Gerard Deulofeu. Just the name invokes all kinds of images and emotions among the Goodison Park faithful. Hair gel. Stepovers for days. A telepathic partnership with Romelu Lukaku. No end product. Poor attitude. Petulant. Diver.
Where does the truth lie, though? Let’s take a look at the Spanish winger’s 2016-17 season to see if we can find out.
It’s not particularly difficult to see that Deulofeu has an incredible skillset. An electrifying dribbler, the 24 year old can pick out a killer pass and deliver an excellent ball from wide areas or indirect set pieces.
Gerard Deulofeu, Milan 16-17. Fellow resident of the Isle of Misfit Wide Players. More huge creative passing numbers. pic.twitter.com/mZWphWSFVQ— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) March 13, 2017
Deulofeu, Everton 15-16. Exceptionally unusual profile. Traditional winger, but one of the best creators in the PL pic.twitter.com/PI30VhKIWe— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) September 12, 2016
In short, the Spaniard is a tremendously talented creative force, and excels in areas where Everton have been lacking during the 2016-17 Premier League campaign.
With great talent comes great responsibility, and that’s where things begin looking grim for Gerard Deulofeu. He’s easily frustrated when things don’t go his way, and regularly fails to track back on defense, particularly after making a deep run into attacking areas.
Deulofeu can be marked out of a game by an enterprising, physical defender, which will often lead to the Spaniard theatrically going to ground and/or gesticulating at the referee while play continues.
If Geri has designs on becoming a mainstay at a top European side or on the Spanish national team, he must become more disciplined and be willing to increase his defensive work rate.
Deulofeu only made 7 Premier League appearances this season prior to being loaned to Serie A, making it a little unclear how Ronald Koeman views him positionally. Of note, the Dutchman did play Deulofeu in a false 9 position several times during the preseason. However, it seems he remains most effective out wide, as he managed to create several chances before moving to AC Milan:
In Italy, Deulofeu was predominantly played on the left wing, where he nabbed 4 goals and 3 assists in 16 appearances.
Where Deulofeu will be applying his hair gel next season is anyone’s guess. Barcelona may take him back, but there are stipulations. Milan want him, but with so many moving pieces to a potential deal, it may be untenable.
It seems possible that Geri could return to USM Finch Farm this summer - whether or not he can dribble his way back into Ronald Koeman’s good graces is another story entirely, but the Blues could certainly use the depth at winger or the money from a potential sale.
What is your grade for Gerard Deulofeu’s 2016/17 season?
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