m.
The 26-year-old was stripped of his squad number and even his locker at Finch Farm, with Ronald Koeman quickly deciding he had no future on Merseyside.
“The other players have where they put their stuff but I don’t. I come with my bag and I just have a place I know. I put my bag down, I train and after, I put everything in my car and go home.”
Sympathy for Niasse is, of course, seen through the prism of modern top-flight football.
The move to Everton allowed him to be closer to his wife in Manchester and ensured he would be on an extremely lucrative contract through to 2020. He’s not struggling to put food on the table.
Koeman took just 45 minutes of pre-season action to make a judgement on Niasse’s abilities, giving the striker plenty of time to find a new club.
There were offers on the table but Niasse chose to stay put, meaning he is just as responsible for his plight as his manager.
Is he simply staying for the money? Possibly. But he also puts up a convincing argument when he suggests Koeman was a bit hasty in writing him off so quickly.
“I couldn’t understand how that decision could have been made after 45 minutes but I just said: ‘OK, thank you.’ It’s his decision. He’s the manager. What can I do? I called my agent and he said he would look into the opportunities for me. To be honest, I didn’t ask Koeman to explain his reasons. I just thought, even if I asked why, I would never understand. After just 45 minutes, you cannot say to me: ‘You are no good.’”
He comes across as a likeable enough bloke who has shown a commendable attitude despite being so unceremoniously expelled from the first-team.
I can also understand Niasse’s desire to not give up on his Premier League career so easily, he has been given an opportunity plenty of players would dream of.
That said, Niasse did nothing in his first few months at the club to suggest Koeman’s judgement was anything other than spot on.
Fitness concerns meant he didn’t make his debut until the end of February and he would only make two starts before the end of the season.
But those 157 minutes spread across seven matches were still enough to suggest Niasse wasn’t cut out for football at this level.
His first touch, technique, tactical awareness and fitness were laughably bad, leading some to question whether he was a professional footballer at all.
The whole farce had shades of Ali Dia - the lower league footballer who lied about being the cousin of George Weah to blag a move to Southampton.
Except that Dia wasn’t Southampton’s third most expensive player.
The transfer represents a catastrophic failure in scouting and recruitment. Everton reportedly watched Niasse play in Russia several times, rating him highly enough to spend £13.5m on him and sell Steven Naismith to Norwich during the same window.
Thankfully such failings are rare at Everton, a club renowned for being savvy in the transfer market.
It does, however, symbolise the sloppy and at times shambolic nature of Roberto Martinez’s final few months in charge.
Who knows what else happened behind the scenes but it is clear his future needs to be resolved quickly so we can all puts this sorry tale behind us.